One thing that we hear quite often from leaders who have attempted to create a Kaizen culture is that initial enthusiasm quickly wanes, and improvement projects move in fits and starts. In most cases, these leaders have embraced the Kaizen mindset, but haven’t implemented a software platform to support it.
On the flip side of that, our clients who have implemented an improvement platform tell us that it has helped transform their organization into one that consistently produces positive change.
Here’s what they say happens when Kaizen software is deployed.
Employee Engagement Increases
Most employees are more than happy to get behind the Kaizen philosophy. Who wouldn’t want to work in an organization that is always striving to get better and
More Improvements Get Completed
One of the primary functions of Kaizen software is to change what is usually a passive endeavor - requiring people to remember to take action - into an active one. The best solutions include alerts and notifications so that people are reminded when tasks are due, and managers are clued in when due dates are missed. The net result of this is that more improvements make it to the finish line, in less time. Leaders get visibility into the improvement pipeline across the organization and can recognize the people, teams, and departments that are most active in Kaizen.
Change Management is More Consistent
Sometimes people get wrapped up in the excitement about the idea of Kaizen and start making changes that they suspect will lead to improvement without a constant process or proper documentation. That can lead to changes that accidentally do more harm than good, or improvement that is impossible to quantify. Kaizen software helps solve for this by creating a consistent process for implementing change for the entire organization. Improvement work is documented and shared, and change management techniques such as DMAIC or PDSA can be leveraged to get the best possible outcome. Standard Work documentation is contained in an accessible location so that everyone knows the current best practices upon which improvement can be built.
Meetings are More Productive
We’ve been to enough daily huddle meetings to know that many of them are a waste of time. Why? Because without a clear agenda and visual clues about what should be discussed, they often devolve into a deep dive into one issue or veer away from improvement work altogether. Too much time is spent on status updates, and too little is devoted to action items. Kaizen software helps make meetings more useful in many ways. Everyone can get up to speed on the current status of projects before the meeting because it is all documented in the solution. People can constructively participate from anywhere because the information is all online. More time can be devoted to discussing challenges and next steps because the details are right at everyone’s fingertips.
Roadblocks Are Spotted and Addressed Quickly
Many obstacles to executing improvement projects can be addressed quite easily if they are identified early. It may be that additional resources are needed, or cross-functional collaboration is required. Whatever the challenge, Kaizen software helps to create the visibility required so that leaders can get involved and resolve the problem or come up with another plan. The Lean technique of Catch ball is often used to identify solutions that work for everyone. Because the system is continually providing alerts and feedback, when progress stalls, the right people will know and react.
It is Easier to Measure the Impact of Improvement
We’ve yet to find anyone who disagrees that the Kaizen purpose of positive change is a bad idea, but we have met executives who are reluctant to fully support it because they don’t know precisely what it achieves. Improvement technology helps gain executive buy-in by making it easy to quantify the results of improvement. The results may be directly financial, such as cost reduction, or increased production, or the results may impact equality important, but less tangible, metrics such as customer satisfaction or safety. The ability to point to key performance metrics that are affected by Kaizen gives leaders greater comfort when resources are needed to continue the positive momentum.
Any of these benefits would make Kaizen software an attractive investment, together they turbocharge improvement work and help produce results that pay off quickly and last for the long-run.