GCC Consultants completed the second Green Belt Training Weekend of the Lean Six Sigma program. Indeed, we simulated the process of processing a mortgage application and attempted to make improvements based on Lean’s principles. As part of this simulation, we did a mini-Kaizen that allowed us to accelerate changes and optimize the process which was a great success. Initially we had a lead time of more than sixteen minutes and we managed to reduce it to two minutes!
In this article, Kaizen is honored as well as the reasons why it might be useful for your business.
Definition of methodology
The Kaizen system comes from the Japanese words “kai” and “zain” which mean change and good, which can also be translated as continuous improvement. This system was introduced by Toyota in the 40s.
Kaizen could be useful for your business if you want, among other things, to analyze and improve a process or layout. In addition, it can solve specific problems, such as reducing non-value-added activities.
This methodology is based on teamwork and requires full participation and intensive work from the employees involved. A Kaizen can last from one to ten days depending on the size of the project.
In addition, Kaizen is useful for both manufacturing and administrative processes.
A “pre-Kaizen” is needed to establish the project charter as well as the multidisciplinary team that will participate in the workshop. Employees from all services and levels involved must work together. Their involvement in analyzing the process and identifying opportunities for improvement is the key to Kaizen’s success.
During Kaizen, employees are invited to share their ideas. The facilitator is in charge of well aligning the discussions. Everything happens in eight steps:
- Definition of the problems and the seven sources of waste;
- Collection and analysis of information;
- Simplification of the process;
- Detection of recurring sources of waste and suggestions for improvement;
- Validation and simulation of solutions;
- Development of desired performance indicators to be put in place;
- Implementation of changes in the workplace;
- Celebration and organization of a recognition activity.
- Finally, we need to track changes made by auditing and measuring the impact of changes.
If Kaizen is well done, your company could reap several benefits, such as improving the quality of the products or services offered, increasing productivity and decreasing production lead times, and ultimately better working conditions and improved productivity. stronger involvement of workers.