One way Kaizen can be effectively implemented is by training all employees in the workplace. Kaizen can be used in the workplace as a daily practice, practiced in scheduled events, or a combination of both. A key element to Kaizen is involvement of all. Implementing Kaizen should not be kept solely between managers and supervisors, but rather frontline workers and workers from different departments will need to be involved and their voices heard.
Any Kaizen strategy or plan that is to be implemented should go through the Plan > Do > Check > Act (PDCA) Cycle. The PDCA Cycle is crucial to all conducted Kaizen activities and provides a framework to implementing Kaizen in the workplace. Whether it’s a Gemba walk or a Kaizen blitz, the PDCA Cycle can be an extremely helpful tool.
- Plan: Asses the current state of processes and look to identify improvements. If a problem exists, it should be examined in detail. A team of workers from different levels and departments can come together to develop possible solutions and ways these solutions can be executed. Information should be gathered in order to make informed decisions about how to proceed with the rest of the cycle.
- Do: Plans should be executed in this stage. Everyone who is involved in the work process or those who will be affected by the changes will need to understand the changes taking place. Being thorough with this implementation phase is key to getting accurate results.
- Check: Follow up on the changes and evaluate the effectiveness. Measurable data should be collected and compared to how things were operating previously.
- Act: If the changes implemented were effective they should continuously be used and will serve as a basis for a new standard. The standards created will then be used as the new point of reference for future PDCA cycles.
It is important to remember that PDCA is a cycle and should be worked through continuously. Once a process is improved or an issue solved, there is always room for even further improvement and it is crucial to Kaizen to explore these avenues.