Monday, June 1, 2009

Lean thought for the day

“How do we implement the kaizen ideas which are accepted?” If the ideas are kept local and small, the individual or team who generates the kaizen idea will be able to implement the idea most of the time. When it is an issue of skill or ability to make the changes either physically or in terms of macros, computer code or revision of procedures and standards, the long-term solution is to cross-train and enhance skills of people to enable them to implement suggestions. By expanding the skills of workers to build their own tools, equipment, workstations, visual controls and mistake proofing devices and so forth we can reduce the bottleneck in implementing kaizen ideas caused by reliance on a limited number of skilled engineers, technicians or maintenance people.

The primary motivator for kaizen idea generation should be the opportunity for individuals to learn and grow. For this reason many companies in will make the suggestion program a part of the human resource devleopment organization rather than operations or engineering. The aim is not to teach people technical skills but to teach people how to analyze processes, define value and waste and to solve problems. These are highly valuable, portable skills for a worker at any level in the organization. Beyond problem solving, learning through the kaizen idea generation process can involve improved writing skills, presentation skills, team leadership skills and many other fundamentals of management. engineers, technicians or maintenance people.

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