I don’t have anything against Kaizen Events (often called “RIE” or “Rapid Improvement Events” in healthcare). They have their proper place and can bring many benefits, but events are not enough. They are NOT a complete Lean enterprise strategy, so I agree with the argument made in the linked blog post.
In my upcoming book on Lean Hospitals, I lay out an alternative to event-driven Lean, something that has been popular in healthcare. I spell out a method that allows systemic kaizen and the institution of a Lean management system, something that is often difficult to do with week-long events.
Even back in a former manufacturing company, I saw the dysfunctions that can occur in an event-driven approach to Lean. If there’s a problem that needs solving, why wait weeks or months for the scheduled event? This happens when events are the only improvement that is taking place. Kaizen should be a continuous process, driven by the people who do the work (not the experts who run kaizen events), something that is facilitated by supervisors and managers.
What other dysfunctions have you seen with kaizen events? What do you do to battle those dysfunctions? How has your organization fit kaizen events into an overall systemic Lean strategy? Click “comments” to let us know.
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