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Kaizen Kit

Kaizen kits are packages of tools and supplies that support continuous improvement activities. The purpose of the kit is to streamline the kaizen process by having necessary tools and supplies gathered in advance.

The kit, if properly stocked with “artsy and craftsy” materials, or with tools that they would not otherwise think of, can also inspire creativity in teams. 

There is a tendency to borrow supplies and tools from ongoing operations to support continuous improvement efforts. The disruption this can cause is obvious. If tools are taken from an active process, the operation can be shut down.

A way around this it to package up kits to be used by kaizen teams. These kits have the tools and supplies that are routinely used in implementing change. They should be made as portable as possible to be able to bring they where they are needed. They may either be owned by a specific team for their own use, or they may be ‘signed out’ from a central location.

Make sure you have a method of managing the kits to make sure tools are not lost, and supplies are replenished after each use. Advanced kits incorporate a kanban system into the reordering process.

To determine what to add to your kit, log all the materials and equipment your teams use in every kaizen until you have a handful of data points. If some items that are not in the current kits show up repeatedly, add it to the kit.

 

A kaizen kit might include the following:

  • Office supplies: Scissors, hole punch, pens, colored paper, label tape, various colored post it notes, markers, dry erase markers, Sharpie pens, cardstock, box cutters, tape, graph paper, glue sticks, wood glue
  • Office Equipment: Label maker, laminator, glue gun
  • Kaizen expendables: Velcro, colored tape for marking floors
  • Creative Materials: Clay for modeling, clay shaping tools, closed-cell foam (for modeling), pipe cleaners
  • Training Materials: Flash drive with classes, DVDs, toys/knickknacks for icebreakers, Lego exercise kits, handouts, training exercise materials 

  • Have an owner for the kit. Joint responsibility doesn’t work well.
  • Determine how you will pay for materials. Generally, central budgets work best, as it can be hard to determine who used what.
  • Make sure people are trained on the 5S and kanban processes of the kits. Consider having people sign for them to create at least a temporary sense of ownership.

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