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How Kaizen Principles can reduce cost within your Factory

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KEYWORDS: THE KAIZEN PRINCIPLES, BUSINESS PROBLEMS, WASTE, PROCESS, APPLY THE PRINCIPLES, AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY, SHEET WASTE, EMPLOYEES

The Japanese term Kaizen is a combination of two words, ‘Kai’ meaning ‘change’ and ‘Zen’ conveying ‘good.’ The belief of Japanese in the philosophy of ‘continuous improvement’ to remain globally competitive drove them to apply the principles of Kaizen to their business operations, (www. Kaizen-institute.com).

The market economy operates on the assertion that ‘customer is the king’ and catering to their expectations in terms of quality, cost, and delivery, (QCD) is the ultimate goal of any business. By invoking the Kaizen strategy, the management applies these principles to obtain creative improvement in their day to day activities.

Practical Utility of Kaizen

Kaizen focuses on eliminating the seven types of wastes, (also known as seven deadly wastes), VIZ

  • Overproduction, (producing more than what has been a schedule)
  • Waiting, (poor balance of work leading to excessive attention of the operators)
  • Transportation, (long moves, wrong methods of re-stacking, etc.)
  • Excessive Inventory, (Too much of material before the actual processes leads to the hiding of problems)
  • Over-processing, (not protecting the parts for transporting to another method)
  • Motion, (walking to get the elements due to the space occupied by high work in progress, (WIP)
  • Defective manufacturing, (material and labor wastages lead to bottlenecks resulting in losses in capacity.

Applying Kaizen how Businesses have benefitted

The Kaizen principles can use in whichever industry you are engaged in. We explain here how the automobile industry can help due to the peculiar problems it faces. Two issues that are specific to the auto industry are (i) waiting for time waste caused by lack of supply on time and (ii) wastages due to defects in printed sheets. The first one also described as “external enemy” Syndrome. In this particular case, let us name the company ‘x,’ the cause of wastes (defective printed sheets)  were attributed to internal policies about storage & printing instructions and the waiting time was traced to the number of employees programmed into the assembly line.

To tackle this principle, Kaizen principles applied in three steps:

1. The commitment of employees for participation obtained, and they equipped with the skills.

2. An analysis of the problem took place to chalk out a solution.

3. It implemented,  the intervention was sustained, which prevented the repetition of the problem, and there was a continuous effort to reinforce the motivation of the employees. There was an excellent outcome with a reduction of 87% in waiting time, and 60.5% in defective sheets: (Source of the case study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262558016_Overcoming_the_external_enemy_syndrome_in_an_autoparts_firm_using_kaizen by Jorge Iván Pérez Rave: IDINNOV • IDINNOV research group).

As early as in 1973, Nissan applied the Kaizen principles to the welding operations with robots, and within a decade, it had reduced the work time by 60% and increased the production efficiency by 20%.  The company followed a ‘staircase’ approach by which it completed each step before going into the next one towards which the programs were initiated within a time a frame of 3 to 6 months.

Outside Japan and in particular, in the USA, the businesses apply a process known as “Kaizen American Style,” (Osbum, J.D., Moral, L., Musselwhite, E, Zenger, J. H., Self-directed Work teams the new American Challenge). It is an umbrella methodology that embraces various techniques as JIT, TQM, self-directed work teams, etc. into the working systems that bring about sustainable improvements to the business processes.

In the current business world, competition is so fierce that it needs the infusion of Kaizen spirit for not only business survival but also achieving profitability. We at https://upkaizen.com/ dedicated to solving your manufacturing problems by developing and applying principles, including the Kaizen ones to eliminate wastes, improve the operational efficiency, optimize the costs, and enhance your revenues and profitability.

 

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