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4 Day Kaizen Event Experience

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  • #53927

    Brad Petersen
    Participant

    I am in the early stages of planning one of my companies first Kaizen events. We work a compressed 4 day work week thus giving us one less day than a typical week long Kaizen. My concern deals with how much time to spend teaching the Basic Lean concepts. My past experience in a 4 Day event (at a company more advanced in Lean) was to spend the entire first day giving a Lean “Overview”, collecting data, and forming focus groups within the team. At our current state I could justify spending the entire week giving lean training to employees and throw all hope for large gains out the window. However, with all the low hanging fruit it seems even with limited knowledge a team could accompish a lot during the week. I am having a hard time finding that balance between building a solid long term understanding and accomplishing large gains during the event with hopes of the concepts sticking with team members.

    Any thoughts or past experience in either compressed events or events in an environment with lacking understanding of Lean?

    Thanks!

    Brad

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    #192036

    Rick Tucci
    Member

    The good news is you’ve been there before and know the Lean concepts and tools, so please take the suggestions below as precision-tuning of what you may already know.

    Whenever, introducing Lean for the first to an experienced production team, we, we recommend a “just-in-time, learn as you improve” approach to the Kaizen Event. Instead of a full day of training on the frontend, consider starting with a review of the charter for the week and then a simple Lean simulation that will get the group engaged and excited about moving from the present state to a Lean operation. Usually a two part simulation that presents a challenge with no use of lean concepts, followed by a brief tutorial on Key Lean Principles and a second run at the challenge is effective. Don’t try to get folks to “drink from a fire-hose”, but rather allow the team to use their commonsense and incoming know-how. Lean is pretty intuitive and making it accessible and non-threatening will set the stage for rapid assimilation of more learning and application of tools.

    Once you’ve created a mindset and energy for change (usually the first morning), consider introducing the concept of process waste, the classic forms of waste and examples, and go do a “Waste Walk” of the operation with the team. Come back and introduce the Value Stream concept; get the group engaged in mapping a high-level Spaghetti Diagramming of the process and then SIPOC mapping of the process; and, have the group post where they’ve observed waste in the process. The process of visually documenting waste in always a powerful motivator and a great way to transition to introducing Level I Lean Concepts of 5S, Smooth Flow Layout and Standard Work. You can easily spent the next day getting the team engaged in applying these concepts to capture low-hanging fruit, while recognizing this work will continue after the event.

    You’re ready now on day three to move to looking at process performance metrics such as cycle time, first-pass yield, inventory, WIP, etc. here’s where data can help if you have it. But if you don’t have hard data available, don’t hesitate to rely on the team to make estimates to get order of magnitude gauge of the opportunity for improvement by comparing current performance to the potential entitled performance when waste/non-value added activities are eliminated. Again, our experience is that simple is better. The idea is to create a bridge to introducing the next level of Lean concepts, starting with single piece flow, KanBan, cellular work design, etc. Once again, classroom brainstorming of ideas followed by on the floor experimentation and observation is very powerful. Day Three should end with the team feeling good about the “To Be” Lean Design for the production process.

    We always suggest reserving the last day of the Kaizen Event for transition planning: How the team will fully operationalize the new process design and associated changes in support processes, roles, responsibilities, schedules, etc. Our advice: Don’t underestimate the importance of developing clear action plans and getting all team members to take on Action Champion roles to ensure follow-through.

    Brad , I hope this is useful. To net it: Keep it simple by presenting lean tools in bite-size chunks, apply and capture learning and improvement opportunities as you move through the event.

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    #192044

    Stan Mikel
    Member

    Look you work a four day work week. Do in 4 what was once done in 5. Been there done that, what are you worrying about?

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    #192055

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Success breeds success. Sitting a bunch of people in a room and “teaching” them -particularly adults is a waste of time. Get up and do something and do it well. Long winded classes are primarily for the instructor to portray themselves as an expert. They learn more from doing things.

    Where this whole thing doesn’t make any sense to me is the time. My factory runs on 4 10hr days. It used to be 5 8hr days. I haven’t got my calculator with me but I am pretty sure 4×10 and 5×8 are almost the same number. Here is another option – if you aren’t done just stay late. Nobody goes to jail (generally) if you stay till the work is done. Lots of us have been doing it for years. It is about what you do not how long you do it.

    Just my opinion.

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    #192095

    Mike Paulonis
    Guest

    Whether it is a 3, 4, or 5 day Kaizen, I usually give about 2 hours of a Lean overview at the beginning so the group can start to visualize waste and potential improvements. After that, the rest of the learning is just-in-time as the team digs in to a particular analysis or tool. The long-term learning will occur over a long time as team members participate in future Kaizens. No need to try to force it in one. You may want to provide an accelerated or deeper learning path outside of the Kaizen environment for those that show aptitude and interest and are likely to become the next lean leaders.

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    #192120

    HopeOverExperience
    Participant

    I would go for a quick overview of the basic concepts and what the wastes are and then dive in. If you think they need to know a tool go through it then and get them to apply it to their problem.
    Teaching them tools they don’t need at this point would only confuse the issues. This is only the first pass remember what you need is some quick fixes you can start to improve on these once they see the benefits.
    Also if you can I would gather as much data before the Kaizen, this will keep the event flowing and keep people engaged.

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    #192461

    Brad Petersen
    Participant

    I realize that 4×10 = 5×8 so thank you but my question was more directed at the fact that 8 hours is not equal to 10 hours when considering the entirety of a first day in trianing and simulating concepts. We did end up getting right out to the floor and observing a set-up and communicating concepts as they came up through the week. Unfortunatly our team shrank in size from what I anticipated so it was more focused on producing gains rather than teaching. Due to a set-up process that takes almost a full day the initial event led to some short term easy process fix’s and also some long term projects that we are still focusing on. It is encouraging to see the event lead to a changed attitude towards change rather than just some quick fixes and no long term focus. Excited to see how events can be better tuned to fit our style of production in the future. Thank you all for the replies!

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    #192477

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    @bradlp – if the org is as bad as you indicate, then you will need to establish a lot of fundamentals, so trying to make them drink from a firehose would probably backfire anyway. Small steps, my friend.

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    #192485

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @bradlp You seemed to have missed the point after the basic math. There are Kaizens run all over the world that do not do 8 hours of training. Give up your training and teach the concepts as they are applicable on the project. Assuming you give it a fair shot you will get better results from your training time.

    Just my opinion.

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