Did you now that the number of people actively using Twitter is over 270 million? Over 50 million people have joined the social media platform in the last year. This year, it's expected that 20% of internet users in the US will be on Twitter. Needless to say, Twitter is a great way to share your ideas with the world. With over 300 billion Tweets shared since Twitter first launched, I think it's time that we get some more out there about kaizen. Help me out, spread messages of #Kaizen on Twitter!
Sep 17, 2020 2:00:00 PM
Much of the information published about establishing a culture of Kaizen is written for leaders who are introducing the concept to their entire organization for the first time. But once the Kaizen mindset is established, the job is not done. Looking for opportunities for positive change may be second nature to your long-term employees, but many new hires will have no knowledge of Kaizen or daily improvement. Without a plan for familiarizing these new team members with Kaizen, your carefully developed culture can quickly become diluted. That's why it is critical to bake Kaizen into your employee onboarding process. Here are our top tips for doing precisely that.
Aug 20, 2020 12:15:38 PM
Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, once said, “Without Standard Work there is no Kaizen.” That’s a pretty bold statement, but when you think about the continuous improvement cycle, it makes a lot of sense. How can you move from the current state to the desired state if the current state is a moving target? Standard Work, which documents the current best practice for performing a task or process, and ensures that everyone is applying it, is a prerequisite for improvement.
Here are 14 ways that Standard Work benefits organizations that leverage it.
Aug 18, 2020 10:44:00 AM
We often describe Kaizen as a way of looking at the world rather than a prescription for how to achieve positive change. Kaizen thinkers seek to make small changes to operations daily in search of higher quality, more efficiency, and less waste. But because the concept of Kaizen is so philosophical, it can be a challenge for people new to the idea to understand what it means in practical terms.
One useful tool for training managers to adopt the Kaizen mindset is called the 5 M’s. By consistently examining the 5 M’s, managers will be able to recognize when something in a process is not working and improve efficiency and profitability. This model can be used for risk mitigation, addressing safety issues, and improving quality. It can be used right alongside other Kaizen techniques such as the 5 Whys, 5S, and Gemba walks.
The 5 M’s are:
Aug 11, 2020 9:30:00 AM
The practice of Kaizen is not about a particular way of performing business operations or even a specific approach to process improvement. Instead, it is a way of thinking about business operations that can transform how you look at problems and open up new doors to innovation. Kaizen seeks to move operations nearer and nearer to perfection through incremental improvement. Embracing the approach is not only beneficial for organizations, but it can also accelerate the development and help the careers of individual employees as well.
Here are seven ways of thinking that can help you become a champion for positive change.
Jun 16, 2020 9:30:00 AM
Organizations that practice kaizen work hard to maintain a culture centered around continuous improvement. The best defense against push back and poor engagement is hiring only those employees who are likely to thrive in a culture of positive change.
Ideally, the conversation about continuous improvement will begin the moment a candidate is considered. Talking about the principles of kaizen during the interview will show the potential hire how important it is to the organization. The right questions can help you identify those who will do well in your organization and those who should look elsewhere.
Here are a few questions that will give you insight into how the candidate thinks.
May 5, 2020 6:02:25 PM
We tend to think of just-in-time manufacturing as a relatively new concept. Dell builds your PC when you order it but does it quickly, so you are satisfied with the speed of delivery. Plus, Dell never has excess PC inventory on its hands. However, the idea is not new at all. In the 1940’s, Toyota began applying the principal to its production lines after taking a lesson from an unexpected place: the grocery store.
Shopping for Parts
Although situations at grocery stores are a little different now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the grocery store metaphor can still help breakdown the idea of Kanban (pronounced kahn-bahn).
When you go to the grocery store, it's rare to find an empty shelf. In the rare times you do, the shelves don’t stay empty for long. The reason is that the store has both the inventory on the shelf and some inventory in their own on-site warehouse. Grocery stores don’t want to stock more of an item than will be sold in a short enough time to ensure that the items are fresh and to reduce inventory costs. So, when a shelf is depleted, it is refilled from the on-site inventory and only then are new items ordered from the manufacturer to replace the warehouse products. This process is efficient and cost-effective for the store, and also reassuring to customers who can buy only what they need without fear of a future shortage of a favored product.
Toyota realized that the same principal would work for items needed on its manufacturing floor. They further enhanced the idea by adding Kanban cards, which served as a visual signal of the state of inventory. In fact, the word Kanban when translated directly means, "signboard, shopkeeper's in-business sign.” The approach can be applied to any business process, so its use is not limited to the manufacturing of hard goods.
Feb 12, 2020 8:55:43 AM
Kaizen events are an effective tool for harnessing the innovative ideas and creativity of your workforce to implement rapid improvement in a specific area of the organization. In the literature about Kaizen events, a lot of emphasis is put on the event itself, but we have found that often the difference between success and failure is actually the pre-event planning phase. Here are some critical items that should be part of your event preparation.
Nov 29, 2019 7:15:00 AM
The Sacramento area is home to a small chain of sushi restaurants called Mikuni. The downtown location is a favorite of politicians and lobbyists. When they opened up the newest location in Roseville, they gave it a new name, "Mikuni Kaizen." They explained, "The Japanese word "kaizen," which translates to "continuous improvement," truly reflects the concept behind this Mikuni location. While the menu features a host of exquisite sushi rolls made popular at the restaurant's other locations, it is also highlighted by an extensive selection of small plates and tapas-style dishes- each more exciting and compelling than the next."
Of course, seeing this on a recent visit piqued my interest. It isn't common to find continuous improvement related terms out in the wild, so it stuck with me. It turns out that the idea of applying the principles of kaizen to sushi (or vice versa) is not as novel as I thought. A quick Google search revealed that there are lots of sushi restaurants with kaizen in the name.
In addition to Roseville's Mikuni Kaizen, you could enjoy:
- Kaizen Campbell in Campbell, CA
- Kaizen Sushi Bar & Grill in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Kaizen Sushi in San Francisco, CA
- Kaizen Tavern in Alexandria, VA
And those are just the ones that made the first page of Google.
Nov 19, 2019 8:00:00 AM
Our 2019 KaiNexicon event in Austin was a tremendous success, thanks to all of our fabulous participants and speakers. Lots of valuable information was shared, and long-term connections formed.
The event kicked off with a Keynote from Jess Orr of WestRock Company. This post is a recap of her presentation. We invite you to watch the video as well.
Jess Orr is a continuous improvement manager with over 12 years of experience working in a variety of industries. Her approach has been greatly influenced by the time she spent working directly for Toyota in Georgetown, KY. Jess focuses on equipping and guiding people in the application of improvement principles and practices to elevate the performance of their organizations.
Jess shared that she worked for Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky, for several years. Her experience of working there was utterly transformative, both personally and professionally. Due to some personal circumstances, she had to leave Toyota about four years ago, which was a difficult thing to do. Although it was devastating at the time, in hindsight, Jess believes it is one of the best things that ever happened to her.