Kaizen: a gateway to continuous improvement

By September 7, 2018 No Comments

A kaizen is defined as an improvement to an existing process that eliminates one (or more) of the 7 types of waste and non-value added work. The 7 types of waste are:

  1. Transportation
  2. Waiting
  3. Overproduction
  4. Defects
  5. Inventory
  6. Motion
  7. Excess-processing
  8. Safety

TWO DIMES is a mnemonic device to remember the eight forms of waste. Safety, or hazards that impact safety, is considered to be the eighth area of waste.  Areas of waste are actively identified and eliminated in the workplace at the P3T Lab.

The word Kaizen comes from the Japanese kanji where ‘Kai” means good, continuous or “take apart”, and ‘Zen’ – means wisdom, change or improvement. Therefore, the word kaizen can be translated as “good change’, ‘change for good’ or ‘continuous improvement’.

The Toyota Way is is a manufacturing system implemented in the 1930’s using Henry Ford’s manufacturing system. It has been called “a system designed to provide the tools for people to continually improve their work”. The Toyota Production System became global in the 1970’s. It took Toyota 50 years to become world class.

Kaizen allows people to participate in a process that helps them learn that there is waste in their organization and that they can find ways to reduce or eliminate that waste.

Employees are responsible for improving their own area. This responsibility provides the ability to respond. It allows people to make jobs easier, make jobs more interesting, and build skills and capabilities.

Here are five questions that inform the Continuous Improvement process:

  1. What is the current condition or situation?
  2. What is the desired condition or situation?
  3. What is preventing us from getting to the desired condition or situation?
  4. What is the one thing or next thing that we could do to get closer to the desired condition or situation?
  5. When can we check progress?

P3T Lab believes in the value of implementing Kaizen. Kaizen helps improve quality and efficiency while reducing bias, variation, and improving accuracy.

P3T Lab is dedicated to provide accurate, timely, unbiased and cost effective results for polyurethane foam products to all our customers. P3T encourages our employees to develop an attitude for continuous improvement and Kaizen is an effective way to achieve that.

Below is an example of a Kaizen implemented by the members of P3T Lab to improve the monitoring of the temperature and humidity in the lab. It is important to maintain constant conditions in the lab since temperature and humidity affect the physical properties of polyurethane foam.  By using a visual system, the lab personnel can see immediately if there is any variation from the required temperature and humidity and adjust these parameters accordingly.

KAIZEN # 5 of 2017

Improving the Lab Temperature / Humidity Monitoring System

Current Situation: The current system for monitoring the temperature and humidity in the laboratory did not display immediately the results over the past hour or 4 hours or 24 hours. Data could be downloaded but this was not an ideal system.

Improvement to Standard: Connect the temperature/humidity unit to an iPad which displays the results graphically on a chart so it is easy to see the trend over the past 4 hour.

Benefit to Lab: Allows quicker reaction time to lab conditions system. Immediately see the trend in lab conditions by observing the chart. No wait time for downloading results.

Category of Waste Eliminated: Defects, Waiting