Importance of Kaizen Event Follow Up
An often glossed over part of a kaizen/improvement event is the follow up after the event. Why is this?
Part of the reason is the plethora of information available on how to run a kaizen/improvement event. I have even written blogs (here and here) about executing an event. It is easy for people to focus on, because it’s a big deal to get so many people from cross functional areas in one room for a long period of time. Facilitators want to make sure it is a valuable use of the people’s time and not wasted sitting around. This is a reasonable expectation.
However, coming out of a kaizen/improvement event there usually are a few action items to still be completed. If these are not completed, the full value of the event won’t be reached. The event would have wasted some of the participant’s time. This is a hidden waste. The participants are busy during and after the event with work they are completing at the time. If the full value of the event isn’t reached, it isn’t seen by everyone. It is pretty obvious if people are sitting idle in a conference room. It is frustrating to the participants as well.
The 30, 60, 90 day follow up is an important tool to help ensure none of the time participants’ time is wasted.
The 30, 60, 90 day follow up is used to drive accountability to complete the action items and verify the results are moving in the desired direction. The follow up is valuable time to reflect on what is working so far and what is not. The team can make adjustments if necessary and drive to the results that are desired.
The event is draining and hard work, but the real work begins once the team leaves the kaizen/improvement event and embarks on implementing their new process.
The hype is around the the event itself, but don’t forget the follow up or you may be wasting people’s time.