Manufacturing is constantly facing new challenges, we are seeing very strong global competition, Industry 4.0 is transforming the industry, and we have millennials entering the workforce. Risks are evolving as well, constant economic uncertainty, and cyber security attacks are becoming a real threat to the industry. To remain competitive, manufactures cannot afford to proceed with business as usual if they have plans to have long-term success.
“Success requires change” – This is not a new concept to manufacturing. Continuous improvement has been deeply rooted in the industry’s culture and past history. The current business landscape, even more so with the current Covid-19 pandemic, is vastly different from what manufacturers have experienced before. However, the same concepts and tools from the past can be used to influence change and advance practices in this new landscape.
Kaizen is a prevalent way to initiate change within manufacturing. Kaizen is a term that refers to on-going or continuous improvement. The definition of kaizen comes from two Japanese words: ‘kai’ meaning ‘change’ and ‘zen’ meaning ‘good’. This Lean tool is used to minimize waste and improve processes in production. Kaizens are implemented to drive problem solving and continuous improvement initiatives within a facility by following the “PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT cycle. By identifying and tackling areas that need the most improvement within your production, Kaizens productively create more organized, efficient and safe work environments.
Kaizen can also be utilized to support an assortment of strategic initiatives, particularly those addressing current challenges in the industry.
Some examples of such initiatives:
- Industry 4.0 – During a Kaizen event to improve a specific process, your team might end up identifying an opportunity or a need for technology. An example might be a process that is dirty, dull, or potentially hazardous. The process might benefit from automation or work standardization and training could be improved utilizing augmented reality. Aligning your operational needs with technology will aid in optimizing processes and improve competitiveness in the future.
- Workforce – Kaizen events often result in the generation of standardized work instructions. With detailed procedures, onboarding and training new employees are likely to be completed much quicker and easier. Efforts to attract and retain top level talent will be supported, employees want to work in clean, organized, and safe work environments. Involving employees in future Kaizen events will further advance engagement and ownership. Employees of all levels will enjoy seeing the boost in efficiency and profitability.
- Stability – Having improved processes not only improves safety and organization, but in addition, efficiency and profitability creating stability now and beyond. By eliminating waste and speeding up production, the economic stability of the organization will be strengthened. As the future of the economy is uncertain and as we continue to face strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is especially critical now. You may also find as a result of a Kaizen event, open and additional capacity allowing you to potentially expand into new products or markets. Creating diversification will also provide more stability to the business, whether the business decides to produce new products, or simply supply to new customers or regions.
Do not be overwhelmed by all of these industry changes, instead, embrace them and change in tandem. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement with Kaizen, your business can find stability and great success now and in the future of manufacturing.
Contact MCDA CCG today to speak with one of our Kaizen experts and see how we can help your business perform Kaizen events to assist in building stability and increase profitability for your business. Call us at (714) 872-2393 or complete the form below and one of our experts will contact you within 24 hours.