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Understanding Kaizen Metrics

Dec 18, 2007
When it comes to streamlining and maximizing value of production in a company, no other system would beat kaizen. Kaizen is a quality strategy or scheme adopted and implemented by companies that are adopting measures for lean manufacturing, which is known as a process of minimizing production costs to boost overall valuation of a company. Kaizen was devised and introduced by Japanese car making giant Toyota Production System and was shared to all major firms in operations worldwide. Through the years both minor and major businesses have been adopting and implementing Kaizen in efforts to improve profitability and generate costs.

Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means 'continuous improvement'. Principally, the idea behind the concept is that small and relatively negligible improvements and changes in business operations would lead to major improvements to bolster productivity, efficiency and profitability in the long run. Because Kaizen is a systematic process, it is logical that its implementation is ruled and governed by several practical and logical metrics. Hence, every company aiming to adopt Kaizen needs to familiarize first with several important and basic Kaizen metrics.

Basic Kaizen metrics is often led by overall duration of production or operational cycles. By this, a company evaluating itself using Kaizen metrics as a guide determines the overall efficiency of operations. By looking at the duration employees complete a product or process, the management can easily tell whether there is efficiency in production. Manufacturers and firms know that productivity is boosted when disturbance and wasteful practices and objects are eliminated from the workplace. Time factors also deal with the duration of defect correction and processing.

Also included in the Kaizen metrics is the flow of tasks. In manufacturing operations and business organizations, it is important that all employees are working as a team. Competition with each other is important in boosting productivity, but overall synergies and cooperation to come up to good results and increased and efficient production is also as important. All employees from the least in the ranks, to the middlemen, to managers and executives must work hand in hand to bolster production and smoothen flow of job tasks.

In terms of troubleshooting and resolving problems and disruptions during operations, it is important that companies implement the system of 'Five Whys', which is again identified with Kaizen. Companies adopting Kaizen must answer the following questions when dealing with operational problems:

- Why the equipment did ceased working?

- Why was an overload a problem?

- Why was the machine not lubricated sufficiently?

- Why was the equipment not working efficiently? And

- Why did the machine part worn out?

Part of implementing and observing the metrics of Kaizen is the follow up sessions. Follow ups serve as assessment and evaluation of whether improvements in operations are sustained. Part of the follow up activities is the routine performance measures to determine if employees and executives have all contributed productively to operations.

Kaizen metrics are as simple as that. On top of it all, it is important that companies note that lean manufacturing productivity measures come in cycles. Production would be continuously efficient if all personnel involved are disciplined to follow recommended efficient and productive processes.
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