For any manufacturing operation to succeed, it is necessary to optimize the workflow. Optimizing workflow has to find a starting place. In this regard, Kaizen is a time-tested set of techniques that comes in handy. In this article, we discuss concisely as to when you should start using Kaizen techniques.
Before that, an elucidation of the basic principles that guide the Kaizen approach would be in order.
Kaizen approaches the workflow optimization by using lean manufacturing method(s) to bring about an improvement in the effectiveness of the output.
The principles underlying the approach are:
- Standardize the processes so that it is capable of getting repeated in an organized fashion
- Focus on the evaluation of the progress through measuring the data, which compares the results vis-a-vis, the promise.
- Achieve constant improvement through innovating and evolving better ways to achieve results.
- Avoid wastes at all times, and if this requires changing the methods, stress the need to being flexible in introducing them. It recognizes the fact that Kaizen is a philosophy and not a rigid system.
When to start using Kaizen techniques?
When you do not find the time necessary to devote attention to such projects that are important to you and wonder why is it so, that is when you have to start applying the Kaizen principles. You may discover that your time was wasted on unimportant tasks that are holding up you from carrying out what is more critical to the productive performance of your business.
Under such circumstances, starting with Kaizen is the most appropriate thing to do because a core principle of it is ‘waste reduction.’ When you apply it, you will unlock more productivity by doing less, not more. It helps you to set a ‘mission control’ where you can make those tasks that need priority ‘mission-critical,’ which would enable your operations to scale up.
Kaizen would have to be your starting point when you start experiencing a sense of discomfort arising out of a feeling your business operations are not moving in the right direction. And you have started feeling the heat in the form of lower turnover, loss of revenues, or profitability due to insufficient or untested methods of applying cost control. When you start with Kaizen, you may realize that you have set overly ambitions or set unrealistic goals. Its starting point would help to pause and document the processes and identify where you are facing productivity snags. It would provide you the opportunity to practice control and follow an incremental approach.
Strategies drive organizations, and one of the procedures for major success is to identify opportunities for change. Opportunities for change are not visible in themselves, and when you start with Kaizen, you will carry out process review. When that is done, it will bring out the opportunities for change, which are what you should cling on to achieve your organizational goals.
The key takeaways of this article for practical application are:
- All successful business entities have one thing in common, which is that they have started applying the principles of Kaizen at the right time, in a proper manner, and through a gradual and continuous process to achieve and retain success. When you realize that you have got to embrace the process to make your business relevant, it is the time when you start with Kaizen and its techniques. When done so, you are bound to achieve greater success via incremental milestones.
Keywords: KAIZEN, ACHIEVE, PROCESS, PRINCIPLE, Kaizen techniques, STARTING, APPROACH, APPLY, OPPORTUNITY, BUSINESS