Kaizen Gloria Garcia University of Phoenix Systems Operations Management ISCOM/305 Lee E. Hoffman June 04, 2010 Kaizen According to Russell and Taylor, “Kaizen is a Japanese term for continuous improvement, not only in the workplace but also in one’s personal life, home life, and social life” (2009, p. 67). In the business environment kaizen means everyone is involved in the process of continuous improvement. For kaizen to exist in the workplace employees must continuously work together to make gradual, organized, and continuous improvements.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how Kaizen will benefit an organization. Kaizen involves everyone in the company to be active participants. The implementation of Kaizen will require a new way of thinking and a change of business culture. Kaizen can improve quality in the work environment, predominantly in manufacturing companies; nevertheless service providing organizations and other types of organizations practice it. Kaizen is the combination of various systems focused on quality control (“Improve manufacturing”, 2010). The primary reason to implement Kaizen is to eliminate waste.
Any activities, thing, or process that adds cost instead of value to a product or service is considered waste and therefore, should be eliminated. The organization is financially responsible for any waste that goes into a product or service. Hence, it behooves organizations to implement Kaizen to decrease waste and improve their financial status. Kaizen is a means also to regulate the production process in a manner that eliminates variation in the production process and by establishing a pull production instead of a push production, reducing inventory (“Improve manufacturing”, 2010).
Kaizen like its translation, continuous improvement, means that an organization must do this every day. An organization cannot expect continuous improvement by implementing Kaizen one-time. Kaizen will not only improve production, it will improve the working environment, and improve employees’ lives in the workplace while producing better products for consumers (“Improve manufacturing”, 2010). An organization will benefit from implementing Kaizen because it involves all employees making each responsible for implementing changes to reduce waste.
Kaizen focus is on detecting problems at their source and changing the standards to make sure the problem does not occur again (Franco & Green, 2000). Employees at all levels make suggestions and about 90% of their suggestions are implemented. For example, in 1999 7,000 Toyota employees proposed about 75,000 suggestions and 99% of those were implemented (Hudgik, 2010). Employees employed in a kaizen-based organization in general consider their work to be effortless and enjoyable. For that reason there is a lower turn-over because employees’ moral is high and have a sense of job satisfaction.
Kaizen will reduce waste not only in the company’s inventory but also lagging times, shipping, employee skills, surplus in production, superfluity quality, and in processes. Kaizen furthermore, improves the use of space, the quality of product, capital use, communication, the capacity of production, and retention of employees. Kaizen begins with small improvements that will eventually improve the larger problems by continually reducing waste and improving the processes (Hudgik, 2010).
Fleetwood RV’s plant 77 in Chico, California is an example of why companies should implement Kaizen. By 1997 the company’s production had leveled off and manufacturing had reached its plateau. Management discovered Kaizen and believed it was what they needed to grow the company. Once the company’s consultants agreed that Kaizen could be effective in their company, they moved forward with the implementation of the program. Senior management aligned its objectives to the newly developed policy and skills. A team was established and they brainstormed on areas that presented waste.
In July 1998, Plant 77 reduced “cycle times by 28%, work-in-progress by 73%, labor hours by 19%, and floor space waste by 59%” (Franco & Green, 2000, para. 10). In December 1999, plant 77 held its first public Kaizen event where 48 participants worked in teams and in different areas of the company to identify waste. Plant 77 presently holds two private Kaizen events per month making themselves around all the areas identifying waste. One of the first waste concerns was the use of eight-foot lengths of lumber. A seven-foot length lumber sufficed for most projects.
The supplier now cuts from a 14-foot length versus a 16-foot length saving Fleetwood money. Another concern was floor space. The company decreased the amount of lumber brought in decreasing the amount of floor space required for storage by 29%. The company used large heavy jigs to construct pine RV frames. After analyzing the situation, the company replaced the jigs with fiberglass skin jigs. The new jigs decreased the amount of space necessary for storage and decreased employee injuries because the new jigs were lighter and easier to work with (Franco & Green, 2000).
Fleetwood is only one of many companies with success stories from implanting. Sony increased production from 13 operators producing 369 products per man-hour to three operators producing 2,715 per man-hour in just over one year. ACP Manufacturing LLC has improved safety by 300%, productivity 50% reduction by man-hours per ton. Conclusion Kaizen is able to get everyone in the company to buy into the program. Because everyone is involved with the process makes the program a success. Kaizen is continuous improvement, a constant process.
Employees’ suggestions are encouraged and valued. Kaizen has five elements teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, quality circles, and suggestions for improvement. “The kaizen process makes use of a range of techniques, including small-group problem-solving, suggestions schemes, statistical techniques, brainstorming, and work study” (“Ultimate Resource”, 2006, para. 1). Kaizen looks at waste in companies and reduces it increasing the company’s financial status. References Franco, V. R. , & Green, R. (2000).
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