Kaizen is a Japanese word that loosely translates into “continuous incremental improvement” and generally is used to describe cross-functional process improvement teams that are convened to address a specific, narrow issue or opportunity in a focused (2-4 day) session. This approach is also known as “workout” or “Action Forum” in various companies.
Action Forum/Kaizen engages key stakeholders in solving a problem quickly:
Action Forum/Kaizen fits best when:
Pre-work: gather data on the process and/or opportunity, and identify a cross-functional team
Define: assemble the stakeholders; understand the opportunity, process, and customer needs
Investigate: agree upon the root cause(s) of the problem
Streamline: find and plan to pilot low-risk solutions to the problem
Control: implement changes and monitor the process to ensure the solutions are effective