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Leading a Kaizen Blitz Event

Introduction

Process improvement methodologies come in many different flavors, from formal Six Sigma tools and strategies using a formal DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) approach, to lean process improvement tools, Pareto charts, process flow charts, fishbone diagrams, Value Stream Mapping, SWOT Analysis, and PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act).  While a Kaizen Blitz Event may use less analytical data that a formal Six Sigma project, the benefit of a focused, rapid improvement effort that pulls together key players to complete a structured and creative problem-solving exercise can’t be ignored.  Instead of a BPI (business process improvement) project that can take weeks or months, with Kaizen Blitz you can often get actionable solutions within a few days.

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our Shared Services Leadership research area featured a global company with over $5B in annual revenue with their EMEA Process Improvement Manager discussing how they used Kaizen Blitz at their regional Shared Services center located in Eastern Europe. 

The company leverages a Central Capabilities team as a service to the wider Shared Services organization.  The discussion included details about roles and responsibilities (including facilitators, team members, project owners, and key stakeholders), with a comprehensive walk-through of each step, from planning to executing the sessions, to assigning action items and completing post-session follow up.  Lessons learned and the biggest challenges were also discussed in detail, using actual results from multiple projects.

Additional details regarding the company’s experiences in this area are available on the Peeriosity member website, including the original presentation material, detailed poll results, and PeercastTM recording.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to better understand the extent to which Peeriosity member companies were using Kaizen Blitz Events to resolve significant issues within their processes.  The results indicate that 53% have implemented and use this approach, with 26% reporting that they use this approach regularly.  The remaining 47% indicated that they haven’t considered using this approach within their Shared Services operations.  Here are the details:

The second polling question asked the members who are using Kaizen Blitz Events to compare this method with other process improvement approaches they are using.  For 46% of respondents, Kaizen is considered to be more effective in solving problems with better results overall.  An additional 36% consider Kaizen to have results that are similar to other formal approaches that are used, and the remaining 18% consider Kaizen results to be similar to results obtained using other process improvement approaches that are also less formal.  

A few of the comments from members include:

  • Currently introducing the Kaizen methods in the Payroll organization.
  • We use regularly with several employees who are skilled in facilitating Kaizen Events, Value Stream Mapping, etc.
  • We use other methods of problem solving.
  • We have a set of tools that we use for targeted problem solving, with Blitz being one of these. We would assess which tool is fit for purpose based on the problem at hand.
  • Blitz is one of the tools used in the organization. The decision which tool will be leveraged depends on the process improvement request coming in.
  • We have used Kaizen Blitz Events successfully for many years.

Closing Summary

While a Kaizen Blitz Event may use less analytical data that a formal Six Sigma project, the benefit of a focused, rapid improvement effort can be significant.  Instead of an improvement project that can take weeks or months, with Kaizen Blitz you can often get actionable results within a few days.

What is the status in your Shared Services organization of using Kaizen Blitz Events to resolve significant issues with processes?  If you already use Kaizen, how does it compare to the other process improvement approaches that you use?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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