Making a Kaizen Event Sustainable

Mark R. Hamel has played a transformative role in lean implementations across a broad range of industries including aerospace and defense, automotive, building products, business services, chemical, durable goods, electronics, insurance, healthcare and transportation services. Mark has successfully coached lean leaders and associates at both the strategic and tactical level. A National Shingo Prize examiner, Mark assisted in the development of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)/Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME)/Shingo Lean Certification exam questions. Mark is the author of the SME published, Kaizen Event Fieldbook: Foundation, Framework, and Standard Work for Effective Events and blogs about Lean at Gemba Tales.

In this Podcast (Complete Transcription and podcast: Kaizen to Standard Work) Mark gives some great tips on moving from Kaizen to Standard Work.

Joe:  Well you mentioned one thing, and I am always inquisitive about this because seems to be that every time I read a book it always tells me how I am supposed to do the preplan, what I am supposed to do, what I am supposed to do during the event. Then you get to the sustainability part of it, and that’s the shortest chapter in the book and it’s over with but that’s the toughest thing to do.

The question I have is: “What are some of the key things that you need to do to make a Kaizen event sustain?”

Mark:  Good, good question! So within the event, when you’re in the execution phase, certainly by the latter portions of the event ? and we know it is a plan, do, check, act, type of approach ? but as we come up into taking our improvement ideas and developing the post?Kaizen situation, we need to validate that new standard of work within the events. So if you are doing an industrial application, often times it is pretty easy depending upon the cycle times to actually implement, apply the standard work, train people, and run the line, the cell, whatever, for multiple shifts. And in doing that plan, do, check, act, make the adjustments and fine tune that standard work so that we can leave the Kaizen event knowing that it works and that it is explicit and that it is properly documented, as well, on the standard worksheets, and standard work combination sheets, and that type of stuff.

In a transactional environment, the format might be a little bit different if you are dealing with really long lead times. For example, like a bodily injury claims process, you might end up doing tabletop simulations but you definitely want to test it and keep adjusting it.

Another big thing is obviously communicating and training the folks in the new way. Then on the follow upside, you can’t just introduce it and let it flop there. So this is where the lean leaders really need to come into play to make sure that there is process assurance with the new standard work, and also checking process performance.

We can do that through a number of different ways, primarily the lean management system, which is comprised of the leader’s standard work. So actually physically going somewhere and observing reality, hopefully, aided by good visual controls to tell if they’re getting a normal condition or an abnormal condition, to know whether or not there is process assurance.

And also, from a daily accountability perspective, “Am I getting the performance?” whether it is a plan versus actual chart or whatever to give you that feedback, and then to respond to that.

So you end up going from really a plan, do, check, act situation to a standardized do, check, act, where I’m checking the standards to make sure that they are being applied, to make sure that they are sufficient and if they’re not then I make adjustments to those. The rubber really meets the road; people happily get into lean implementation. The rubber meets the road often when it’s like, “OK we got some new standard work and this is in many ways a test of whether or not people are going to live and apply standard work.”

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

Lean Engagement Team (More Info)