The first phase of the multi-phase kaizen event standard work is strategy. This appears to be a generic and broad topic, especially in comparison to the following phases of pre-event planning, event execution, and event follow-through, all of which specify a work sequence and make use of things like checklists, forms, and meeting agendas. However, the strategy phase need not be esoteric. It may only seem that way because it is something that is routinely forgotten, ignored, or poorly done. Within the context of continuous improvement, strategy represents the intersection between the alignment and deployment methodologies of the kaizen system. Strategy is the first phase of kaizen event standard work. Before conducting any kaizen, leadership must validate both the ladder (that kaizen is the right tool to use in this situation) and the wall (kaizen what matters). Since lean leaders typically want some quick short-term wins, in many lean launches, formal strategy deployment is delayed as much as a year or more. In these cases, the launch begins with value stream analysis and one or more value stream improvement plans. The three criteria for initial kaizen event selection are: impact, timing/sequence, and resource availability.
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