The Japanese concept of KAIZEN creating great cost savings for the manufacturing industry has put emphasis yet again on how simplicity is bliss. One of the things that struck me in reading the Toyota article was reading the cliche: The devil is in the details. Indeed? Knowing how to improve a workflow necessitates the need to know the nitty-gritty details of operations. By doing so, one is given the right pair of eyes to look at things. The article shared below tells of a very recent completion of a major overhaul at a manufacturing plant that gave emphasis on the benefits of lean manufacturing and making the best superior working environment for its employees. It talks of extensive planning on the part of the Kaizen teams on how to build the best and most efficient facility. The renovations gives testimony to the company’s commitment to adhere by lean manufacturing and continue having energy efficient operations that are environmentally-friendly.
But what is really Kaizen aiming at? Is it to say that details are the and-all and be-all of things?
Kaizen teaches us a new religion in philosophy -- knowing the devil in the details is not enough: knowing the details that matter from those that don't DOES. We need to know everything in order to know what to leave behind. From knowing the difference, we are able to make the changes we need to make -- reduce a cycle time there, cut an unnecessary edge there. A simple change may be a small difference, but when taken the extra mile together with all the other little changes, creates this ripple effect of efficiency chain that enables us to attain new effective ways to improve how we do business. With renewed efficiency, life is made better for a lot of people -- from the employee, to the satisfied customers. That being said, I say KAIZEN's applications is not limited to just the mechanics of lean manufacturing. It is just the tip of the iceberg.