Lean Manufacturing has become very popular in India & some countries in East Africa. however implementing Lean in right way requires deep understanding of concept and philosophy behind Lean. Most of the consultants and organisation go by the Tool Implementation way, where they select few popular tools like 5S, Cells, Kanban etc and implement. Certainly there will be lot of benefits from implementation of these tools but not in long term. Because lean is not just set of tools, its way of running your business. Lets understand different approaches for Lean Manufacturing Implementation.

  • Kaizen workshops approach
  • Hot Projects approach
  • Plant wide Lean tools Implementation Approach
  • Value stream Model Line approach
  • Hoshin Kanri Approach

Lets us understand Kaizen Workshop approach in detail:Kaizen workshop

One common approach to implement Lean Kaizen is strategy of the one week kaizen event. The kaizen event structure (a.k.a. kaizen workshop, rapid improvement workshop, lean event, rapid improvement event). Kaizen workshops to be conducted are decided based on outcome of an Initial assessment, where current state is analysed, problems & opportunities are identified, Potential savings are calculated and a roadmap for Kaizen workshops is created.

Following are some more details on phases of Kaizen workshop: 

1. Prepare in advance. Two to four weeks of advanced preparation for the workshop to define the scope of the problem, decide on a team, collect data on the current situation, decide what lean tools to use, and make logistic arrangements for the event. In some cases there is advanced purchase of tools, materials, or equipment that cannot be done in the lead time of the one-week workshop.

2. Conduct workshop:

  • Monday: Give an overview of lean Kaizen and teach any special Kaizen tools needed for that week. Begin to collect data on the current process in the afternoon.
  • Tuesday: Complete the current state analysis, collect data, draw a process flow map, draw walk pattern on layout, develop Standardized Work Combination Tables, etc., and develop ideas for the improved state. Perhaps detail the future state by the end of the day (Plan).
  • Wednesday: First pass implementation (Do). It may be in one pilot, to try it first, or full implementation right away. Sometimes this starts by clearing the floor of the current process, painting the floor, then moving equipment back in the new layout.
  • Thursday: Evaluate process (Check), improve (Act), and keep going through Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) until you have a good approach.
  • Friday: Develop a presentation for management. Present to management. Celebrate. (Often the event ends after a lunch celebration.)

Follow-up to the workshop. There are always items that could not be done during the week, which are put together as a homework list sometimes called a “kaizen action plan.” An action plan for what, who, and when is prepared during the one-week workshop, and follow-up is needed to be sure the items get done.