More than one organization gets stuck in kaizen events. By "stuck" I mean that kaizen events are the only mechanism for improvement. A good indicator of this is "waiting for a kaizen event" to make an improvement that everyone agrees should be made.
At the same time, I see leaders who understand that these kinds of improvements should be made on a daily basis, but those leaders are frustrated because that doesn’t happen.
So why does this happen?
There are a few things that have to be in place, but even with a workforce that understands improvement and where this is going, even with shop floor leaders who understand how to do it, that doesn’t seem to be enough.
So here are some things to think about.
You block out time during the day for your start-up meeting, end-of-shift cleanup (a different topic). You block out time for preventative maintenance (you do, right?). You block out time and resources for the things you expect to get done.
Do the low-level work groups capture, in real time, the little issues that disrupt smooth work? Those are your daily kaizen opportunities.
Do you block out time for daily kaizen? If you don’t, then you are saying "Do kaizen when there is nothing else to do. Your daily kaizen time should not count as "available minutes" when calculating your takt time.
Do the Team Leaders and Supervisors expect the work teams to work on those problems during the kaizen time?
The bottom line: Don’t just wish it would happen. Look at what is necessary for success (skill, time, leadership, tools, expectations), make sure those things are available. If actual events are not what you planned, then study and understand why not and fix it. Daily kaizen is no different than production. You have to plan for it.