Kaizen events, which are short-term continuous improvement events designed to improve an area or a process, are key to many manufacturing plants' lean efforts. At the recent IndustryWeek Best Plants annual conference, Will Franks, vice president of production at Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., shared some thoughts about how to increase the chance for successful outcomes of kaizen events. Outlined in this article are a few of his ideas.
Critical to the success of a kaizen event is the makeup of the team performing the event. Franks suggests that the team:
- Be cross-functional
- Include members from various levels of the organization
- Include hands-on associates
- Consist of both leaders and followers
- Typically include eight to 12 people
- Include support functions
Also imperative to a successful kaizen event is the event facilitator. Franks outlined five facilitator prerequisites. The facilitator should be:
- Knowledgeable on the overall business
- A lean tools expert
- A kaizen process expert
- A team dynamics expert
- A teacher
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