At almost every Kaizen training course we deliver, we get asked the same question, how do we get started?
Our answer is always the same. It’s about creating a culture where everyone understands that making regular small improvements is part of their role irrespective of which department, function or discipline they work in. Kaizen is therefore more of a philosophy, a mind-set, a way of thinking. If organisations can harness the ideas of their whole workforce they really can do some very impressive things. After all who is better placed to suggest improvements to business processes, work environments etc than the very people working in them 8 hours a day.
So what counts as an improvement?
Anything that improves product quality, safety, reliability, creates a better customer experience, improves work methods, work practises or the work environment. Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, hopefully you get the idea.
Whilst some improvements will definitely need detailed discussions and planning to implement via processes such as PDCA (Deming Cycle) or a Kaizen Blitz. However there are others which are so patently obvious that we could do them almost immediately if we make the time. In our Kaizen Training course we use the example of putting in a gangway so the door where parcels are delivered is always kept clear.
These type of improvements we call ‘Just Do Its’.
A ‘just do it’ improvement is something that can be made almost immediately as it has no health and safety or cost implications but the change itself improves something for the team, product or service delivery.
‘Just do its’ tend to be very small improvements in their own right but when you add them up across the various departments, office or company they add up to a sizeable set of gains. ‘Just do its’ also vitally provide evidence to all staff that they can influence and change their working environment for the better.
So next time you get asked the question about how to start building a kaizen culture, a suitable answer to the question might be, one ‘just do it’ at a time.