Kaizen Center of Excellence – How to get the most from it
4 minutes, 18 seconds read
Why we created this Center of Excellence.
Lean Manufacturing is amazing.
What started as the Toyota Production System has had an enormous impact on the world. Few management practices (if any) have generated as much value for consumers, companies, and employees.
Lean has enabled consumers to get the product they want, when and where they want it, in the desired specifications. What a change since Ford enabled us to have a car in “any color you want, as long as it’s black.”
Lean has enabled the companies that deliver this experience to become extremely valuable, just as Toyota Motor Corporation has more market value than all the US automakers put together.
Best of all, Lean organizations do this by fully engaging and developing the people they employ. They enable their frontline employees to use their full creative potential to solve problems and drive continuous improvement, effectively building an army of innovators.
Many struggle with their Lean Program.
So it is a shame that, despite over 50 years of Lean research and practice, a vast majority of organizations fail to adopt Lean practices fully.
To make matters worse, the current technological developments have fueled the old 1980’s fantasy of a fully automated “lights-out” factory. This is a tempting distraction from the most important (or only) pillar of any organization: its people.
While Lean is a proven value-creation strategy, most materials that explain its principles are addressed exclusively to the specialists: Lean Six Sigma “Triple-Dan” Master Black Belts, and such. Most Lean books, research, and training “preach to the choir.” There’s nothing that is appealing or understandable by the other 99% of people who could benefit from putting Lean into practice.
Our approach to the Kaizen Center of Excellence.
This is the problem we attempt to solve. We developed the Rever Kaizen Center of Excellence to help you as a Lean Leader to better understand and explain Lean practices in your company through insights that are simple, pragmatic and immediately actionable. Oh, and fun! To the extent that the subject allows, of course. Our solemn promise is never to bore you to death.
We also try to avoid theoretical BS and unnecessary philosophical over-complications: we won’t discuss whether you should use a MIFA over a VSM, or whether there are 7 or 8 types of waste (there are many more, but it doesn’t really matter), or what are the differences between TPS, Lean, Six Sigma, TOC, TQM, Operational Excellence, and which one is superior.
We value Continuous Improvement at the frontline over complex DMAIC projects in a slide deck. Our “brand” of Lean is one of simple excellence, centered on Kaizen performed by everyone, everywhere and every day.
This material stems from our experience working in Toyota and participating in the Lean transformations of companies like Airbus, Eurocopter, Philip Morris International, Hershey’s, Audi, Mars, Grupo Bimbo, and many others. About our team here at Rever.
Let’s get started. The frontline is waiting!
What is the scope of the Kaizen Center of Excellence
We are taking a bit of a different approach in how we will refer to Kaizen, Lean, and Continuous Improvement. In order to simplify the organization, content, and applicability of the articles, we will be using the three terms somewhat interchangeably when applicable. When an article is exclusively focused on concepts associated with the unique aspect of one of the three practices, we will only refer to that practice. However, when the concepts of an article are applicable across all three practices, we will use one term as a representative for all three.
How the Kaizen Center of Excellence is Organized
The Center of Excellence is organized into a few main sections to help readers orient themselves and find the material most important to them. The articles are also organized by specific learning objectives and classified into various levels of expertise.
Center of Excellence Sections
Kaizen Center of Excellence
- Overview articles regarding Kaizen. Jumping off point to all other sections.
- Examination and explanation of the vocabulary terms, tools, roles, and processes involved in Kaizen.
Creating Value with Kaizen
- A look into how Kaizen is being used in different industries and by different organizations to create value for organizations.
Implementing and Sustaining Value with Kaizen
- Information on how to translate the concepts into action and living programs.
Levels of Expertise
Beginner Kaizen Program
- Targeting a broad audience of those just starting their journey, or those who are involved on the perimeter of the Kaizen program.
Intermediate Kaizen Program
- Targeting those who are in a leadership role, have a first version program in place, and are looking to take their program to the next level.
Advanced Kaizen Program
- Targeting those that have completed formal Kaizen training programs in the past and are leading a mature Kaizen program.
Next chapter: PDCA Cycle: A Critical Tool for Driving Any Kaizen Process