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Use This Free Template to Initiate Kaizen in a Structured and Systematic Way

written by: N Nayab • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 8/30/2011

Kaizen or “continuous improvement” is a management philosophy that aims at improving processes by eliminating waste and making work simple, and undertaking such an effort on a sustained basis. Download a sample Kaizen form that allows for initiating Kaizen events in a structured format.

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    The Form

    Kaizen Approval Form Documenting Kaizen events is important to track progress and measure results. First, Download a free Kaizen approval form from Bright Hub's Media Gallery. The form lists out the specific Kaizen intervention and provides a blueprint and structure for tasks. it finds primary use to seek approvals from the business owners or CEO for various Kaizen events. Although this form does not include provisions for tracking, it also finds good use as a base to monitor and evaluate specific tasks.

    To ensure clarity and retain focus, make sure to use a separate form for each individual Kaizen intervention.

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    Contents

    The sample Kaizen form is simple and straightforward. In the first section, fill in the following:

    1. Objectives: List out why the Kaizen event is required. Detail the problem and the interventions that would resolve the issue, or list how the proposed intervention would make things better.
    2. Event Description: Discuss the proposed interventions in detail, such as the actual interventions proposed with specific tasks, time, resources that require application, and other relevant details.
    3. Target Process / Product: List the specific work process or product that the intervention seeks to improve.
    4. Date: List the date of Kaizen initiation.
    5. Team: List the person or team making the initiation.
    6. Estimated Impact: The supervisor or the manager of the team initiating the Kaizen event may fill in the proposed impact of the intervention. This is similar to the objectives, but from a different perspective, and focusing on the result rather than the methods. If the supervisor or manager initiates Kaizen and there is no hierarchy in between the Kaizen initiator and the approval team, focus on the impact of the event.
    7. Additions / Recommendations: The supervisor or the manager may make suggestions for possible changes, based on their expertise. Suggestions could include some changing of the objectives to ensure a wider impact, tweaking some tasks, etc.

    The second section lists out a chart, requiring completion of Existing -> Desired State, and related variables. The columns for existing state and desired state should list out specific task-outcomes or events that change when subject to Kaizen intervention. Specify the exact nature of task or process to change, the resources required to effect the change, and the time required with specific dates if relevant. This is explaining the concept in a detailed and systematic way. Make sure to list out events in their sequential order

    The approval team, which is usually the business owner, the CEO or someone from the top management, may make comments against such specific descriptions, either rejecting specific tasks, seeking to modify them, seeking clarifications, and so on.

    The Kaizen appraisal team finally makes their decision: approval or rejection, with comments to substantiate their decision. At times, the rejection may not be because of the proposal per se, but may be owing to some strategic considerations. In such cases, or if the management feels the proposal will not work out, or will not be viable, a recommendation comes to trash the proposal. At times, the rejection may be actually a suggestion to consider the idea in a different way, based on the comments mentioned in the form, and to resubmit for approval. Approval may be wholesale or conditional, and immediate or deferred. The approval team may also authorize or suggest adding-on some related works, such as setting up a communication system to facilitate smooth implementation, Kaizen tracking and so on.

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    How to Use

    Use Kaizen approval forms to facilitate and streamline the Kaizen approval process, rather than as the means to approve or reject Kaizen initiations.

    The business owners or the approval team would do well to approve or reject, whatever the case may be after a meeting among the business owners, project initiator and various stakeholders. The project initiator substantiates their assertions, all stakeholders share their critical inputs and the business owners discuss various permutations, combinations and possibilities in the meeting. Very often, the form may go back and forth pending discussions among the various stakeholders, and may require several rewrites before final submission.

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    Route

    The initiator of the Kaizen idea routes the form to the approving authority via any supervisor or manager. The approval team may circulate this form to the impacted departments and other stakeholders for additional input, recorded either in the comments section or separately.

    The approval team, after making decisions, returns the form to the project initiation team, and delivers a copy to the following departments

    1. Finance team: to arrange for the finances
    2. All departments such as HR, materials, commercial and others which would have to support the Kaizen intervention by providing resources, making changes to work schedules and so on
    3. The Human Resource team or any one else coordinating the event, for documentation, and communicating the decision across the rank and file.

    These forms allow workers to retain focus and attention to the task at hand, and provide control to Kaizen events. Without such forms, much of the gains resultant from such intervention fritter away.

References

  • "A Paper Trail Leads to Success." http://www.hartinnovations.com/LMA0203.pdf. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  • "Kaizen Forms." http://www.kaicomm.com/pdfs/KaizenFormsMA.pdf. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  • Image Credit: flickr.com/al del barrio under CC 2.0 license