In Japanese, 改善 or Kaizen means improvement. In English, people often use the term when referring to the continuous improvement process. At Toyota related companies, suggesting and implementing kaizen on a regular basis is part of the system.
In other words, it is standardized.
Office kaizen is essential to cost saving. Staff members are often asked to fill out two kaizen suggestion forms per month as part of their monthly reporting requirements. Managers check the employees` suggestions. It is then management`s responsibility to implement the suggestions or explain why they cannot be implemented. This managerial responsibility is also standardized.
"It works because requirements and accountability are built into the system - For both staff and managers." says Angela Corriero, "Employees can get quickly de-motivated and stop making kaizen suggestions if they feel they`re ideas are not being heard or respected."
Overheard in the office
Office Kaizen Implementation
Step 1 For 5s Principles for the Office E-Guide, click here. For an excellent 5s implementation example, click here.
For 5s Principles for the Office E-Guide, click here.
For an excellent 5s implementation example, click here.
Some people may say that there is not a single item of work which is wasted. But the more we think about it, the more we become aware of many types of work which is unnecessary. Things change. In the past, there may have been a reason to do a particular job, but now there is no real reason.
An excerpt from Total Quality Control Management by Masao Nemoto, fmr Managing Director, Toyota Motor Corporation:
An example of wasted work:
In most administrative divisions seldom does a division manager or section chief know how any one of his subordinates handles his day to day work. Ask a question to a division manager: "Can you find any waste in the routine work performed by your administrative employees?" The answer you receive is often "Well I haven`t really looked into the work of admin staff. I don`t know." Therefore it is important to ask each and every one of the workers to think about his about his or her own work routine. The manager`s function is to accept suggestions, coordinate them and see to that these kaizen suggestions are implemented. Small group activities, such as QC circles and QC groups can be effective at fostering employees` willingness for participate in office kaizen activities.
Regarding Office Kaizen, ask the following questions:
"Management must then take the next logical step and bunch together the hours saved to make it possible for the division to withdraw a worker. To withdraw workers and do it thoroughly is one of the characteristics of the Toyota production system." Masao Nemoto
The Creative Suggestion System
It is important for each worker to submit a suggestion showing how his own work and the group`s work can be improved.
More information and a downloadable package on creative suggestion systems is coming soon.