Product Management

Kaizen strategy with 20 keys to Workplace Improvement by Iwao Kobayashi

Kaizen strategy with 20 keys to Workplace Improvement by Iwao Kobayashi

Iwao Kobayashi created 20 keys to Workplace Improvement in the 1990s. To this day, Agile organizations benefit from this knowledge.

To implement 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement explained with more than just Kaizen knowledge. You need a modern approach and rational processes and management strategy.

Let me also present my strategy for integrating Kaizen principles into Agile organizations. Reference: Kaizen: 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement explained with examples,

I describe my views and ideas for each key.

Table of Contents

Management style with commitment and participation. Work with all people to engage their minds and hearts, both in the work and in their hands.

Strategy: To integrate this idea, I would organize a meeting with the team managers to present the company’s position on control standards, work environment, and work habits. Organizational culture needs to be defined so that managers can lead their teams by applying the beliefs of the organization. Reference: 20 Agile Kaizen keys to workplace improvement,

Corporate policy needs to be formulated on how employees should progress and ensure that they receive the necessary recognition. It is important to introduce a management process in which managers disseminate their authority by presenting issues and issues for discussion and then working with employees to reach a final decision.

This type of style encourages employee empowerment because it actively attracts team members in the direction of the project or the business as a whole. He also encourages each team member to find their leadership and be internally rather than externally motivated.

Teams: Team managers will be responsible for adhering to the company’s management standards to create the desired work environment.

Probable problems: This style of management can lead to a process in which management relinquishes responsibility for the direction of the business. Reference: What is Kaizen methodology,

Efficiency. Balancing financial problems with other areas that indirectly affect costs.

Strategy: Efficiency is about achieving maximum productivity, where we use the least amount of investment to achieve the highest productivity. To increase production efficiency, waste must be reduced.

Teams: The main task of all managers is to optimize efficiency in all value-added activities and to minimize non-value-added activities.

Probable problems: To increase the effectiveness of the organization to eliminate activities that do not lead directly to value for customers, but create value indirectly.

Planning. The timing of operations is planned to create a flow of high quality and affordable products.

Strategy: To improve production planning, production capacity must be measured, monitored, and documented based on past performance, current needs, and future requirements. Reference: The Kaizen 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement Explained with examples,

Effective planning that meets future market requirements requires accurate measurement of current resources such as machinery, raw materials, and personnel. Production analyzes must determine the production steps, allow the creation of a “roadmap” of the process to identify it.

Key elements need to be identified before production can begin to ensure a smoother process: ordering materials, equipment, staff levels, and training, identifying problems (such as delays, equipment failures, and cancellations), and risk factors. Suppliers, the involvement of other manufacturers and distributors must be considered in the planning of the process. Accurate supply chain planning is crucial to ensure maximum efficiency in financial and material management.

Using a professional business production control system will allow for faster problem identification, potential impact assessment, and corrective action by changing inventories and schedules. This has a huge impact on the overall efficiency of the process, but any implementation of new technology must follow the consultation and training of staff, with continuous feedback to ensure that this is the best solution for the company.

Production control software significantly supports advanced planning, administration, inventory control, and information flow, achieving clear channels of communication between business and other parties involved from suppliers to manufacturers, distributors, and subcontractors.

Teams: Product Manager.

Probable Problems: When planning the process, to achieve optimal work capacity, the project manager may leave no room for unforeseen changes such as resource and staffing problems that could lead to rescheduling.

If planning is not made to be both stable and flexible for the inevitable changes that will occur (such as changing customer requirements and market trends), this will affect staff, materials, machinery, and will not reduce production capacity. This can lead to overproduction or stockpiling. Reference: Modern Kaizen principles and keys to workforce optimization,

Reduce the time to replace dies and machines for more flexible operation.

Strategy: Optimizing the process by introducing new technologies and machines.

Teams: Operations Manager

Probable problems: Cost for the company for equipment and staff training.

Technology and competitive engineering. Understanding and using methods such as Concurrent Engineering and Taguchi methods.

Strategy: The elements for creating simultaneous engineering solutions are evaluated. These include parallel tasks, functional development teams, interdisciplinary workgroups, use of quality engineering methods such as QFD, Taguchi, SPC, integrated CAE environment, and production design techniques.

Teams: Product Owners / Product Managers / IT

Probable problems: Simultaneous design comes with many challenges, such as implementing early project reviews, reliance on effective communication between engineers and teams, software compatibility, and opening up the design process.

This design process usually requires the exchange of computer models (computer-aided design, finite element analysis), which can be difficult in practice. If such problems are not addressed properly, concurrent design may not work effectively.

