Project Kaizen

Bringing the power of continuous improvement to the project setting

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  • Published: Jan 10th, 2011
  • Category: Small Change
  • Comments: Comments Off on Big Ideas Come in All Sizes

Big Ideas Come in All Sizes

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In an earlier post I called kaizen a numbers game. I’ve often been asked to explain that. Some people have the notion that we only want the really good ideas or improvements. The little ones are just not that important. This view is particularly prominent in the project setting. Projects are discrete. Once they end the team often disperses. In the construction setting, people go back to their companies only to be reassigned to another project and a new group of strangers. It’s easy to see how someone can have the view that we don’t have the time for anything but really big improvements.

Make a small change today
So, why do we seem to think that we don’t have the time? In my experience it comes down to being overloaded and overwhelmed. Having too much to do and being in a bad mood about it is often the situation on projects. While there might be many sources for that situation, it doesn’t need to prevail for the whole project. It may only take a commitment to make today better than yesterday.

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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.

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Small Change: Read a Few More Pages

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Read one to three more pages each day.

My day is busy. Waaay too busy. Yet I make time to read. I didn’t always read. In fact, before college I didn’t read anything. Once I got out of college I remember saying, “Thank God I don’t have to read anymore.” It was 12 – 15 years later that I took up reading again. It was in spurts. We had started our family—three boys—they were and continue to be a handful. Sometimes I would read a novel. Other times I’d just read a few news magazines. Eventually, I got in the habit of reading at least one book each month. I’m glad I did. I now read much more than that. Read the rest of this entry »

Make One Small Change: Use More CFLs

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Replacing just one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) will make a big difference, especially if everyone did that.  It would reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road, or not burning 29,900 railcars of coal.See Fast Company How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change the World? One. And You’re Looking at It  The impact on the environment is unbelievable.  You can’t make a better economic investment for your home.  Replacing one bulb is estimated to save you $66 over the lifetime of the CFL.  I replaced three bulbs with CFLs last year.Will Wal-Mart Change the World Selling CFLs? Let’s Wonder…  I’ll replace another six this month.  I hope you join me.