Many years ago newspapers lined the streets of almost every city in the world. People would gather at the "newspaper stands" and browse each page while sharing a story or two. Word of mouth and the rugged ink stained paper were the main drivers of news, suggestions and ideas.
Today we still have ideas and suggestions, but things aren't quite as simple as the good ole days. Today making a suggestion often involves filling out a tedious small slip with more information than you can even read, shoving it in a bin that nobody collects and then hoping it get's "approved." Here's the idea, workers see it all, touch it all and often have the closest connection for improvements. That connection can act as the perfect vehicle for suggestions and ideas and you don't have to walk to a newspaper stand to do it.
The Kaizen template or improvement newspaper is a method for employees to suggest opportunities for improvements without necessarily having a solution. Sounds a bit crazy doesn't it? That is because it is, why should someone have to have a fix to give a suggestion. The Kaizen template enables employees to support improvements whether they have a fix or not. Generally they will capture a few pieces of information on them.
Like any other lean tool the kaizen template works best when it is made visible. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when using improvement newspapers for a suggestion system.
Make it Visible
Like we mentioned earlier improvement newspapers should not be contained within a network or hard drive they are best made visible. One advantage to using a computer to fill out the suggestion is that there will be no sorting through legible and illegible papers. You can fill the paper out and print it out, placing it in an area where everyone can see the idea.
Keep them Alive
About the era when tv was in full swing and computers began to emerge newspaper stands were laid to rest. Now we get quarter machines by selected restaurants and no more standing with our friends sharing the latest happenings. Fortunately Kaizen templates are far from dead. They are in fact one very effective way to obtain opportunities for improvement but they must be kept alive. Monitoring the suggestions during a huddle is one way to keep status up to date and ensure that each suggestion is moving forward.
If you have ever used a new tv changer there is a bit of a learning curve to it. Directions in hand and a thousand different settings to program it will never be as simple as walking to the newspaper stand to get some information. The same principle should apply to our kaizen templates or improvement papers. Not everyone knows how to use excel and not everyone will understand the process right from the start. That makes it the perfect opportunity to train employees and go for a gemba walk. The bottom line, make it easy for the people filling the papers out. The only thing that employees should be responsible for is filling out the template and doing their best to discover the root cause.
Although we may never see newspaper stands lining the streets again kaizen templates or improvement newspapers could line the huddle boards of your organization, capturing innovative ideas from employees and driving improvement initiatives and the tool won't even cost you a quarter.
If you would like a template for a Kaizen/Improvement newspaper just click on the button below.
March is almost here and that means the ©GEMBA methodology is almost ready. Watch this update on the course progress.
Going to the Gemba is one of the most powerful principles of a lean journey. If you have not yet engaged in an initiative for daily Gemba walks we suggest you begin as soon as possible. At the Gemba we discover things that we simply can not discover at our desk (unless that is where the work is being done). The Gemba as you know is "where the work is done" it is "where value is created" and it is where "problems can be solved."
It is a powerful Skill to be able to treat the "Gemba" or a "Gemba Walk" as a Methodology in itself. Methodologies allow us to reveal issues and give us the possibility of solutions through teamwork and various methods. Here is one example of a methodology for "Gemba Walks."
Just Remember GEMBA
G- The G reminds us of the Overall concept that we all know, Genchi Genbutsu. Genchi Genbutsu means Go and See, we do this so that we can understand what is happening at the Gemba. This is a key principle and technique of any lean strategy. When we go and see what is actually happening we are better able to base our decisions on real facts, instead of hunches, opinions, guesses or assumptions.
E- "Engage" Engagement at the Gemba is very important. When we engage people at the Gemba it should be question based. The idea is to help the gemba stretch their minds and empower them to develop problem solving skills of their own. We are trying to understand what is happening in the current condition and not jump to conclusions. The 5 Why technique is a great way to understand why certain things are happening. Like any other problem though try to discover the "What" "Why" "How" and "Where". One last thing, take notes while engaging; some of the best solutions you will hear come from the people at the Gemba.