Clean and tidy. Everywhere and all the time

Strategy: Employees’ inner sense of maintaining a clean work environment cannot be relied upon alone. An investment should be made in a cleaning company or hiring workers to take responsibility for maintaining cleanliness.

Teams: Cleaning company/worker responsible for cleanliness

Probable problems: Care must be taken when choosing detergents. Avoid those that cause irritation and allergies.

Reduced inventory and lead time. Coping overproduction and reducing costs and deadlines.

Strategy: The most common cause of overstocking is: Overproduction of goods; Excessive investment; Inventory defects. The strategy I would focus on is not to store additional inventory. Make purchases only when necessary and in quantities that are required, because the value of inventories are very low.

Excessive processing means investing more in the product than is estimated by the customer. The aim is to make only the level of processing that corresponds to the usefulness and necessity.

Excessive processing can also be the result of unnecessary production steps, the use of older, outdated methods, or the lack of standard work plans. I would decide to adjust the level of processing to what the client wants and is willing to pay. Overproduction means producing more, faster than necessary, or “doing too much too early”. This leads to other types of waste and devalues ​​the need for continuous improvement.

The most common causes of overproduction are Poor market demand forecasts; Unpredictable production schedules; Lack of automation or poor automation; Long production setup times. The solution would be to move from a “just in case” way of thinking to a “just in time” production. Reference: Build an Agile Kaizen strategy and methodology with 20 keys to workplace improvement,

Teams: Product Manager

Probable problems: If the demand and the total cycle time of the production line are not taken into account when calculating how much should be produced.

Defects. Defect management, including defective parts and connections.

Strategy: Each defective item requires repair or replacement, creates additional documents, and wastes resources, materials, and time. It can often lead to a loss of customers. The defect management process includes design, detection, prevention, and elimination of defects, causal analysis of defects, and process improvement. The way to do this is to standardize all the work and perform regular anomaly detection.

Teams: The quality assurance team.

Probable problems: Inadequate quality control and limited project resources for troubleshooting.

Waste. Constantly identifying and eliminating things that either do not add value or even destroy it.

Strategy: Everything that does not directly or indirectly lead to a result that the customer would be willing to pay for (creating higher added value) should be removed. We must first understand what causes waste. Then we need to identify the largest waste that is draining our resources and determine its type.

Once we have decided whether we are solely responsible for them or whether it affects other business stakeholders, we need to involve all parties in the waste disposal process. We need to measure waste to know the price we are paying and to prioritize and make it difficult to eliminate it. There are four actions we can take when disposing of waste: We delete it / stop doing it; We automate/reduce it; We combine it with other activities; We delegate it / outsource it (if it is not part of the core value).

Teams: Every leader decides for his team.

Probable problems: If the waste reduction process does not take place after careful analysis and consideration, this may affect the quality of the products or the overall success of the company. Reference: Kaizen strategy for the Scrum Master role,

Teamwork. Focus on teamwork to involve everyone in enthusiastic improvements.

Strategy: To improve teamwork, the right conditions for development and growth must be created. This begins with the leader’s behavior – he must establish teamwork as the norm. Good communication is the basis of great teamwork, but to ensure this you need to set the outline of communication between the team – communication is as much about listening as it is about talking.

All participants in the team must consider the topics and ideas that are discussed and give their suggestions for solutions and contributions. Informal meetings, information sharing, and interaction between team members should be encouraged so that they can cooperate and feel comfortable communicating when they need to. People don’t have to wait for a weekly catch-up meeting to get together.

Teams: The environment is created by the manager, but the application is in the hands of the team and their desire to cooperate.

Probable problems: The success of teamwork depends closely on the desire for cooperation between people and their attitude.

Creating interconnected cells where flow and withdrawal are the main agenda.

Strategy: Hiring workers internally, not externally. When hiring internally, we will have employees who know the company structure, technology, and products. They will need less training to do their job, guided by our goals and visions in general.

When employees believe that there is a good opportunity for growth, they will want to work hard to stay in the company and grow. This will improve the loyalty and motivation of workers. Reference: Kaizen and the 20 keys to workplace improvement (of Iwao Kobayashi): Real Examples,

Teams: HR

Probable problems: Result of inflexible culture – Carrying out most of the hiring internally can lead to a stagnant culture. This is because employees may feel too comfortable with “the way things are done” and struggle to find inefficiencies and experiment with new ways of working.

A rigid culture will be more problematic in management positions, where employees may need to advocate for change and improvement instead of relying on established, ineffective practices. External rents are essential to shake up the culture and offer a new perspective on existing problems.

Support. Maintenance of machines by people who work with them, not by external specialists. This allows for constant adjustment and minimum downtime.

