Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Kaizen Event for the Holidays

A Kaizen Event for the Holidays



Between Christmas and New Year's, we snuck in a two-day Kaizen event.  Pretty cool, in that our team got into it.  Results were impressive.  By simply removing non-value added activities, we took a process that had an 11-minute cycle time with three people and modified it to an 8 minute cycle time with only two people.  In addition, we eliminated one external activity that fed this process that required one person for six minutes. 


Simply watching, timing, talking, trying, testing and trying again, we saw this in two days.  These things are not hard to do.  The discipline to do it is. 


This kaizen event also points out another important fact:  our marketing team is central to achieving kaizen success.  Why?  By keeping a growing backlog of work for our team.  Thus, our team members were not the slightest bit concerned about cutting one person out of a process.  That team member had more than enough to do on a related process.  If the business isn't growing, kaizen won't work. 


This is a point seldom discussed and crucial.  A lean transformation is a system-wide effort.  Not just in operations. 


Go hug a marketing person today.  It's good for improvement. 


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