Kaizen is Japanese and means “change for the better”.

By Götz Stapelfeldt / Associate Partner Kaizen is Japanese and means “change for the better”. It refers to the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP). Of course, Kaizen does not help against the Covid 19 virus. But Kaizen helps to limit the negative economic effects of the Corona pandemic. Many companies are currently struggling with huge drops in order intake and turnover with dramatic consequences for their liquidity. In order to secure liquidity, however, measures must be introduced to reduce costs in the short term. And this is exactly where Kaizen comes into play. The continuous improvement process optimises processes and reduces waste. In this way, targeted cost savings can be made throughout the company in administration, development, production, purchasing and logistics. In other words, it is about process optimisation in the entire company.

Goals of process optimisation:

  • Shortening lead times The term lead time is understood to mean the period of time needed in production between the start and completion of the manufacture of a product. The total lead time is made up of the pure processing time, the transport times and the idle times. A reduction of the lead time can be achieved by an analysis and corresponding adjustments of the material and information flow. The following questions must be answered: Where and why do excessively long waiting times occur and which transport routes can be shortened.
  • Optimising capacity utilisation This refers to the utilisation of machinery and equipment for the manufacture of products. This is about the efficient use of the equipment and the reduction of changeover times. Reducing changeover times can be achieved by optimising processes, improving technology and using digitalisation.
  • Reducing resources An important issue in companies is the avoidance of waste of the resources used. Here, sustainability can be combined with greater efficiency. Unnecessary work steps also cause waste, so there is also a need for optimisation here.

Process optimisation methods

The various process optimisation methods are only successful if they are sensibly combined and coordinated with each other. This is the only way to exploit the full potential of process optimisation. The best-known process optimisation methods are Lean Production, Kaizen and CIP.

  • Lean Production – Lean Management The way of thinking and working of the lean production approach aims at avoiding waste. The focus is on wasting time or resources. It is about avoiding idle times, shortening work steps and optimising costs.
  • Kaizen Kaizen is often referred to as continuous improvement. This principle is known from CIP, the continuous improvement process. In kaizen, various individual approaches are described, which optimisations can be carried out at which points. The focus is on the employee and his or her attitude towards his or her work and workplace. It is therefore not just a method, but rather a way of thinking. Kaizen is a task for all employees in the company.
  • CIP (Continuous Improvement Process) In a company it is of great importance to ensure the permanent improvement of product quality, process quality and service quality. This is not exclusively about big changes, but about many small changes that lead to an improvement of quality in the individual areas. Among other things, the focus is on measures that can be realised quickly, so-called quick wins, which do not have to be implemented through an elaborate project. In this context, rules are redefined and improvements in processes are realised.

Here is another example from the area of production In production, care must be taken to ensure that employees do not have to walk long distances and that tools and workpieces are within direct reach. In addition, errors should be avoided. To achieve this, the production facilities, the supply and removal of workpieces and material, as well as the necessary information must be perfectly coordinated. It is precisely these processes that are optimised by Kaizen and constantly checked for improvement. Thus, Kaizen is the right remedy against Corona.

Our know-how

We have the know-how of the most modern instruments for lean management methods and process optimisation such as KAIZEN and CIP to increase efficiency and effectiveness in production and logistics. Companies benefit from this through shorter lead times, cost reduction, higher customer satisfaction, greater employee motivation and stronger competitiveness. We offer comprehensive and professional implementation management to optimise structures, processes, systems and operations along the entire value chain with subsequent focus on operations management. Our social competence for managing complex value chains in the global production network is one of the core competences of our process and project management.

Core competencies of the production competence team of F&P AG

  • Process optimisation along the entire value chain
  • Introduction and implementation of lean management methods such as CIP or Kaizen
  • Definition of measures to reduce throughput times

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