Kaizen for Toyota – how to improve improvement process

Some firms don’t want their employees to submit ideas to rationalize production process. Others on a contrary – encourage them to be part of that kind of activity. What is the difference between these two? The second one might use Kaizen – a work improving methodology from Japan.

Japanese perfection

It may sound exotic, but the rules are very simple – everybody who works in the company tries to improve its work. Not only management but also workers do know very well production process and try to make it better. According to Kaizen every employee works consciously and looks for ways to improve production.

Traditional Kaizen…

This is how the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland factory in Wałbrzych operates. Employees provide remarks and repair suggestions to their superiors who evaluate their validity and the possibility of introducing them. At last the accepted amendments are implemented.

Is that method effective? Of course, but the whole process based on Microsoft Excel sheets in the past. What does it mean? Many files and long acceptance procedure. An implementation of reported amendment was effective but takes a lot of time and get it working.

Kaizen would be more friendly and efficient if everybody in a company will get access to this process easier. Every employee could check who and when someone reported an improvement, how the company values it and if the proposed solution works properly. That’s exactly Vialutions’ idea of electronic Kaizen system.

…and modern Kaizen

Vialutions put Kaizen process to Toyota’s intranet. Thanks to that reported problems and solutions go directly to superiors electronically and automatically; employees can monitor every phase of their notifications.

Sometimes a photo better describes a problem than words. That’s why in electronic Kaizen solution users can add a photo before and after improvement. One look and you understand what has changed.

Here are some numbers to prove success of Kaizen digitization: within one and a half year the average processing time was reduced from six to one week only! Employees reported ideas 18% more often.

Every company has its own mode of operation. Having proven solutions is good but sometimes you can add new tools to work more efficiently, just like Toyota did: “Excel Kaizen” solution was working, now “Vialutions’ Kaizen” solution is much friendlier, employees use it more often.  The benefits are obvious.

Are there any processes in your company that could be modernized?