Published By: SME
Pages in Print Edition:
Kaizen is much more than an event; it is a philosophy, mindset and, for breakthrough performance, a most critical vehicle to achieve strategic imperatives and execute value stream/process improvement plans. Eliminating waste (muda) is the principle theme within kaizen. There are two types of waste: Type 1 muda — wasteful activities that reasonably cannot be eliminated in the near term. Type 2 muda — waste that is a prime candidate for quick elimination through kaizen. Muda is not the only focus. It is often accompanied by mura (unevenness) and muri (overburden or strain). The roots of kaizen are within Training Within Industry (TWI) and the basic scientific methods of Plan, Do, Check, and Act. Standards serve as the basis for improvement. The kaizen system is comprised of a methodology, tools, and certain cultural enablers, as well as a philosophy. Kaizen events can be classified into two broad categories: Flow kaizens — these events, which are primarily a leadership function, focus on improving and optimizing the performance of the entire value stream and Process kaizens — when event based, the scope and timing are often established within a value stream improvement plan with focus on a specific process or sub-process within a target value stream. Process kaizen, in a mature lean organization, is driven significantly by daily kaizen activities.