Learn about KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management and its 5 Initiatives

Learn about KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management and its 5 Initiatives

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis affecting all aspects of life-personal, social, economic leading to a high degree of uncertainty. In this situation, individuals, organisations, and countries are working individually and together to create alternative solutions to the problems being faced. 

In this critical juncture where organisations are trying to minimise disruptions, reduce losses and come out stronger, Kazien Institute has developed an improvement strategy-a which can be adopted for the crisis period with 3 pillars:

KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management

KAIZEN™ in Organization Strategy

KAIZEN™ in Operations


In the blog, we will elaborate more on the first pillar KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management

This crisis offers an opportunity to take advantage of the available time in carrying out People Development, Process Development & Supply Chain enhancement.

The crisis poses different sets of challenges but also provides the opportunity to implement new KAIZEN™ Initiatives to tackle the challenges.

The pillar KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management is comprised of 5 Important Initiatives which is

  1. Crisis Management Digital Obeya
  2. Rapid Skill Deployment
  3. Accelerated Product Development
  4. Bridging the Sourcing Gap
  5. Extracting cash from working capital


Crisis Management Digital Obeya

Remote operations, working from home, a volatile supply & demand situation, a stressed workforce can create a daily crisis like situation which can be addressed by a Digital Crisis War Management Room.

This involves designing a dashboard for tracking critical business areas: manpower, revenue, cost, operations, customers, suppliers, projects etc and using the dashboard to conduct daily remote review meetings. This will ensure improved collaboration among teams, increased productivity, timely decisions & swift implementation of actions.

Rapid Skill Deployment

Changes in demand pattern & no availability of key staff due to displacement/movement restrictions can create a shortage of experienced and skilled manpower which can be overcome by implementing Rapid Skilling using TWI-JI  to enhance the skills of existing or new workforce by multi-skilling.

This involves the preparation of a Job Breakdown Sheet which involves breaking down the job into important steps and identifying key points. This is followed by training the operator by demonstrating the skill several times followed by the operator repeating the same in a well-defined and structured manner. 

This teaching method ensures workers can quickly learn necessary job skills and thereby ramp up productivity while at the same time perform the jobs correctly and safely to reduce waste.

Accelerated Product Development


During and post Covid-19, the markets are likely to change creating demands for new products to be supplied rapidly which can be met by Lean Project Management/Accelerated Development. 

This comprises five phases: Ideation, Design, Startup & Closeout. Various tools are used at different phases eg. Market introduction process, Set-Based Concurrent Design, Agile Software Development, Production preparation & Lean Capacity Management. The entire cycle is driven by Lean Project Management process to enable rapidly identify new product opportunities, quick launch and ramp-up of new products to fulfil market requirements efficiently and effectively.

Bridging the Sourcing Gap

Non-availability, delayed availability of material due to interrupted imported supplies or small suppliers unable to meet changing demands is another anticipated problem. This gap can be bridged by the “Sourcing & Suppliers model” of KAIZEN™ Business System. 

This process consists of the following steps:

  1. Demand Analysis
  2. Supply Analysis
  3. Sourcing strategy selection
  4. Supplier selection
  5. Supplier performance monitoring & Supplier Development


Various aspects of the sourcing process are addressed during these five steps eg.demand drivers, cost of ownership, supply market forces, cost drivers, supplier segmentation, sourcing levers etc  to identify the best mix of suppliers who can consistently deliver as per customer requirements and also work with them to improve their performance.

Extracting cash from working capital


The changing customer demands can result in an imbalance of inventory levels besides challenges in meeting delivery requirements. Lean Distribution System can realign inventory levels in warehouses & distribution centres and redraw logistics process to bring down inventory levels and release working capital. 

The flow will be created and wastes in the value stream will be minimized through the implementation of appropriate various flow management principles e.g. Pull planning, Inbound/Outbound flow, milk run, warehouse optimization facilitated by digital methods.

Depending on their critical challenges, organizations can choose the initiatives they wish to work upon duly supported and coached by KAIZEN™ Institute.

Author: Murali Venkitanarayana, Senior Consultant at Kaizen Institute

About Kaizen Institute

Kaizen Institute is the original and premier provider of KAIZEN™ services of Change Management, Business Excellence, Operational Excellence and Lean.

We support companies of all sizes in all market segments, providing them with a sustainable, competitive advantage. Our Vision is Improving the world with Everyone, Everywhere, Every Day – The KAIZEN™ Way. “KAIZEN™ means Change for the better.”

The KI is a global organisation which provides consulting services to companies represented in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East & America. We are currently operating in 60+ Countries for over 30 years.

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