This article looks at some common tools and techniques for planning a successful Kaizen event, and identifies some pitfalls to avoid.
Organizations considering Kaizen events must be ready to make a commitment to change management by properly preparing attendees for the goals of the event, executing the event smoothly and implementing solutions in a timely and effective manner.
After being compelled to reset a project several times because of a major upheaval in the emergency department, a Black Belt team leader decided to schedule a Kaizen event and the team delivered ED improvements in three areas in only four days.
Six Sigma, when properly used and maintained, is the vehicle of choice – the motorcycle. Lean and fast, blazing along the highway of product cycles and deficiency, a set of tools strapped under the seat as one breezes from root cause to root cause.
Kaizens are improvement events where a group completes most or all of a DMAIC cycle on a narrowly targeted high-priority issue in just a matter of days. The model has been so successful that it has been adapted for a wide variety of uses.
Virtua Voorhees Histology Lab in New Jersey wanted to take advantage of technological advances to provide same-day biopsy results and, in turn, better patient care. However, Virtua found it needed to use Lean in addition to buying new equipment.
A hospital used a kaizen event to discover the causes of an I.V. pump availability problem and implement solutions, thereby improving patient safety and employee satisfaction.
To improve RME patient flow in the emergency department, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center first addressed physical space issues by remodeling a patient registration area, then tackled process challenges by applying Lean through a Kaizen event.
Kaizen alone is ineffective and should not be used as a continuous improvement culture without Six Sigma and DMAIC. Combining these tools with Kaizen in the Lean spirit of continuous improvement will optimize success and improve the organization.
Kaizen aims to eliminate waste in all systems of an organization through improving standardized activities and processes. By understanding the basics of Kaizen, practitioners can integrate this method into their overall Six Sigma efforts.
Tools to Keep Employees Continuously Occupied | This article describes what a Kaizen event is and addresses how to run successful Kaizen events.
Many of the early benefits of Lean and Six Sigma at Medtronic, a major medical technology company, were in manufacturing. In the last year, however, Medtronic also has had notable results improving transactional and administrative processes.
A non-statistical tool, the value stream map, is the focus during Kaizen events, and when selecting other tools to accompany the map, Belts must be mindful not to introduce anything overly complicated, or they may waste valuable time with staff.
A Kaizen event performed at a physician’s office decreased the time staff spent looking for charts and increased staff satisfaction.
Improvement ideas are frequently considered in most organizations, but it is all too rare that these ideas are actually acted upon. Lean offers a powerful set of tools to pursue and implement these ideas in any industry, including healthcare.
Virtua Health, which has made use of Six Sigma for years, added Lean to its process improvement toolkit via a Kaizen event. The organization's surgical center resolved issues in the sterile supply room and in ordering/accounts payable.
Using Lean Six Sigma’s principles in the field of public health will enable organizations to develop effective models to improve their operations, deliver care effectively and efficiently, and create positive health outcomes within their community.