According to the Oxford Dictionary, Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices and efficiency. Hollingsworth Consulting facilitates Kaizen rapid improvement process sessions that encourage teamwork and personal discipline to identify problems, then develop solutions and a plan to implement and measure the proposed solution.

“Facilitating teams as they define problems, measure the impact of the issue, analyze and determine the root cause, improve the process, implement solutions, and sustain improvements to ensure continuous improvement gives us purpose,” shared Brad of Hollingsworth Consulting, certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Brad went on to explain that the Lean Six Sigma methodology and related tools provide structure to effective Kaizen events. “When the team commits time and energy to the process the rewards are limitless,” he said.

Often when teams encounter efficiency issues with processes, they squeeze time throughout their busy workday to address them. With a facilitated Kaizen event team members spend an entire working day dedicated solely to the project, providing more opportunity to focus on all aspects of the problem without distraction.

The benefits of scheduling dedicated Kaizen sessions are threefold. First, team members make a commitment of time outside of day-to-day responsibilities allowing them to focus on the issue. Secondly, the improvement process facilitated by a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, like Brad, helps the team see the problem from different perspectives and without personal biases. Finally, the team is actively taking responsibility throughout the five-step process, taking ownership and responsibility, while driving employee engagement as the team members complete the process and see measurable results.

One focus at the start of the event is developing the scope of the problem, through the define and measure phases. One or two sessions are held within a predetermined timeframe to analyze root causes and determine solutions, to implement the solutions, and to develop a plan to measure the impact of those solutions so the improvement becomes standardized.

“The key to effective continuous improvement is to narrow the scope of the project to something measurable,” Brad explained. “If the issue and proposed solutions are too broad, the implementation, measurement of success, and control to standardize the solution are less effective.

He went on to say, "Couple the measurable results with the learning and relationship building that occurs when teams work together and it’s no surprise that I look forward to every session we lead."

Click here for an example of a Kaizen event success.