Kaizen events versus Continuous Improvement

See on Scoop.itlean manufacturing

I don’t agree with everything this blogger says, particularly when he describes the establishment of the Roman empire as a “short term” fix. In my book, 400 years of peace and prosperity is beyond the short term…

On the other hand, I think he is right when he says that “Kaizen events” are not performing continuous improvement. As an oxymoron, “Kaizen Blitz” is even better: it mixes Japanese and German in a concoction that literally means “lightning strike of continuous improvement.”

The so-called “Kaizen event” is a good tool when applied to the right opportunities, but there are two problems with it:

  1. Its promise of instant gratification has made it so popular in the US that all other means of implementing change are forgotten. It is a problem because it leads organizations to ignore opportunities that are too small or too large. Wrapping the feet of a welding fixture with aluminum foil to make it easier to clean is too small; redesigning the layout of a machine shop, too large.
  2. It has misled particularly Americans about the meaning of Kaizen, on which there is an abundant Japanese literature that makes no reference to anything resembling Kaizen Events. In fact, the improvements that are called Kaizen are too small for Kaizen events and the two implementation methods for them are individual suggestions and small-group/circle activity. As a consequence, there is no actual Kaizen activity going on even in plants that run dozens of “Kaizen events” every year, and it is a lost opportunity.

The French did even worse by calling the same method “Hoshin Events,” literally meaning “compass needle event.” The equally unfortunate consequence is that it makes it impossible to discuss Hoshin Planning with them.

See on www.impomag.com

2 comments on “Kaizen events versus Continuous Improvement

  1. Pingback: Kaizen in Japan versus the English-Speaking World | Michel Baudin's Blog

  2. Pingback: When to Use “Kaizen Events” to Achieve and Sustain Results | Michel Baudin's Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *