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Demerits of Kaizen

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  • #41888

    tony c
    Member

    I am currently researching Kaizen as part of an assignment on Lean Manufacturing for a University course in Printing. One aspect of the report is the merits and demerits of such as Kaizen. These merits/demerits are not comparisons of Kaizen with other methods but just the implementation of a method.
    Can anybody tell me of the problems or any downsides they have come across by implementing Kaizen in the workplace.

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    #131879

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    Your Professor is stupid.
    What an inane assignment.

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    #131883

    Sig
    Member

    What on earth is implementing Kaizen?  you hold Kaizen events or Kaizen blitz’s to reduce Muda (waste), sometimes that waste is product travel, so processes are leaned by combining operations into cells, which is why Kaizen is usually tied closely with Lean.  A Kaizen by it’s definition just means “improvement”  Usually when you hold a Kaizen blitz you have several Kaizen’s (improvements), so your Kaizen event was successful. 

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    #132115

    tony c
    Member

    I am so sorry for writing ‘implementing Kaizen’. I am a total novice trying to understand. This phrase was taken from the book ‘Gemba Kaizen’ by masaaki imai, page xii. Is this man a fool? I do not know?Please tell me if I should ignore this man. Have you any books that you have written or can recommend?
    When researching it is important to look for positives and negatives. To look just for positives and to ignore any possible negatives when researching would be extremely foolish. If Kaizen has no demerits, fantastic, but I must look!Do all the workforce need to be involved or behind it. Does it have to be management led?Can it have negative effects on shopfloor workers.( they think management are after more from them for nothing). these were some of the questions I had before I started to research. Any recommendations for a complete novice, who is just trying to scratch the surface!
     

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    #132118

    Tronan
    Member

    Hi Tony,
    You are right and Sig needs to try again with his definition. In one respect Sig is correct, but only in accordance to his tutors who have derived their version of Lean and its interaction with Kaizen from an American view of the world.
    I would like to say that Imai has the right way of looking at things, and in my opinion he is right. There are several books that you can get your hands on for research, they would be:
    The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker
    The machine that changed the world by Womak Jones and Roos
    Imai’s other book, Kaizen the key to Japan’s competitive success
    Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno
    If you would like to get into it a bit deeper, then look for cross references between Ford’s Today and Tomorrow and Ohno’s book. There are a lot of similaraties. Also look up two blokes called Sakichi and Kiichiro Toyoda. That would be a good start on the history of things. Another one would be the world of Quality Circles in which case look up a bloke called Kaoru Ishikawa and look for his interactions with a bloke called Joseph Juran. There are many many books on the subject but the ones that I have listed above would give you good grounding.
    There are negative sides of Kaizen (the world of Continuous Improvement as Imai correctly puts it) however it doesn’t come from the tools themselves, only the way that it is implemented. For example, I was running a time and motion study the other week, the response from the people that I interacted was negative (at first) due to previous uses of the tool and hearing about it from other companies, for example using T+M for personnel and head count reduction. If (any by no means is the world this easy to segregate) you took the western approach, the tools could be used for removing head count to improve the bottom line. The eastern version being to reduce the requirement for the resource so that they can be redistributed and no further recruitment required.
    To answer your questions:
    Does it have to be management led? No but their buy in is essential. the Ishikawa Quality Circles are proof of that, and they work as we have them here in the company I work for.
    Can it have negative effects on shopfloor workers.( they think management are after more from them for nothing)? Yes, but only if the tools have been used badly before in the past or currently. In any improvement you must ensure that you have the people involved from the process or procedure that you are working on, if not then they will work against you. Three things need to be explained up front, Why, What and How.
    Keep going in your research and don’t be put off by other posters on the site being negative, after all…. I could be wrong.
    T.

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    #132124

    Tronan
    Member

    Just been thinking some more, another area for possible failure is outlined in Hofstede’s work on Cultures and Organisations and the differences between world cultures as well as organisations in themselves. Something I am finding more and more relevant at the moment as we have a lot of people working on this site in comparison to my previous company. The resistance to a change environment is different in different parts of the company, and so I have to have several approaches….. Until I have a uniform knowledge in the company I am going to have to keep on re-affirming what it means to be a company on the road of continuous improvement. When they get it wrong, it costs a lot of money.
    However I am not really answering your question directly – There are no real demerits to Kaizen, just the way that it is implemented….
    T.

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    #132128

    tony c
    Member

    Thanks for your reply, i thought I was totally misunderstanding the little bit I have read both in book form and on different websites. I was worried about posting again as I felt belittled for using the wrong terminology. thanks for your time Tronan.

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    #132131

    Tronan
    Member

    No worries….
    Feel free to post more questions on this subject, there is always room to learn from each other.
    Good Luck,
    T.

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    #132132

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Tronan,
    Please forgive our natural agression toward academia.  It’s nothing personal.  It comes with years of life in the real world.  Especially when it was preceeded by 4+ years of what they call “preparation”.  Ahh…belittled…those are fond memories…NOT!

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    #132133

    Tronan
    Member

    No worries,
    I know the feeling, I am currently the LSS deployment leader for a large company, so it is in my favour to get ‘degree bods’ as I lovingly call them, knowing as much from the real world people as possible, people like you and I.
    The bit that gets me is when they put their questions from their exams on here….. not too cunning….
    Also they face another issue when posting questions such as Tony’s. This site is heavily frequented by consultants, people who do not want to present holes in their source of income.
    T.

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    #132134

    Chris Overton
    Participant

    Tony,
    You are approaching this in the correct manner…  attempting to validate what you read.
    Unfortunately, a couple of inept “belts” who are afraid to reveal their real names jumped to the conclusion that your professor was stupid and that their worldly experience makes them, well… worldly.
    I’d be willing to bet that these “belts” spend more time playing around on their computers than working.
    Chris Overton
    Real MBB
    Jacksonville, FL

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    #132136

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    Nice try…
    No need to get so worked up?
    Attepmting to validate a method via scientific method is fine.   My statement stands based on the watered down approach to 6S, Kaizen, Lean, etc… that many Universities/Colleges take.    Why not spend the time actually teaching these kids how to implement proven methodologies and tools?   Why waste time trying to pick apart and debunk?   Imai got it right many years ago, let’s drive on and actually help to improve the US economy.
    my $0.02

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    #132139

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Tronan,
    I would generally be inclined to have let the “implementing Kaizen” thing go. Just my preference.
    Where I have a personal issue is that even though you work for a large company you seem to think you understand how and why I (I am a consultant) frequent this sight and what information I am willing and/or not willing to post. There are at least 4-5 consultants that will honestly answer any question they are asked on this sight and they spend a lot of their own time helping people out. You need to learn to drive on data and I would be interested to see the data you have to substantiate your glittering generality.

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    #132141

    MJT
    Participant

    Guys,
    Dial down the sensitivity and give constructive feedback when requested.  The answer here, in my humble BB opinion, is that there is a down side of Kaizen events.  The downside is that it could hurt the overall Lean Implementation effort.  If the workforce equates Kaizen events with the total Lean effort than the Kaizen becomes a force unto itself.  It will then be perceived that if the Kaizens stop the Lean effort stops.  So don’t do Kaizens alone for improvement, but as a part of the toolset that you use to develope the Lean mentality and methodology in your workplace.
    Later, Mario
     
     

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    #132143

    tony c
    Member

    Heebeegeebee BB,
    I understand this an international forum and so do not know anything about universities on your side of the pond. I’ll just point out that the university I attend in England does not spoon feed you, so could not be accused of watering down anything. As a student you are expected to find, research and review appropriate literature yourself. I received a lecture from an outside consultant, he may have been connected with the Sunderland Nissan Plant, covering some basics.(maybe I should have taken more notice!) This is how I ended up on this forum, hoping to pointed in the correct direction on a couple of issues. This report I am preparing is just a tiny part of a module dealing with production control techniques in my industry and so I am only expecting to scratch the surface
    As for ‘teaching kids’, I am the one of the youngest on the course and I am nearing 40 with over twenty years experience in the print industry and a real knowledge of how shopfloor workers ,especially, can rebel against anything new or ‘foreign’.
    No one has tried to pick apart or debunk, just investigate.

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    #132145

    DJon
    Participant

    I agree with Tronan’s last comment about implementation.
    Here’s my 0.02p worth.
    I prefer to see Kaizen when applied within lean. I think the following process (adapted from Learning to See) works.
    Business Case
    VSM Current State
    Apply Lean Tools to Current State (by Kaizen bursts) keep the business case in mind I.e. Which Lean Tool – SUR, Pull, TPM, Flow, etc will enable this Current State to satisfy the business case. Bear in mind that you might not do it in one step.
    Draw Future State.
    Plan & Do the work
    Redraw the VSM and start again.
    See 86215 for a good format for getting the team on board.
     
    This always needs “tuning” depending in the situation but as a general format it works for me.
     
     
     

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    #132151

    Flying Sigma Circus
    Participant

    Tony,
    Stay the course, ask the questions, ignore the barbs, and process on, my friend.  There is good and bad in anything.  Understanding that is critical to your learning. Do the research, learn, adapt, apply and improve, both your business and yourself.  Some are getting caught up in the semantics of “lean” and “Kaizen.”  Don’t let it get in your way.  Stay focused and you will be spot on.

