The idea behind a Kaizen blitz is simple: if you can break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts, it becomes easier to identify potential solutions and take action in addressing them. As a result, companies are able to generate more ideas and develop innovative solutions faster than they might otherwise be able to do on their own. This sounds great in theory, but what does it look like in practice? In this blog post, we will take a look at some kaizen blitz examples where they can help your business become more effective.
Office Example: Implementing Kaizen blitzes in your office to improve productivity
Kaizen blitzes are a powerful tool for businesses that want to improve their performance and increase productivity. For example, let’s say certain quotas are not being met for a specific service. During the Kaizen Blitz, it is determined that proposals are sent to one executive for approval. Unfortunately, this executive has several other important tasks to complete during the workday. This creates a bottleneck and slows down efficiency.
The solution? Train and empower others to handle approvals within each department. Or, after sitting down and discussing the problem, you decide it’s best to have one employee who should be tasked with reviewing all approvals (with a backup team member in place in case that employee is unavailable or out of town). By breaking down the process into simpler steps, a team can come up with a more streamlined approach to obtaining approvals, which leads to goals being consistently met.
Manufacturing Example: Conducting a Kaizen Blitz at a manufacturing plant to increase efficiency
Often, manufacturing plants have many processes that need to be optimized. Even a small inefficiency can set off a chain reaction of delays. During a Kaizen Blitz, everyone has the opportunity to share ideas about areas that can be improved.
Sometimes, it’s the seemingly benign step that leads to inefficiencies. For example, where tools or supplies are located might require walking back and forth across the shop floor many times. A team might find that simple changes in the shop floor layout reduces the amount of distance traveled to get needed items. Or, they might reorganize materials so that the most commonly used supplies are the easiest to reach without moving other materials out of they way. When team members are encouraged to speak up about what they notice from day to day, it’s much easier to identify the biggest time wasting processes and then focus on the small changes to improve them.
Healthcare Example: Carrying out Kaizen Blitzes in your hospital ward to improve patient care
A kaizen blitz can be highly effective for improving patient care in hospitals. In a scenario where wait times can mean the difference between life and death, it’s imperative for hospitals of all sizes to be as efficient as possible.
For example, a hospital might have a long wait time due to a backlog of paperwork and administrative tasks. During the kaizen blitz, team members can come up with ideas to streamline the process and reduce wait times, leading to improved patient care.
After implementing a new process to reduce wait times, you might realize that although the process is logically sound, there’s simply not enough staff available in that particular department. With the Kaizen philosophy already in place, it becomes easier to figure out the best way to handle a worker shortage and make a logical case to reallocate or acquire more resources.
Food Service Example: Conducting a Kaizen Blitz at your restaurant to improve food quality and speed of service
A kaizen blitz can be extremely useful for restaurants that want to improve their service speed and food quality. For example, a restaurant might be experiencing slow service times and customer complaints about the quality of their food.
During the blitz, team members can come together to brainstorm solutions that could help both of these issues. They might decide to adjust staffing levels, train employees to be more efficient, or come up with creative solutions like menu engineering.
Regarding the quality of food, a team member might refer a supplier/vendor from a previous employer that offers higher quality and faster delivery times without a dramatic increase in price. This helps restaurants identify and address issues quickly, so they can provide customers with a better experience.
Education Example: Using Kaizen Blitzes in your classroom to help students learn more effectively
A Kaizen blitz can be a great way for a school to learn more effectively. Let’s say that a school is having difficulty teaching certain concepts in the classroom and as a result, students are struggling to keep up. During the kaizen blitz, teachers and administrators come together to discuss potential solutions.
The team can brainstorm ideas like cost-effective ways to acquire additional resources, uncovering new ways that students can help one another, customizing learning plans in a time-efficient way, adding low-cost digital or gamified education tools, or introducing different teaching methods that explain traditional concepts in novel ways. Ultimately the goal is to come up with an approach that helps students understand the material better.
Scenarios where a Kaizen Blitz may not be effective
A kaizen blitz may not be effective in all scenarios. For example, if the goal is to improve customer service in a scenario where the service is considered exceptional, a kaizen blitz might cause disruption and confusion for employees since they are already performing their tasks efficiently and effectively. Instead, focus on areas where everyone agrees that changes need to be made.
In conclusion, Kaizen blitzes have the potential to help a wide variety of businesses become more effective and improve their overall operations. Remember that kaizen is an ongoing process and each step of the way should be focused on improving efficiency and productivity. With the right attitude and team effort, kaizen can help businesses make real change.
At Chalmers Street Consulting, our goal is to help your company identify, implement, and improve its productivity. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact us today for an initial consultation.