Kaizen Events Are Work Arounds
For several years, I have have seen kaizen events as a tool. It is a tool to help get people together to drive improvement or to help re-energize the employee engagement. Some may mislead you and say that it is lean to do kaizen events. It isn’t lean, but just another tool of lean. Like any tool, you need to know when is the appropriate time to use it. This was reinforced during the week.
The ‘a-ha’ moment I had is when Jamie described kaizen events as a work around for an organization that does not normally work cross functionally naturally.
In a company that is displaying lean behaviors, people in the organization would work together cross functionally naturally, without being “forced” through a kaizen event. Another way to put it is the internal customer and supplier relationship has a strong bond so both are naturally considered and involved in the improvement process.
If this is the case, then in an organization that working across functional boundaries well, are kaizen events even needed? Are companies that brag on the number of kaizen events, just really good at work arounds? Is the ideal state to have no kaizen events (because of good cross functional work, not just stop doing them)?
If you look at it in this way, then it really pushes how we view the way work should be done.
Other blog posts about my learnings from the Lean Experience Class: