Lean, Kaizen, and Continuous Improvement

What is management’s role in continuous improvement?  Very often, management folks believe that their role is to tell their employees what to do, solve their problems, and identify better ways to carry out their work.   When you mention continuous improvement to them, they talk about projects lead by “experts.”  But, can this actually be called continuous improvement?  While projects and rapid improvement events work very well for making breakthrough improvements, they are not really “continuous improvement.”   They are step improvements at points in time.   Continuous improvement requires day-to-day recognition of problems and identification of solutions, a continuous quest toward providing defect free products, services, and information to the customer when they are needed.  The people who do the work are allowed to identify problems and even propose and implement solutions.  Management creates the environment for this to happen and provides the support and resources.  Engineers provide expertise in problem solving and faciltiate the development and application of countermeasures to problems.

Following is a short cartoon about continuous improvement; feel free to share it with your colleagues.

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Value Stream Mapping

Our April 2012 newsletter has just been released using our new, more streamlined format.  The focal point of this month’s newsletter is value stream mapping. To view it, please visit: http://www.emsstrategies.com/newsletter040112.htm. Following is a brief video that gives an overview of value stream mapping, including an explanation of the definition of a value stream, current state mapping, and future state mapping.

Lean for the Office: Workcells, Smaller Batches, and One Piece Flow

EMS Consulting Group has recently migrated our Google knol articles to WordPress.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with us, we offer lean consulting, training, and online training services plus other resources including a monthly continuous improvement newsletter.  We have recently posted a new video to YouTube entitled “Lean Office: Workcells and Flow.”  While it has been gaining in popularity, the concept of applying lean to the office environment is still largely underutilized or misunderstood.   This brief animation is about application of the concepts of one piece flow and cells to office environments.

Lean Office: Workcells and Flow

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