“Kaizen” is an event-based approach to making step-function shifts in the production system or any flow of work. “Kaizen” is two Japanese words, kai and zen, that mean “take apart and rebuild.” It is the idea of continuous improvement; never being satisfied with the status quo. “The purpose of a production system is to answer the following questions:
What is required?
When is it required?
Who requires it?
How is it to get done?
Where will it take place?
Why is it needed?
Current production systems answer these questions using a traditional Materials Requirement Planning, “push”, approach. This type of batch manufacturing results in excessive inventory, after the fact quality deficiency discovery, long lead-times, large lot sizes and sluggish production habits. With the sudden changes in marketplace requirements this type of production system is no longer competitive.
A fast-paced, high energy approach to change, kaizen, can be selected to help counter the bureaucratic effects of a culture that has grown-up around current production systems. In just a matter of days an entire manufacturing area is literally uprooted and repositioned based on a different production system concept; the fundamental elements being takt-time, “pull” production and flow. This type of event allows change to happen almost instantaneously by taking the creative process out of the conference room and putting it squarely on the shop floor.
Events are done under the guidance and direction of a “sensei.”