Nichijo Gemba Kanri or Daily Work Management is an integral part of KAIZEN™ journey. As we always maintain, the success of a KAIZEN™ journey relies on the critical factor which is “top management commitment”. When we discuss top management commitment, the two important roles of leaders in every organization which comes to our mind are:
• Manage the daily businesses effectively & smoothly
• Strategize and Execute actions as to achieve Organization Goals and Vision
Or in other words, we can rephrase these statements into two initiatives namely:
• NichiJo Gemba Kanri (roughly translated as Daily Work Management)
• Hoshin Kanri (Roughly translated as Policy Deployment)
On the primary look, the relationship between these two initiatives might look opposite, however, the fact is, they complement each other in principles. While the objective of Nichijo Kanri is to sustain the improvements made in the journey, Hoshin Kanri focuses on improvements to be made as to achieve Strategic goals through Breakthrough KAIZEN™s. Practising Nichijo Gemba Kanri would minimize the crisis-management or minimize the fire-fighting incidents whereas practising Hoshin Kanri ensure the business grow in the right direction as defined. If one must explain these two initiatives in the KAIZEN™ perspective, Nichijo Gemba Kanri is the SDCA (Standardize-Do-Check-Act) cycle while Hoshin Kanri is the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle.
Thus, Nichijo Gemba Kanri becomes a pre-requisite for Honshin Kanri.
As we have seen, Nichijo Gemba Kanri is all about standardising. Before monitoring and reviewing processes in functions or departments, one must ensure that the processes are defined, standardized and controlled. It does not stop here. It should also pave the way for the value-adders to explore the possibility of improving the processes from time and again. The criticality of this aspect is it should be happening daily. Such practices are termed as Daily KAIZEN™.
At the outset, the parameters that need to be monitored and reviewed in the Daily KAIZEN™ must be carefully chosen. The ingredients should be chosen in such a way that it gives the maximum benefits to the process-owners from the Daily KAIZEN™ meetings but at the same time, the board should not be cluttered and the team members shouldn’t go clueless while conducting the meeting. If one does not understand these concepts and yet go-ahead to “implement” Daily KAIZEN™ on a piece-meal basis, they are bound to fail. Perhaps, this is one of the many reasons that Daily Work Management (Nichijo Gemba Kanri) initiative fails in most organisations. The Daily KAIZEN™ board has four major divisions. Our Team, Our Gemba, Our Performance and Our KAIZEN™ (Improvements).
Before setting up the Daily KAIZEN™ Board, let us ask ourselves a few questions:
• Have we defined our functional goals?
• Are the goals cascaded into daily KPIs?
• Are the Result KPIs & respective Process KPIs identified?
• The team is formed, and the Leader & the deputy are identified?
• 10 Golden Rules of the Daily KAIZEN™ is made clear to the Team members?
• Leaders’ role is explained (all the 15 roles) to the Leader and deputy?
• Is the Skill Matrix of the team members mapped?
• Is a schedule for the development action plan for value-adders based on skill matrix prepared?
• Do we take actions whenever a gap is observed between desired status and actual status?
• Are the actions are recorded?
• Do we track safety status? Near misses? Mean-time between accidents?
• Status of progress in 5S initiatives
The Daily KAIZEN™ board should provide answers to all these questions.
Once the Daily KAIZEN™ meetings start getting practised across all the Tiers in the organization, one has to establish the standards for Gemba-walks by leaders, reviews, audits. This is not only for ensuring compliance but also for making improvements from time and again.
The benefits of practising Nichijo Gemba Kanri are:
• Minimized firefighting/ minimized crisis management
• Sustenance of improvements
• Enhanced employee involvement – People as root-cause problem solvers
• Better alignment of actions to goals
• Leaders find more time for strategic initiatives
As we all are aware, the elements of Nichijo Gemba Kanri are:
• Standardisation of 4Ms
• Visualisation of the Standards
• Leader Standard Work
• Daily Accountability Process
These interconnected elements reflect Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles when practised as a routine would benefit the organizations. If one must build a culture, practising Nichijo Gemba Kanri is the way. Through Daily KAIZEN™s, we change the routines of the employees, which, in turn, change their behaviours & their habits and thus their culture.
It does not matter where do we start Daily KAIZEN™ if we prepared ourselves to survive failures, learn from them, and continue experimenting. The very purpose of having the Daily KAIZEN™ is to develop the capability of the team members to solve the problems by themselves rather than counting on the support of their leaders.
A visual that lacks the target condition & actual condition is only a display. If one can make out the abnormalities or gap from the visuals, then it is Visual Control. If one can make a judgment out of the display, then it is termed Visual Management. The very purpose of tiered meetings is to monitor the process performance metrics on a board – Visual Management. When this visual board is supplemented with a 3C sheet, the Daily KAIZEN™ meetings become more effective.
We need to throw light on what prevents us from reaching the target condition, what causes it, how to overcome it, who will resolve it and over what time it will be done. So, these entire factors must be captured on a single sheet. Let us use the 3C sheet. They are:
• Concerns (that prevents us from reaching the desired condition)
• Causes (Potential, Assignable, Chance – for the birth of the concern)
• Countermeasures – (all possible)
The critical success factor is the 3-C sheet which the team fills and tracks daily. The 3-C represents the Concerns, Causes and Countermeasures. As the tiers climb up, these 3-C sheets are not used but the Daily Accountability process is adapted. Rather than writing the concerns and countermeasures on the sheets, the members voluntarily accept the accountability of resolving the abnormality observed in the process.
The element of Leader Standard Work facilitates the principle Leaders as Coaches. Leader Standard Work aims to develop routines for leaders of all levels. Process conformance, adherence to Standard operating sequence, the following standards are all audited by the Leaders. In case of deviations observed, if any, the Leaders probe gently on identifying where it went wrong in the processes and tries to correct or improve it. Gemba Walks are done by leaders at all levels for a variety of purposes.
Daily KAIZEN™ meetings expose the hidden problems on a day-to-day basis. One would always observe that ever since they started the Daily KAIZEN™ meetings, the surfacing of problems has become regular. This is a good sign. Unless the problems are surfaced, they would never be resolved. These are the stages of Daily KAIZEN™. Initially, it enables people to see problems and once they learn to “see” problems, they will be taught to resolve the problems and in the next stage, they are taught to sustain the improvements. While all these are reactive, the final stage is about Proactive actions. This is essential for successful Hoshin Kanri.
Having regular Daily KAIZEN™ Meetings from the bottom-most tiers result in benefits of exposing and resolving practical, day-to-day problems. This brings results faster than being tackled and resolved at higher-tiers, long-term, strategic issues through top-tier meetings. Even small successes can build enthusiasm and belief, as front-line teams get the attention and support, they need.
While one agrees that there is no single way of having these Daily KAIZEN™ meetings, creating a standard for such meetings always help. Let us begin with a set of standards and we progress, review, there is always a scope for improvement. At the end of the day, KAIZEN™ is all about the pursuit of perfection in all the processes perennially. Let us keep doing that.
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