M- Muda, Mura and Muri, simply put being at the Gemba is a great time to observe what is going on there. You will have great opportunities to discover many forms of Muda, so introduce yourself to TIMWOODS while you're there. While at the Gemba you will get a sense of where people may feel overburdened and you will see processes that are not level. Take notes. Then you can attack all origins of waste later on.
B- Be respectful at the Gemba. This is a time to exercise humility and to serve others. We promise if you are respectful, humble, sincere and willing to serve, people will tell you where the pain is.
A- Finally analyze what you have collected. Be sure at this stage of the Gemba walk to include everyone at the Gemba. The individuals from the Gemba will be able to help analyze findings and often may add details to your initial discoveries. Including everyone will also foster a culture of teamwork and help develop a true lean culture.
The Gemba Methodology is a great format to follow when performing daily Gemba walks and it is rather easy for anyone to understand. One last thing to note after you have performed your Gemba Walk be ready and willing to support The Spirit of Kaizen. One way that you can do this is to offer yourself in service of finding solutions to the issues that are discovered. A Gemba Walk can be quick, easy and very effective in pinpointing opportunities for improvements, so start today and in time you will discover great and powerful ways to "transform" activities in each of your many Gemba's.
Don't forget if you need more information on the ©GEMBA Methodology or how to go to the Gemba,
Register for our course coming out in March of 2018, The ©GEMBA Methodology.
After a holiday break it can sometimes be hard to get the body up and moving again the first morning of work. Extra caffeine, long conversations and a fuzzy memory are some of the signs you may experience. For others though getting started again is simple; they just jump back in the groove like they never even knew there was a break. Here are three simple things you can do to jump back in the improvement groove after an "extra" day off.
How did they leave?
Most individuals and teams will start their holiday break off by making sure there desk area is in 5S condition and neater than they left it before. Many studies have shown that if you take the time to clean things up, organize and set things in order the morning you come back in will be much smoother. Think of it like planning for the day you come back. Just like Admiral William McRaven shares in the video below: "If you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed." If you leave your work area in a neat, tidy and in a sanitary condition you will return to an organized, more energized, calm and ready environment. Along with these benefits comes one other notable effect. By displaying a behavior of always maintaining a standard condition in your area, you in turn promote a culture that does the same.
Spend some time at the Gemba.
You may be tempted to hang out by the coffee dispenser and chug down one cup after another. While the caffeine will certainly give you a boost of energy, to much caffeine may leave you feeling anxious, frantic and disorientated. Don't get me wrong a little energy is good for everyone, but try taking one cup to the gemba. At the gemba you can review the process and refresh your mind while interacting and strengthening relationships with others. Take a piece of paper with you as you visit the gemba and jot down notes pertaining to: the energy of the value stream, the load of demand placed on the team and of course any changes in the process that may have occurred in the interim.
Last but not least, bring the team together. Take some time for icebreakers, sharing and quality time. Though from a production efficiency standpoint this might not make any sense at all, ponder for a minute the tactical approach. Meeting together in a morning huddle and taking 5 minutes to share one thing or begin with an icebreaker can be a nice transition that helps others feel as though they are cared for.
There you have it; three very simple things to get continuous improvement started again when you return from a holiday break.
***How do you reach out and re-energize teams when they return from a holiday break?***
All year long we strive for improvements. Squeezing waste from every corner of organizations, Posting new videos, or trying to eliminate that pesky root cause, whatever it is you do labor day is for each and everyone of us. Here are three important things to keep in mind on your day off:
Studies have shown that taking a day off can actually increase your productivity when you return to work. Taking a day off doesn't mean sneaking in an email here and there, it means rest. Spend time with your family, BBQ, but most of all enjoy the day. Trust us if you're like most hard working people you'll be going crazy by the first day back and you will get a lot of work done.
