I saw a note on LinkedIn the other day that promoted implementation of a Kaizen structured approach to problem solving.

Harnessing the power of a group to tackle problems is a wonderful way to drive improvement within an organisation.

I wondered about another article that also questioned the value of running Kaizen problem solving groups. I suspect that these groups solved lots of non-important problems very well.

A source of problems: The Scheduler

A source of company problems is the company Scheduler. The schedule keeps getting derailed by problems e.g. data issues (inaccurate, missing, out-of-date), lack of feedback, production sequence errors (production runs tasks out of sequence), etc.

The Scheduler keeps adjusting the schedule to compensate for known errors and unknown, unknowns.

This is my suggestion on how to focus the Kaizen team to solve problems that have a meaningful impact of the success of operations: If the Scheduler kept a list of all the type of errors encountered which affected the accuracy or execution of the schedule. It will be easy to pareto the list and then focus Kaizen teams on solving problems that affect the smooth flow of production or cause tasks to be done out-of-sequence.

The outcomes will be

  • Fewer errors in the underlying data and systems that the Scheduler deals with.
  • A greater understanding of the end-to-end flow of data by Kaizen team members.
  • Improved customer service.

It would be nice to think that this well of Kaizen inputs would dry up. I suspect that it will flow forever.