Kaizen Events

Kaizen Events are relatively simple in format and can be used to make significant improvements when continually applied within your organization.  Each of the major components has subcomponents and parts. We will list them here then elaborate on them throughout this training so you understand and can apply each step.

In the most basic form, a kaizen event includes:

  • Event planning
  • Event execution
  • Event sustainment and expansion within the organization


The first part of Kaizen is to understand lean principles and Kaizen characteristics.  The second part is kaizen event planning which includes the following activities:

  • Leadership involvement
  • Scoping the event
  • Event logistics
  • Team formation
  • Pre event communication
  • Preparation


The third part of Kaizen is event execution which includes:

  • The Kaizen event kickoff
  • Documentation of the current state
  • Identifying waste
  • Performing root cause analysis
  • Brainstorming
  • Designing and testing improvements
  • Implementation of the improvements
  • Event wrap up


The final part of Kaizen is to set in motion sustainment activities and further developing the Kaizen culture of the organization.  Kaizen event planning is performed in advance of the event to be prepared to get the best results from your teams intense time spent on the improvement activity.
Here is an example of a Kaizen schedule:

  • Monday – Kaizen training and development of a problem
  • Tuesday and Wednesday – Process Analysis and improvement development
  • Wednesday afternoon – Implement improvements
  • Friday afternoon – Leadership update and out brief


The Kaizen event ‘charter project team’ roles include facilitators, value stream managers, process owners, process experts, executive members, improvement employees, and those outside of the process.  When developing the charter keep these things in mind.

  • Keep it simple
  • Challenge everything involved in the process
  • Focus on improvement not blaming others for issues
  • Kaizen data collection involves collecting data on the current state of a process prior to the event.


This is accomplished by walking through the process and it is helpful to have existing process mapping and value stream mapping available. If it does not exist this is the opportune time to develop it.  Kaizen data collection involves documenting all of the data points for your process as they are at the present. You don’t know where you are going to unless you know where you’ve been. What are the data points important to you?

  • Process waste
  • Reject levels
  • Lead times
  • Distance traveled
  • Work in process

Basically any measure you want to look at further and improve.  A kaizen event should always have a member of the executive team to display organizational support and alignment with the strategic goals.  We all want as much improvement as possible for each kaizen event.  Resist the urge to increase the breadth of area covered by a kaizen event or add a few more objectives.  Too large a scope actually decreases results.  Keep the scope tight and narrow and you will sustain more gains and create a more positive experience for the team.  To properly scope the event determine what your team can reasonably work on in the duration of the Kaizen event and what they are not going to discuss.
The Kaizen team will be composed of:

  • The Facilitator
  • The Process Owner
  • Process Experts
  • External Process Participants
  • Executive Team Members
  • Change Agents

The Kaizen team should consists of employees  responsible for and knowledgeable about the process.  Some employees who are not familiar with the process.  A Kaizen team with a total of 6 to 8 employees.