Accelerating Improvement: Mastering the 2-Day Weekend Kaizen Event
Kaizen events have long been recognized as an effective way to drive continuous improvement within organizations, typically running for four to five days. However, what if your company is limited by time or resources and can't afford a full-length Kaizen? This is where the concept of a 2-day or Weekend Kaizen comes into play, allowing businesses to achieve meaningful process improvements in a condensed timeframe.
In this blog, we explore the reasons why a Weekend Kaizen might be the perfect fit for your organization and share essential tips and examples to ensure the success of your accelerated improvement journey. Whether it's the need to accommodate a smaller team, financial constraints, or specific pain points in a process, a well-executed Weekend Kaizen, sometimes referred to as a Kaizen Blitz, can yield impressive results while maintaining efficiency and focus on key objectives. So, let's delve into how to make the most of this intensive improvement approach and optimize your Weekend Kaizen event.
Typical Kaizen events run for four to five days. For example:
Day 1 (Training, walking the process, check-in)
Day 2 (Analyze the current process, formulate process improvement, make improvements, check-in)
Day 3 (Test improvements, conduct reviews, adjust, check-in)
Day 4 (Test improvements, document the new process, rollout/communicate/train,
Day 5 (Present results and celebrate)
So, how would a 2-day or Weekend Kaizen event be possible?
Let’s start with why you would attempt this. An abbreviated Kaizen event may be useful for smaller companies that can’t afford the cost of a full Kaizen or don’t have enough workers to have a group away from their jobs on working days. Or, as seen in one client, the event participants may only be at that location over a weekend once a month.
There are scenarios where smaller processes with specific pain points may not require the work of a full Kaizen. You can even call this a Kaizen Blitz. Yet, no matter what you call it, there are a few things to remember to ensure your event is successful. With most Kaizens, there are activities completed prior to the event. These activities must not only be started but, in many cases, completed before the beginning of the weekend event.
Weekend Kaizen Event Tips and Examples for Success:
Scope. Ensure your in/out of scope is solid. You want to determine what is not in the focused effort.
Save time on the front and back end by conducting thorough prep work and looking for ways to condense activities.
Have a completed SIPOC on hand to keep the team focused on the end-to-end viewpoint of the event.
Be sure all the team logistics are in place. This includes the meeting room, access to any Gemba areas, food/drink considerations, staging of any necessary office supplies, and confirmation that the requested team is fully available to participate. It is recommended to double and triple check this; missing key SMEs is one of the most significant barriers to success.
Have some high-level process maps completed before the event so you can walk through it with the participants before walking the process. Then you can just make minor tweaks to the current-state map after walking, rather than mapping from scratch. Look for opportunities to “Shadow-walk” by talking through certain activities where it may not be necessary to watch the entire thing. (Ex: you don’t need to watch a mechanic change brakes on a car when walking through the process of servicing a vehicle, just talk through where he goes to get the parts and tools, how he disposes of the old ones, etc.)
With less time to implement solutions, complete what you can during the Kaizen but place a strong focus on delivering a list of action items to be implemented moving forward. Come back to audit progress on action items and make tweaks to the work being done.
Skip the presentation day in favor of sending out a final report after the weekend.
The 2-day Weekend Kaizen event presents a valuable opportunity for organizations of all sizes to embrace continuous improvement, even in the face of time and resource constraints. By carefully planning and preparing ahead of time, focusing on key objectives, and leveraging pre-event activities effectively, companies can maximize the impact of their accelerated improvement journey.
Whether you call it a Weekend Kaizen or a Kaizen Blitz, the principles remain the same – empower your team, foster collaboration, and prioritize action items to create tangible and sustainable results.
So, if you find yourself pressed for time or resources, don't shy away from the challenge. Embrace the Weekend Kaizen and unlock the potential for rapid, effective process improvement that can propel your organization towards even greater success. Remember, with the right approach and commitment, significant advancements are possible, no matter the timeline. Happy Kaizening!