Elevating Manufacturing Process Efficiency with Kaizen Events: A Case Study
Keywords: Kaizen Event; Case Study; Throughput Improvement
Level: All Levels
Originating in Japan, Kaizen embodies the principle of "continuous improvement" or "ongoing enhancement," which has gained widespread acceptance across various industries and organizations worldwide. At its core, Kaizen revolves around the systematic pursuit of gradual, step-by-step enhancements to processes, products, or systems, aiming to elevate efficiency, quality, and productivity. A Kaizen event, referred to as a Kaizen blitz or rapid improvement event, constitutes a concentrated, time-constrained initiative designed to implement substantial enhancements in an organization's specific process or area. Typically, these events are brief, spanning a few days to a week, and involve a multidisciplinary team of employees who work intensively to address a particular problem or challenge.
This presentation illustrates the potency of Kaizen events in enhancing efficiency through a case study focused on optimizing a food and beverage disposable packaging manufacturing process throughput. The process has been experiencing suboptimal performance, adversely affecting its ability to produce and deliver products to customers on time. The event aims to boost throughput by a minimum of 10%, following the DMAIC roadmap.
This journey involves Gemba walks and meticulous observations to capture ideas, historical data analysis, root cause analysis to unearth underlying issues, brainstorming sessions to generate improvement solutions, application of PICK charts, and a meticulous prioritization process. Many tools have been harnessed throughout the process, including the Kaizen charter, root cause analysis, brainstorming techniques, data analysis and visualization tools, and the establishment of standard work procedures. The before and after performance were measured to verify the effectiveness of the improvements.
The Kaizen events resulted in over 10% increase in throughput, equivalent to over $475,000 in improvements. In conclusion, Kaizen emphasizes continuous improvement in various industries and organizations worldwide. It focuses on gradual enhancements to processes, products, or systems to enhance efficiency, quality, and productivity. Kaizen events, like the one in this case study, are concentrated, time-bound efforts involving cross-functional teams to address specific issues.
This presentation showcases the effectiveness of Kaizen events in optimizing a food and beverage disposable packaging manufacturing process. It underscores the impactful nature of Kaizen events in driving efficiency enhancements.
Dr. Mohammad Al-Rifai
Continuous Improvement Manager, SunOpta
Dr. Mohammad Al-Rifai holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor's and Master's in Mechanical Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. He has a wealth of experience in Lean Systems and Six Sigma, having earned various certifications over the years. He received his first professional Lean manufacturing training in 2005 and earned his Lean Systems Operation Excellence Champion Certification from the Institute for Lean Systems in 2008.
In 2007, he also received his Six Sigma Green Belt from the Institute of Industrial Engineers. In 2009, he became a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (ASQ CSSBB) by the American Society for Quality. In 2018, he achieved the status of Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (ASQ MMB) by the American Society for Quality. With almost two decades of experience working for large U.S. companies across various industries, Dr. Al-Rifai has an impressive track record of deploying strategic plans, improving efficiency, and reducing costs.
He is an expert in process improvement, operational excellence, strategic planning, project management, training, staff development, and operations management. He has also trained thousands of Lean Six Sigma champions. Dr. Al-Rifai wrote a book entitled “Lean Six Sigma: A DMAIC Roadmap and Tools for Successful Improvements Implementation,” which is currently being published by Productivity Press, Taylor & Francis.