Many companies want to improve but don’t know how to. Kaizen is a very effective method for realizing a successful improvement culture.
Improving before Kaizen
Every company wants to improve. It’s the only path towards more productivity, better quality, less malfunctioning, and better operational results. But the way to do it is often unclear.
Usually, companies talk about day-to-day affairs, but lasting improvements aren’t picked up or adequately executed. In general, these three situations can occur:
- Improvements are mentioned but not followed through.
- Improvements aren’t mentioned because there’s little faith anything will happen.
- People accept the situation as is and aren’t aware of possible improvements.
Often, the first step in an improvement process is installing a suggestion box. Everyone can put their ideas into the (digital) suggestion box, hoping that lasting improvements might follow. Unfortunately, many times that won’t work because it’s unclear who the owner of the idea is. The original sender might not be able to clarify his vision on the idea, and the receiver doesn’t own or recognize the problem sufficiently, which means the idea will be left behind.
Improving with Kaizen
Kaizen is different. It’s a way of thinking, focused on a changing improvement culture. You really can’t change the performance of a company overnight. It’s a stepped process, with small steps. Kaizen consistently focuses on relevant improvements instead of ad hoc solutions.
Kaizen realizes two key points immediately:
- Ideas are published. Don’t hide the ideas in a box, but show them on a board near the workplace. Let people talk about their ideas in teams, so the genesis of the idea is clear. This links ownership to the right person, up until the moment of transfer of the improvement activity.
- A new way of thinking. People can explain their ideas and listen to other people describing their ideas. The entire team will start recognizing which ideas will lead to possible improvements and what the results will be: not just moneywise, but in terms of more productivity, less downtime, higher quality, and great working methods. This way, the whole company evolves towards a new way of thinking. This is often an important step for people on the work floor, who are usually accustomed to pure operational functioning and have to get used to a different working method.
Kaizen subsequently offers standardized techniques to address the issue. The Plan-Do-Check-Act principle of the Deming circle is the basis for the process: identify the problem, find a solution, secure the idea with an improved standard, and grow towards the next step in the improvement process. Kaizen makes it easy to make improving a part of the every-day process.
Improving with Kaizen software
Companies often start out sticking Post-it notes to a wall. That’s a good way to get to know the process. However, the limitations of that system become apparent when you work between departments: how do you get these Post-it notes from one department to the other? And how do you deal with a rapidly growing number of improvements? When a medium-sized company wants to start improving, the number of improvement activities might lead up to 2000 per year. Then it’s time for a more convenient system.
Cierpa Kaizen is a clear system that makes improvement activities visible and manageable.
Our digital whiteboard helps in collecting and organizing ideas, so no ideas get lost. Our smart software helps you to:
- Manage and bundle the number of ideas. No more single Excel sheets and whiteboards at different departments.
- Keep improvement activities visible. No note will get lost or forgotten. Every action is assigned to an owner or will deliberately be precluded from further action.
- Monitor the level of participation. Are some departments lagging in terms of input? The overview can help you motivate whenever it’s necessary.
- Measure success. The value of an improvement activity is instantly visible with Cierpa Kaizen. Not just afterward, but also beforehand, you can estimate what improvements will be successful and use that information to rank the order in which activities need to be executed. Insight into success is an important motivator in this approach.
Cierpa Kaizen has helped many companies to implement a user-friendly improvement culture. Would you like to know more about the possibilities for your company?
Then contact us!