How does Kaizen reduce waste?

The Kaizen methodology is based on continuous improvement in the facility. Using Kaizen means constantly looking for incremental improvements that will help to improve processes. The end result is often times reducing or eliminating waste. The following are just a few examples that stem from the 8 Wastes of Lean.

  • Defects in the end product: Improving processes with Kaizen will also help to improve the quality of the product being made. When you are able to improve your products, reduce the prices, and deliver them faster, customers will be much more satisfied. Standardized work, a key principle of Kaizen, also helps to ensure manufacturing is consistently free of defects.
  • Non-essential movement: As far as wastes go, motion refers to any unnecessary movement of equipment, people, or machinery. This may include walking, lifting, reaching, bending, stretching that all add up to time or extra energy wasted. When you involve frontline workers and use Quality Circles, those individuals who work on the production line every day should be able to identify areas in their work that if improved, would cut down on non-essential movement.
  • Non-utilized talent: While not acknowledged by the Toyota Production System, non-utilized talent, or the waste of human talent, has been an addition to the lists of wastes, changing the 7 Wastes of Lean to the 8 Wastes of Lean. This waste results from management not utilizing expertise, experience, and skill. It can ultimately develop into inefficient and stale manufacturing processes. Instead, workplaces that practice Kaizen emphasize the importance on teamwork and involvement from all departments.

Overall, eliminating any type of waste is going to improve overall productivity in the workplace. Kaizen may not produce dramatic instant results, it does facilitate an environment that encourages and allows continuous improvement. Including frontline workers, involving managers, and identifying small improvements to reduce waste can be extremely beneficial to an organization.

 

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Additional Resources

Kaizen Guide
 
Lean Manufacturing Powerpoint
 
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