Kaizen Software: Tech Options to Drive Your Improvements

3 minutes, 31 seconds read

Level: Beginner

What you will learn:

  • What Kaizen software is
  • How Kaizen software boosts collaboration and engagement
  • Solutions to simplify analysis and reporting
  • Technology that improves value stream mapping
  • Benefits of tracking program action and success

Driving continuous improvement through Kaizen depends on two things: a thorough understanding of your process and connection to the people driving these processes. Today’s software tools can harness the power of both to drive higher levels of improvement throughout an organization.

What is Kaizen software?

Continuous improvement software tends to leverage the best aspects of other improvement tools, combined within a single solution. Overall, these solutions should make it easy to generate, track and analyze suggested improvements over time.

For example, through cloud-based platforms companies can easily capture employees’ ideas and feedback. Some options feature built-in guides that walk people through continuous improvement processes (such as the PDCA cycle), empowering them to take action.

Below, we’ll discuss the benefits that Kaizen software should provide.

Boost collaboration and engagement

One of the chief drivers of any Kaizen initiative is input from individuals driving processes. For that reason, software that breaks down silos and boosts collaboration can be a powerful asset. Many organizations turn to enterprise continuous improvement software solutions in order to garner involvement across business units.

Other software solutions can be used to encourage employee suggestions. When frontline employees can quickly make a suggestion using a tool everyone has on hand – their smartphone – then management gains the benefit of a broader pool of improvements to test. The ease of participation is one step toward boosting employee engagement.

Simplify data analysis and reporting

Continuous improvement software can greatly simplify analysis and reporting. Rather than spending time creating complex spreadsheets or gathering key performance indicators from different departments, team leaders can generate reports instantly. This enables leaders to see how the company is progressing toward its continuous improvement goals and how productivity, profitability, or quality are being impacted.

Options can range from simple PDCA cycle templates to more complex deployment roadmaps that track multi-year initiatives based on your metrics.

Improve value stream mapping

Value stream mapping is a Lean tool to document, analyze and improve the flow of materials or information in your production process. In the past you might have used paper and pencil to create a chart that outlines this flow.

These high-level maps tend to be fairly broad, as they have to track information from raw material delivery to finished good production, and include information throughout on where improvement is needed. As a result, value stream mapping software can be valuable in helping Kaizen participants get more detailed into company flows.

Track action

Improvement is a process, not an instant change. But to gauge progress of improvement, it’s important to put measurable metrics in place. Digital tools can help track performance against those metrics. This gives program participants instant insight into where they are on their Kaizen journey.

For example, many teams find it useful to track steps of the process on a digital improvement board. The advantage of going to a digital solution include that it is immediately adjustable and available at any time for review.

Digital solutions also can encourage continuous action. Because improvement is not instant, it may not always be front of mind for employees. Kaizen software that offers alerts or action reminders can help maintain program momentum.

Track success

It’s also important to let employees know when action leads to success. Digital tools such as leaderboards can broadcast the impact of initiatives across an entire organization. This celebration can be critical in driving engagement. After all, many people are driven by friendly competition. The “gamification” of a Kaizen system can encourage others to “play” with new suggestions. By tracking who is participating and whose suggestions have achieved real improvement, organizations may garner greater employee support for Kaizen.

Next Steps

For More Information

What Is Kaizen

Do My Process Improvements Matter?

6 Continuous Improvement Tools and Techniques

Value Stream Mapping from ISixSigma

 


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