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Article: Kaizen Event - Part 4 of 5
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PLANT MANAGEMENTS ROLE

The Kaizen Process (Continued)

Four weeks before your event, the scope of the project should be clear and your objectives or expected outcomes should be done. Objectives for an event should be a stretch, for example, a space reduction of 75 percent, travel distance reduced by 50 percent, 80 percent of all non-value-added tasks eliminated. The reason for stretch objectives is so we don't cut short the potential improve­ments. If you give an objective to the team of reducing space for their operation by 15 percent, that's what you will get. I mean to say, after reaching their goal the team is likely to say it's time to move on, the objective has been met. If you ask for 75 percent and get 35 percent, the event has been a huge success.

Three weeks before the event, your last-minute changes or additions to the team should be complete. This allows everyone as much time as possible to arrange their professional and personal schedules to allow for the four uninterrupted days the event will require. At this time we should also have a food committee formed to plan for in-house meals and snacks. Your team is going to work hard. They must be cared for accordingly. A space should be made available where their will al­ways be a supply of cold drinks, coffee, and snacks. Like­wise this area would be used for delivery of three meals per day. The conference or meeting room they will re­quire for the four days could double for their break area.

As you will see later, we celebrate our victory with much enthusiasm after the event is completed. Because of this, three weeks before the event someone should have the responsibility for procuring token gifts for the team—t-shirts, hats—use your imagination. Some elect to design a kaizen t-shirt. This shirt is only given to per­sons who have completed an event. There is no other way to obtain one. You might also give a certificate and a token gift like a key chain with "kaizen" engraved on it. The same person will usually also have the task of arranging some entertainment for the celebration. I have had a band come in and play while we have lunch served for the team and invited guests.

All training materials and supplies for the team should also begin coming together by week three. Training ma­terials should be in order. The supplies or "kaizen kit"are refurbished after each event. The kit contains the tools of the trade—six stop watches, writing pads, pens, pen­cils, tape measures, marking pens, masking tape, calcula­tors, etc. We also make sure there is a supply of hand tools available as well as duct tape, cardboard, flip charts, some pieces of wood, and construction items. These are frequently used for mockups.

Your team leader, management, and other persons with responsibility for preparedness should meet weekly until the event begins. Develop a checklist of the items that we have covered to make sure everything is ready for the event in advance. This list must include any changes that will be made to the production schedule to allow for down time during the event. This will vary depending on the type of area you are working on. Real­istically ask yourself if it will be possible to maintain production and at what level during the event.

 

One thing that I have incorporated is a "pre-kaizen" task list. I have assigned an industrial engineer who is also a kaizen facilitator in training the responsibility for getting some groundwork done in advance of the event. We have found this to be a great head-start for our teams. For example, we go into our event already knowing the "before" data such as square footage con­sumed by the process, current run times, current travel distances, current average production attainable per shift, etc. By doing this in advance our team has more time to analyze and offer alternatives before imple­menting their recommendations.

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5


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