Strategy: Hiring specialists who are on-site at the company and can respond immediately.

Teams: The financial team must consider whether it can allow a position to be opened.

Probable problems: If hiring a specialist does not improve the troubleshooting process, then this is the company’s cost to pay a monthly salary instead of paying for the service when needed.

Continuous improvement of the workplace. Creating improvement as a way of life, continuous improvement of work, and a better workplace.

Strategy: Continuous improvement involves changing everyone’s way of thinking in a systematic way of finding better ways to do things. It is very important for this to improve the work environment and to show employees that they are important and that their thoughts, ideas, and questions are important.

Action needs to be taken to fix things that employees think need to be fixed in the workplace. Employees should be motivated to take a greater interest in the group’s results and achievements, rather than just the goals of individual members. Open and continuous dialogue that will help teams learn from the mistakes and victories of others. Ensuring the conditions for the prosperity of people in the workplace; Development plan; The process needs to be measured, discussed, and improved. Changes in your workplace should be made gradually, step by step.

Teams: The team manager monitors the conditions for improving the process and creates a plan on how to integrate. Reference: 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement (Manufacturing & Production) explained with examples and strategies,

Probable problems: Continuous improvement and problem solving require trained people who have the time and the right tools.

Zero monitoring. Build systems that avoid the need for constant human monitoring. Instead, create a team that works to maintain and improve your technology.

Strategy: The use of “time and attendance tracker” systems.

Teams: IT

Probable problems: Gaps in technical knowledge regarding the definition of performance indicators, data extraction, collection, preparation, and interpretation.

Preservation. Saving resources to avoid waste, both for the company and society and the environment.

Strategy: Placing bins for separate waste collection. Provide filtered water to reduce the need for each employee to purchase water and thus reduce the use of plastic bottles. Provide a reusable cup to each new employee on board so as not to reduce the use of disposable cups. Use of recyclable materials. Reduce paper waste.

Encourage staff not to print emails and prepare documents, offering the ability to send documents to personal devices if this facilitates electronic review. Switch to LED bulbs. Open office environment with houseplants to improve air quality. Turn off the lights in the office in the evening.

Teams: HR

Possible problems: Sludge extra for recycling if the building management does not offer it.

Partnerships between suppliers. Work with suppliers, making them part of an ever-improving chain instead of struggling with them.

Strategy: Work should be done to build long-term, trusted relationships with specialized suppliers. A partnership built on mutual trust and loyalty, making them feel part of the business. We inform them about our processes, such as releasing new products and promotions and hearing their suggestions.

Invest in supplier management software to track supply information. Timely payments to suppliers. Building a connection through regular communication for the planned needs of the company. Signing detailed agreements with suppliers. This will reduce the possibility of confusion and controversy.

Teams: Supply Manager

Probable problems: Relationships are important, but we shouldn’t stick to a provider just because we like him. The most efficient service for the business must be chosen. Risks must always be assessed. If we do not research the supplier with whom we sign a contract, the entire supply chain can be put at risk, which can affect the company’s ability to deliver goods to its customers.

Technology. Use and training of more complex technologies and adaptation of teams to them.

Strategy: Check the processes and how they can be optimized by introducing new technologies.

Teams: IT

Probable problems: Allocating funds and time for staff training, without a guarantee that they will cope with the new technology.

Disciplined, rhythmic work. Synchronized systems where all parts work together.

Strategy: Create a handbook for employees. Well-thought-out written policies give managers a map to follow. The manual should outline all the steps deemed necessary by the organization. Establish a clear code of conduct that defines acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace.

Develop a zero-tolerance policy for violating the code of conduct and indicate the consequences. Incentives employees to follow the rules. By understanding how following the rules will benefit them, they may be more likely to comply.

Teams: Senior Management

Probable problems: Micro-management and lack of freedom in the workplace.

Support and training for employees. Train employees to work at a higher level so that they can increase the value they add to the work.

Strategy: Introduction of an evaluation program for each employee. At the discretion of the manager to assess what training/course the employee needs to improve the quality of work and add value to the process.

Teams: Team leaders

Probable problems: For the company to be sure that the investment in employee training will have a return, a contract must be signed for some time during which the employee will not leave the company.

Work in cross-function. Employees work with colleagues from different departments and even change departments to gain experience in other areas.

Strategy: Introduce days in which employees get acquainted with the work of their colleagues from other departments with whom they have a close relationship.

Teams: All employees

Probable problems: Abuse of employees with the time given to them, in which they have the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of their colleagues and understand in depth the whole process. It must be made clear that this is not “free” time.

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