So what is jishuken? As stated on Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc.'s Web site, jishuken is a "management-driven kaizen activity where management members identify areas in need of continuous improvement and spread information through the organization to stimulate kaizen activity."
In other words, while kaizen typically involves all employees on the shop floor, jishuken requires managers to conduct hands-on kaizen activity on the factory floor. This helps managers take ownership of kaizen and create a culture of observing problem areas in their natural state, according to Panta Rei, a lean blog by Gemba Research LLC. At Toyota Motor, jishuken is applied to study line balance, identify machine issues, inefficiencies and other causes of waste, says Mike Daprile, vice president of manufacturing for Toyota Motor.
According to Daprile, who spoke at the Reliability World 2007 conference in Louisville, Ky., here's how Toyota Motor does jishuken:
- Select an area that needs improvement.
- Develop a team consisting of a lead person and personnel from various departments, including engineering, quality and production.
- Assign each team member a plant function to monitor.
- Team members ask questions for each task. For instance, in the case of changeovers, the team member might want to ask: How many changeovers are occurring, how many should occur in a normal day, and was maintenance needed to complete the changeover?
- The team leader tracks any issues on a jishuken worksheet that identifies what the problem is, what countermeasures should be taken, who is responsible for making the changes, and the date.
- The team leader meets with the operators to discuss their findings and the changes implemented.
- Post the results in the general area, track the status of the changes, and continue to follow up with the countermeasures through the supervisor and the checklist.