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Frequent Kaizen Events for a Culture of Quality

Discussion in 'Coffee Break and Community Discussion Forum' started by claudiogut, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. claudiogut

    claudiogut Member

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    Hi, everybody. I'm currently consulting with an industrial distributor and I want to establish a more through culture of quality both in their warehouse and in the front offices. I think that running frequent Kaizen events is a great way to establish and encourage this. Maybe 2 per month for the next couple of years, eventually tapering off to 1 per month.

    Does this sound like a good idea?

    What are some good examples of Kaizen events you've run in the past?

    What other ideas can help establish a culture of quality?
     
  2. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day @claudiogut;

    The short answer is "maybe". Without knowing and understanding the gaps specific to that organization it will be difficult for us to give you a definitive answer.

    I would caution, however, that the true intent and definition of kaizen is contrary to the term "event". Kaizen is in itself a culture. We (western society) have attempted to distill many of the Japanese cultural concepts (kaizen, "lean", 5s, etc....) down to an event or program, which is in itself contrary to how they are applied in Japan. The term "kaizen event" is an oxymoron. Kaizen (and each of the other terms I mentioned above) is a culture of continuous improvement. The management system/structure must allow for and provide for and facilitate continuous improvement. It is foundational and not an "event".

    Hope this helps.

    Be well.
     
  3. claudiogut

    claudiogut Member

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    Thanks for your reply, John C. Abnet. I understand your explanation about how Western thinking tends to misinterpret and oversimplify these concepts. I guess what I was asking was, what are some typical improvement mini projects, both in an office environment and in a warehouse, that can show measurable results that would immediately improve office morale, cause employee buy-in, and give warm and fuzzy feelings to customer auditors? I was just wondering if you or any reader out there knew of unique little projects like that to help foster a culture of quality.
     
  4. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    I understand your intent @claudiogut . I don't want to diminish to benefits (team building, etc...) that quality circle type projects can bring about.

    Consider this...
    1- What does the TEAM want to improve on? (i.e. talk the associates. Find out what their biggest "stone in the shoe" is and then have them heavily involved in a quality circle with the goal of removing said "stone".)
    NOTE 1: Ideally the options will provide a "low hanging fruit" so the team can have success.
    NOTE 2: Ensure that leadership is committed to providing resources (i.e TIME, BUDGET, ,SUPPORT, etc...) before initiating this, otherwise the team will quickly become (or remain) jaded.


    2- Even though these type of "events" can have some benefit, I would still encourage you to look at it from a different angle. i.e. Why is continuous improvement needing an "event" in the first place? What about the management system does not currently initiate/accommodate/facility continuous improvement? What roadblocks (real or perceived) are there in place which prevent the teams from already having the access to and ability to initiate improvement activities?

    By the way. There is no way to "immediately improve...morale, cause employee buy-in."
    And nothing should EVER be done for the benefit of an auditor. If it doesn't benefit the organization, the teams will see right through it, and become (as mentioned above) jaded. Doing something for the benefit of an auditor will have exactly the opposite effect from what you state you are hoping to accomplish.


    Food for thought.

    Be well.
     
    Andy Nichols likes this.

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