“Kaikaku: Manufacturing Re-imagined” Update

Just over a year ago Manufacturing Engineering Magazine published the article “Kaikaku: Manufacturing Re-imagined”, which turns out was one of the most widely read articles of 2012 and one of the most discussed.   Since this time I have fielded many questions and had several conversations on this article and the full Kaikaku process which is much too involved to get into here.  That being said, for those of you who missed it, below is a short excerpt from the original article with a link going to the original.  Also, in the months to come we will focus on more Kaikaku related topics.

“Unlike kaizen, which is continuous improvement/incremental minor change, Kaikaku means radical change or a great reform to the system. While both Kaizen and Kaikaku can be applied to production, Kaikaku goes beyond production to break the existing paradigm and create a breakthrough using a new system or model.

There are many ways to create change within a company.  TPS or lean manufacturing improvement on an incremental  basis tends to come from middle management choice, identifying traditional wastes (seven wastes) from the production system and encouraging the day-to-day regular amount of placeholder or quota change that companies may require from their “lean” leaders.

There is a fundamental limitation with this in a typical western company, however.  Most managers only feel comfortable meeting internal demands by removing low hanging fruit, which is generally accepted and does not require a larger cost. Fundamental change, or that which requires executive approval, could possibly land the manager in a compromising position (jeopardizing their job or ability to advance within the company). Therefore, Kaikaku has to be a “top down” change. In fact, just as Kaizen is fundamental to the Toyota Production System, Kaikaku is the fundamental concept to the little talked about (or understood) executive system used at Toyota.

One of the biggest struggles for many manufacturing companies is getting executives to truly understand the vital importance of not only how much manufacturing details and systems can change profitability, but moreover, how they can impede it.

This comes down to one of the basic principles discussed in the book “Good to Great.” As Jim Collins wrote, it is all about having “the right people on the bus.” And this is particularly true at the executive level as they tend to influence culture within the company the most.”

For the full downloadable .pdf of the article just follow the link here.