Small Change vs. Large Change

Small change vs. Large change is a debate I hear quite often within the Lean community.

The meaning of kaizen is to continuously make change for the better.  Implied is to make small changes everyday and over time it will add up.  Paul Akers at FastCap often talks about the 2 second kaizen.

Every improvement counts.  This is small change.

The flip side of the discussion is large change.  Transform the work into something new.  Redesign the process, the layout, the flow.  Act in a completely different way.

My opinion…they are both right and you should do both.  The key is understanding what your organization needs and when.

If it is a traditional batch and queue organization (manufacturing or service), then as you start your lean transformation I would recommend large change.  Create a pull system where the parts or service flow uninterrupted.  Dramatically change the way you operate.

Once the large change is done, the improvement never stops.  This is when you start looking for the 2 second improvements in the process.  Everyday the process should be better.  Keep making small changes.

This isn’t the only way to go about a lean transformation.  It is just one way.  If you want to be successful with your lean transformation take the time to really consider your strategy for going about the transformation.

All in all, some improvement is ALWAYS better than no improvement…small or large.

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Posted on February 14, 2013, in Improvement and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I look at changes like a restaurant cleans up.
    – If you look at any professional cook, these people clean while they are cooking.( your 2 second changes)
    – after they have finished a rush moment (which all restaurants have) they spend their first “free” time to clean some extra
    – at the end of the day, they clean the stove, hood and other parts of the kitchen that were in action all the time. (probably up to an hour of work)
    – at their closing day, they clean the whole kitchen during a few hours
    – when they have their year holiday. They might even do some reworking on the kitchen; adding extra material etc.

    Change should happen in much the same way.
    >>> aka have loops of change that are planned.
    (only you don’t plan months in advance what to change, just as you use your extra clean time to clean what you see is dirty)

  1. Pingback: Small Changes, Big Achievement! | ROUTE TO KAIZEN : A QUEST FOR PERFECTION

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