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Understanding the Kaizen Approach

By Joseph Timmins

One of the most popular buzzwords associated with lean is kaizen, or “change for the better.” Kaizen refers to any improvement – one time or continuous, large or small. Kaizen, which is considered more of a philosophy than a tool, is often found in a variety of process improvement methods ranging from total quality management (TQM) to employee suggestion boxes.  

Benefitting from Kaizen

Under Kaizen, employees are responsible for identifying the gaps and inefficiencies and everyone, at every level in the organization, suggests places for improvement. Target improvements focus on productivity, effectiveness, safety, and waste reduction. And, benefits come in more ways than one, including:

  • Less inventory waste and overproduction
  • Better use of employee time and skill sets
  • Higher employee satisfaction levels
  • Higher employee retention rates
  • Improved employee/team commitment
  • Improved problem solving/collaboration
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased competitiveness
  • Increased profit and decreased loss

Kaizen Events

continuous_improvement.jpgKaizen Events are typically focused on immediate results in solving a problem or implementing an improvement in a defined time period. The time period is usually short, like half a day. ERP systems provide the right input to Kaizen Events as data to support sound decisions to quantify problems (e.g., days to pay, time to produce, volume of orders, scrap, returns, etc.). At the completion of the Kaizen Event, good processes are implemented. Newer ERP systems provide workflow and alert capabilities to ensure that the results of the Kaizen Event stick.     

Are you looking for an ERP system to support your lean culture and to make Kaizen Events more fruitful? If so, the experts at Acuity welcome discussion on your options. We’ll help you incorporate new approaches that suit your business and streamline your processes! Contact us today for more information.

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Topics: lean manufacturing

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