Book Review: Kaizen Event Fieldbook

My friend, and fellow lean blogger, Mark Hamel has written one of the most thorough, and Shingo prize winning, lean workbooks I’ve ever read called Kaizen Event Fieldbook: Foundation, Framework, and Standard Work for Effective Events (this is not an affiliate link).

This book is JAM PACKED with useful information related to how to conduct a kaizen event.

To be sure, it is not a book you will be able to pick up, skim for a few minutes, and then run off to your kaizen team members. There is simply too much excellent information for that to happen.

But, if you are committed to kaizen, and are willing to put some time into studying Mark’s advice I highly recommend picking this book up.

Part 1 – Foundation and Framework

The first part of the workbook focuses on getting started with kaizen and kaizen events. Specifically, part 1 is broken into the following sections.

1. Getting Started
2. A Short Course in “Kaizenology”
3. Transformation Leadership

Here is a snippet from this section of the book:

“The probability of finding the word “kaizenology” in any dictionary, unlike the definition for “kaizen,” is exactly zero. While “kaizenology” is a fabricated word, the need to understand kaizen at a more than superficial level is real.”

Part II – Standard Work: The Multi-phase Approach

The second part of the book is what I enjoyed the most. Mark does a superb job of providing the reader with a systematic approach to conducting a kaizen event. Part 2 of the book flows as follows.

4. Strategy – Right Wall, Right Ladder
5. Plan for Success
6. Event Execution
7. Follow-through

Here is snippet from section 5 on planning for success.

“Should you plan to have a successful kaizen event or plan for kaizen success? Well… both. While this chapter is primarily about planning well to have a successful kaizen event, this cannot be separated from anticipating kaizen success and planning for the implications of that success.”

Part III – Developing Internal Capability: The Lean Function

Finally, part 3 of the book covers many areas often forgotten about when developing a kaizen culture. There is one section to part 3.

8. The Kaizen-ready Enterprise

In my opinion, here is one of the most important paragraphs of the entire book.

“Effective transformation leadership is a prerequisite for kaizen readiness. Consistent with the lean implementation action plan, it entails establishing and nurturing a lean function. Of course, the lean function has meaning and relevancy only if leadership institutionalizes the rigor of a lean performance system and routinely applies kaizen standard work and strong change management.”

Amen to that!

Final Thoughts

At 260 pages this is one of the beefier lean workbooks you will ever read.

It’s far more than superficial information many lean books provide. There is real meat to this book. With this said, I highly recommend it.