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Kaizen Support Office: Vital to lean culture

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If an organization is planning to start the journey of Kaizen/Lean, it is very important that management understands the nature of the entire Kaizen/Lean enterprise and then commit to a long term plan. Therefore Management Understanding & Commitment is the first step towards this journey. It is very important to see if the organization is ready to make such commitment to Kaizen/Lean  and is ready to devote/supply necessary resources & time to meet the goals of becoming a Lean organization.

But we have also noticed that many organizations fail and the main reason behind this is “top management is not committed.” Therefore if management do not understand Kaizen/Lean completely and is not committed towards building a culture of Kaizen/Lean you are doomed to fail.

Once management understands & is committed you should start focusing on setting organizational directions but many organizations finds it difficult when it comes to setting organizational directions. Generally the “do nots” are what is highlighted in the handbook or on the shop floor and these “do nots” are based on the past experience of accidents or incidents or abnormality that is caused by people. Therefore while setting organizational directions if you are not careful you may fall in the trap of such legislations. The Kaizen Support Office (KSO) is the perfect example of heading all Kaizen/Lean related activities which may take care of Systems, Training, Workshops, Targets, etc. A steering committee must be formed who can not only take care of cross-functionality  & representation of workers but also helps reinforce abnormality management & sustenance of improvements done. Such steering committee consists of top management, people responsible of setting directions (pillar experts), external consultants & union council (if required).

1. CI lean structure




– Sets the direction of the process (Target Definition)
– Determines the scope of activities
– Ensures the availability of necessary resources
– Carries out audit regularly and ensures that corrections are made whenever necessary
– Provides acknowledgement and support in difficult situations


– Regular meeting (Interval of 4-6 weeks)
– Duration max. 90 minutes
– Fixed structure for meeting
– Visualization and communication of results and decisions



– Support and coaching for the process of change
– Educating and training the parties involved
– Helping out in difficult processes and tasks
– Implement a system of visualization and result control
– Enabling implementation on-the-spot
– Securing the process through regular audits


– Execution of GEMBA Workshops according to standards
– Helping in the creation of a “Road Map”
– Implementing regular audits
– Helping to create training plans
– Helping to build-up an improvement organisation



– Serves as interconnecting link between the Steering Team, the Teams of Experts and the affected departments
– Organisation of Workshops (Invitation, documents etc.)
– Verification of the implementation of actions
– Qualification of staff
– Coordination of Meetings, Trainings, Workshops


– Qualification measures for staff
– Road Map and coordination of Action plans
– Create and control standards for codes
– Visualization and presentation of successes
– Organisation of training for methods and techniques



– Execution and coordination of KAIZEN activities in own department
– Education and training of colleagues
– Helping in the implementation of actions
– Maintenance of KAIZEN Board for own team


– Participation in the development of Standard Catalog
– Organising the implementation of standards
– Documentation and monitoring of actions
– Audit planning in own area
– Visualization of the successes of own team



– Creation of rules guiding the respective knowledge pillars
– Creation of factory-wide standards and guiding rules
– On-the-spot support for teams with technical competence and know-how
– Regular process auditing


– Information on factory-wide standards and rules
– Preparatory work for the Steering Team on final decision
– Organising regular Team meetings of the Team of Experts



– Attendance of regular Improvement meetings
– Participation in advanced training
– Participation in problem-solving in the team
– Assumption of personal responsibility and sponsorship
– Active participation in the implementation of ideas


– Coordination in teams across various shifts
– Using same methods and informing colleagues
– Joint and participatory creation of meeting plan



– To support the process of change actively
– Participation in improvement workshops
– Help in the implementation of actions
– Participation in the shaping of reasonable, feasible processes
– Leading by example in change activities


– Creating an environment for change
– Organising release or backfill for staff
– Organising the release of machines and facilities
– Support of visual management
– Maintenance of the qualification matrix of staffs

Kaizen Support Office – Organizational Structure

2 Kaizen Support Office

Kaizen Support Office – Responsibilities

3 Kaizen Support Office - Responsibilities

Quick Recap on Action Items

  1. Look whether top management is committed
  2. Develop Improvement Roadmap & Kaizen/Lean vision
  3. Form KSO & Steering committee and Train them
  4. Implement the improvement roadmap
  5. Sustain improvement done with the help of KSO & teams.

P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

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Author: Kaizen Institute - India!

Kaizen Institute – India is part of the Global Kaizen Institute operations. Kaizen Institute was established by Sensei Masaaki Imai, the GURU of Kaizen. He wrote the 1st book 28 yrs ago and that is when it all started . We operate in 30+ countries today and have over 400+ coaches helping more then 600 organizations Learn, Apply, Sustain – Kaizen/ Operational Excellence. In India we have two physical offices – Pune & Ahmedabad and 27 coaches in all.

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