2. Use the labor day excuse
Believe it or not the first day back is a great time to ask someone you never talk to, "hey what did you do with your day off." This is a great way to get to know some of your co-workers, share pictures and laughs. If you're on the improvement journey it may give you an opportunity to pull someone new onto the team.
3. Share with your family
Sometimes we get so busy with life, work and everything else that we don't get anytime to share with the people closest to us how work is going. Labor day is a great opportunity to share with children, grandchildren, wives or friends how work is going for you. Just remember to listen too.
Whether you have the day off, or you're pulling some overtime we would like to wish each and everyone of you a wonderful labor day weekend. Enjoy!
*** We would love for each of you to share one of your labor day highlights in the comment section below. ***
By: Liliana Domingues
Liliana Domingues has been a star performer in Lean Strategies International LLC's white belt course online. She has recently completed her white belt and performed exceptionally well. As a stand out Liliana graciously accepted our request to share some of her wonderful activities which she completed online. If you would like to see more of Liliana's inspiring activities you can enroll in the Lean Six Sigma White Belt course online by clicking on any of the links in this description. Thank you Liliana for your wonderful performance, keep up the great work!
The following was part of an activity that Lean Six Sigma White Belt students are asked to complete online. Liliana has been a star performer online and has graciously let us post her answers to one of our activities (shown below). You can enroll online by clicking here. Without further adieu, here is Liliana's thoughts:
•In what ways have you experienced the waste of underutilized skills and talent?
Where I work, this is a well-known and visible form of waste. There are several cases of employees who were hired to perform tasks to which they are clearly over qualified. In the very beginning it’s ok, but they learn fast, they start performing their tasks extremely well and quickly. They start wanting to improve processes and innovate…, but there is a culture of “we have always done things like this” in place with little margin for change. And after a while they start getting demotivated and bored, so they start engaging into training (getting even more qualified). On the other hand, their good job is not recognized in terms of salary benefits or promotions and their talents are not used into new responsibilities or possible relocation to more challenging internal posts.
•How would you go about removing this type of waste?
First of all, I would say management can start by reviewing HR processes for recruitment (finding the right candidates with the competences needed for the jobs available) and specially nurturing and harness a culture of change, of constant improvement as a responsibility of all.
Managers have to find ways of keeping employees motivated and engaged by redistributing tasks and resources allocation whenever needed (high/quick achievers can be useful to help colleagues, give trainings, share good practices, develop new and improved work methods… they just need to be entrusted and to have an opportunity), by updating/improving internal rules, by empowering employees (if a colleague is over qualified, why not give him a new responsibility or involve him into the decision making process), making the reward/recognition system fair, and saying “good job”!
•Other ideas for commandments of team work:
* Share your good practices and ideas
* Motivated each other
* Have a positive approach
***DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE LILIANA YOUR COMMENTS***
PHENOM ENGINEERING, LLC SPECIALIZES IN DESIGN, PROTOTYPING AND MANUFACTURING. WE HELP INVENTORS, ARTISTS, HOBBYISTS, SMALL COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS TURN AN IDEA INTO REALITY - FROM A SINGLE PART TO A FULL MANUFACTURING RUN. You can contact Phenom Engineering via email at: PhenomEngineering@gmail.com.
In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work established defense industry programs as well as starting up new products and factories. This has given me many opportunities to see problems and do something to fix them. I’ve used many Lean tools over the course of my career and I would like to explore these tools with real world examples of how they were applied and the results they produced.
For years now teams have come together on baseball fields, football fields, soccer fields, race tracks, offices and homes in what has become known as the huddle. These quick and spirited standups often last no more than 5 minutes and help team members refocus their efforts while planning for things to come. Whether the purpose is to realign or align team members focus towards an objective, the daily 10 - 15 minute scrum, stand - up or huddle works.
Lean Strategies International LLC. accepts postings from all Lean and Six Sigma professionals to submit a post please visit: Submit a post.