Perform Periodic Audits
Periodic audits or self-assessments highlight the state of the systems and procedures that have undergone a Kaizen comparison of one audit with the previous one highlighting specific improvements or changes. Audits may be part of the organizational routine, or developed specifically to track Kaizen events. In either case, effectiveness depends on incorporating the required parameters, be it financial, time, person-hours or anything else in the audit scope.
If the Kaizen intervention is a corrective action plan that lists out specific points of improvement, the audit or review should incorporate the same parameters in a standard format, codified into quantifiable or measurable terms, and scrutinize the state of such parameters over time. A periodic audit report may read:
- Eliminate rework and duplication: 75 percent achieved.
- Reduce status update time: First cycle of training people on the new process and tools completed. Total progress 50 percent.
- Make current data readily available to all stakeholders: Fully implemented.
The format of such audits may take the shape of summary reports, spreadsheets or bulletins, made available to all stakeholders.
Such an approach not only allows tracking progress, but also results in a more transparent set-up and provides managers with easier access to relevant data.
A related method is examining periodic financial statements such the balance sheet, monthly cash flows statements and other records to determine improvement in finances or profitability. These approaches, however, do not make a direct association between the Kaizen event and changes in finances, leaving much to assumptions.