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Everything you always wanted to know about a Kaizen event...

At the LeanOhio Program Office, we help agencies get significant results by putting Kaizen and other Lean tools to work. We'll be happy to team up with you and your agency -- whether you're seeking a quick introductory overview to Lean and Kaizen, or a full-scale Kaizen event to overhaul a core process, or something in between.

What we do BEFORE a Kaizen event:
1. Present an overview of Lean and Kaizen events to management  optional
     » Download the LeanOhio Information Kit   PDF
2. Conduct a "pre-scope" to review potential issues, core processes, and improvement opportunities  optional
     » Download Go/No-Go Kaizen Event Checklist   1 page, PDF
3. Meet with management in a scoping session (at least 4 weeks before Kaizen event)
4. Collect and analyze baseline data (after scoping session)
5. Conduct customer satisfaction survey (after scoping session)
6. Conduct "voice of the customer" focus group(s)  optional

What we do DURING a Kaizen event:
1. Present statistical analysis of current process data
2. Present results of customer satisfaction survey
3. Provide just-in-time training on Lean and Six Sigma principles and tools
4. ID and document all steps in the current process
     » Download a process mapping summary   2 pages, PDF
5. Analyze current process to uncover value-added steps and wasteful non-valued-added steps
6. Identify, rate, and reach consensus on best ideas for improvement
7. Create and reach consensus on a new ideal process based on a pull system and proper flow
8. Use various Lean tools as needed to increase speed and reduce waste throughout the process (takt time, spaghetti maps, 5S, etc.)
9. Create an implementation plan for the new process, with action registers for communication, training, IT involvement, etc.
10. Develop a scorecard of meaningful measures for tracking implementation progress and results
     » Download a summary of key metrics   1 page, PDF
11. Guide the preparation of a report-out presentation, delivered to leadership and staff on the final day of the Kaizen event
     » Download a sample report-out presentation   46 pages, PDF

What we do AFTER a Kaizen event:
1. Write an article that highlights the results of Kaizen event, posting the text in Web and PDF format at
     » See a Web post | Download a sample article   2 pages, PDF
2. Conduct follow-up meetings to review progress -- first at 30 days after a Kaizen event, then at 60-day, 90-day, 120-day, 6-month, and 1-year intervals
3. Report updated results at
4. Conduct a second customer satisfaction survey 6-9 months after the Kaizen event to identify progress and needs
5. Promote recognition opportunities for successful teams

What happens at a Kaizen event?
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Team members
Improvement teams are streamlining their core processes -- reducing wait times, strengthening service to customers, and saving money.

POWERFUL AND PROVEN: These big results are due to Kaizen. The term is Japanese, meaning to break apart or change (kai) for the better (zen). It's the most powerful tool in the Lean tool box. Kaizen is a practice of choice among successful private-sector organizations, with a proven record of reducing waste, increasing efficiency, saving money, and increasing customer satisfaction.

KAIZEN IN ACTION: In a typical Kaizen event, team members meet for five straight days to overhaul a core work process. Their week begins with just-in-time training in the Kaizen methodology. Then they map out the current state of the process, analyzing every step to find all forms of waste: overprocessing, delays, loopbacks, handoffs, excessive inventory, defects, and so on. They use their findings to develop a new process that is simpler, faster, better, and more cost-effective. Action plans address all aspects of implementation, including training and communication.

THE KAIZEN TEAM: A Kaizen event brings together not only the people who do the work of the process, but also some of their representative customers and stakeholders along with objective outsiders who have no knowledge of the process. This builds important perspectives and fresh ideas into every event.

IMMEDIATE ACTION: Also with Kaizen, implementation of the improvements begins as soon as the team completes its week of work. There's nothing theoretical or hypothetical about Kaizen. It's all about real change. The efficiencies and savings start adding up right away.