Project Kaizen

Bringing the power of continuous improvement to the project setting

Use Kaizen to Grow More than Company Revenue

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C an we cost-justify continuous improvement? Can you believe that people ask that question when deciding whether to adopt Quick and Easy Kaizen for their organization? Like not continuously improving is an option! Ralph Keller, President of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) set out to put the question to rest in his article for Industry Week, What’s Continuous Improvement Worth?

QnEK is the antidote to the 8th waste.
Ralph writes about the false savings people identify to justify continuous improvement. For instance, reductions in inventory are misrepresented as dollar-for-dollar savings. Instead, Ralph quotes one of his former bosses, “Revenue growth will cover lots of sins,” to indicate the payoff that is available from our continuous improvement efforts. He argues that driving out waste a little bit at a time and continuously will add up to a significantly enhanced competitive position. He cites a 2003 HBR article where mid-sized companies show 15% – 20% year-over-year revenue growth from their continuous improvement efforts.

Ralph failed to mention the big opportunity from kaizen initiatives. If you know anything about lean, then you know Ohno’s 7 Wastes. But do you know the 8th waste? Without getting into an argument about the “real” 8th waste, the prevailing view is that under utilizing the creativity of the workforce is a waste.

QnEK—daily kaizen—is the antidote to the 8th waste. How? Encourage everyone to change a little every day. That’s the kaizen way! For help with daily kaizen try the Kaizen Pocket Handbook.

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