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    #132156

    Di
    Participant

    Kaizen was implemented with great success in Japan where it is a different culture and attitude towards quality. One of the Kaizen’s demerit, it is a slower process change- (CI).  Even so, the teams are brainstorming the changes, they have to submit proposals to committe who than has to approve or dissaprove the change. Only then, the change is implemented. If people are not trained to use the following tools (see below), the company can not implement Kaizen. Kaizen requires a step by step approach and management involvement- costly process. Some of the tools used by Kaizen are:  SMED , 3P (Production Preparation Process),  TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), Kanban,  Standard Work,  Visual Management,  Jidoka,  GembaSigma

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    #132171

    Tronan
    Member

    Mike,
    Of course I have no data as you well know. Wouldn’t it be so nice if life were so black and white. I’m only going on past experiences with writing and reading responses on this site. After all, there is a reason I don’t write that much on here anymore.
    Furthermore, I should have added a disclaimer on the ones I believe actually help with an unbiased opinion (but that would have made it more personnel…), one of which is you. If I didn’t like your postings, I wouldn’t have bought your book would I?
    Have a nice day in SA.
    T.

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    #132179

    Tronan
    Member

    Hi Tony,
    Just wondering, where are you studying?
    T.

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    #132181

    Paul Gibbons
    Participant

    TC,
    For an academic critique of the lean concept the following references might be of use (there are more).
    Cusumano, M. A. (1994) The Limits of Lean. Sloan Management Review, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 27-32.
    Hines, P., Holweg, M. & Rich, N. (2004) Learning to Evolve: A Review of Contemporary Lean Thinking. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 24, No. 10, pp. 994-1011.
    Lewis, M. A. (2000) Lean Production and Sustainable Competitive Advantage. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 20, No. 8, pp. 959-978.
    Williams, K., Haslam, C., Williams, J., Adcoft, A. & Johal, S. (1992) Against Lean Production. Economy and Society, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 321-354.
    Williams, K., Haslam, C., Williams, J. & Johal, S. (1994) Cars: Analysis, History, Cases, Providence, Berghahn Books.
     
    I am currently working on a lean related research project and have written a critique as part of the project. Some of my findings suggest there are two distinct critiques of the “lean” concept.
    Critique 1
    The research informing the lean concept (International Motor Vehicle Programme) was not valid and thus the findings presented in “the machine that changed the world” are questionable (see Williams et al., 1992, 1994).
    Critique 2
    The principles and useful application of the lean concept suggested by Womack et al. are further criticised into the following categories:
    lack of contingency;
    lack of consideration for human factors;
    narrow focus at the shop floor level.
    non-pluralist
    others???
     
    I hope this helps helps.
     
    Good luck in your project/assignment
     
    Paul

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    #132184

    Peppe
    Participant

    Paul, this means you have implemented Lean/Kaizen successfully, removing critiques you highlighted ?
    Rgs, Peppe 

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    #132187

    IknowU
    Participant

    Believe

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    #132188

    IknowU
    Participant

    Tony ,
    Believe me ! Nothing worthwhile will come out of this exercise! It will be the most non-valueadded exercise ever done.
    One more request – Pl. donot use isixsigma website for anything else other than sharing six-sigma methodology. You may refer the lean website. If u are student of Kaizen, you should know how to do things, the Lean way.
    Iknowu

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    #132190

    Peppe
    Participant

    Lean and SixSigma are converging (already converged, see books, conference, strategies, etc) in a unique approach. Why you suggest to keep it separate ? Isn’t it a nonsense ?
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #132191

    Paul Gibbons
    Participant

    The academic work I have presented is purely academic as stated. However,..
    Pre-academia I have utilised the concepts of lean/kaizen in achieving sustainable improvements whilst working in manufacturing. During this time I experienced the critiques highlighted in my previous message in some way, shape or form.
    If you could suggest any other useful academic references discussing the application of lean (other than the ones already covered) it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Paul

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    #132192

    Tronan
    Member

    Hi Peppe,
    You pipped me to the post, good call.
    T.

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    #132193

    Paul Gibbons
    Participant

    A non-pluralist approach then? Myopia is obviously your thing!
    Paul

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    #132198

    Peppe
    Participant

    No suggestion from my side, I don’t believe to be the right one to do it. I wanted just to know if your academic critiques have found pratical applications in real developments.
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #171836

    Liubov Roslyakova
    Participant

    The problem is that all the articles are so expensive, that I can not afford them… If your have some materials, please-please-please send me, because I’m really in tricky position. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your understanding!

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    #171841

    TFOOOALAOBAIDA
    Member

    I have excellent stuff but I will never give to anybody as I have given such stuff to many in the past and they don’t bother to give any feedback,or to share stuff,etc,even some of them like (Engine Lady,etc)has insulted me badly,just because of my real name…..instead of appreciation.
    Those bad persons have given me a good lesson in my life.
    And those few who care to respond are only interested to make benefit of that stuff without telling the impactor how they utilize it in their work,etc.
    So I will never exchange stuff with any person in this forum.
    For your information ,have prepared slides covering the following issues,using more than 100 references:Kaizen Management,Change Management,Six Sigma,Lean-SS,TQM,DFSS,etc.

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