Kaizen Events are small events for managers and employees (operators) of a process, in order to improve the process. They were created in Japan by they have been useful as well in other countries like India. They are a very efficient way to improve a process with a low sigma score. They have also been helpful to convince organizations that are new to Six Sigma that this method works.
They are a tool that, as I have already said, gather operators, managers, and even owners of a process in a place. In most cases they use flowcharts to visualize the process, and, at the end they come up with improvements of the process. It is about sharing ideas of everyone involved in the process; so, the operators (the once that are closer to the process), can actually give their opinions on how to improve the process.
All the parts related to the process are together so, it is not only the manager who decide how to improve, but also the operators. And, they are closer to the process so they have a lot to share.
The article that I have found talks about an Indian small- and medium-scale manufacturing organization called XYZ Enterprises. They manufacture automobile parts, and at the moment they are under a lot of pressure not just from competitors, but also from customers, in order to produce high quality products with a low price. The customers have high expectations on the quality so the manufactures have to implement continuous improvements to meet these expectations, by improving the technologies, methodologies and principles. Their goal is minimize cost, delivery time, and increase quality.
So what the XYZ Enterprises is doing is training their employees to understand the concept of lean and lean principles so they can optimize the product and process by eliminating waste. They also focus on the development of new skills in their employees by teaching them those new skills. They are also very conscious about improvement, so, in the article it is shown how they have structured their processes and analyse them. They did not just train employees, they also analyse the whole organization so they can focus in the defects and improve them.
But, one thing they have recently done is performing Kaizen events. The first one they did was to eliminate the quality problem with the wheels. In this events they come up with a dial indicator that was recommended by one of the operators. In the second one there was only six members, where they had a brainstorming session. All of the suggestions were discussed.
So, even though these event were developed in Japan, other countries like India are using it because they see that they work. The problem that I see is that, for an organization like XYZ Enterprises, that has been using improvement methods in the past it is easy to implement Kaizen events. But, in other companies were they are not so close to these methods it is hard to convince the managers to include their operator´s opinions in their final decisions. So, how could these kind of companies be convinced to have Kaizen events? Or even harder, how a country, a culture could be change to introduce these practices?