I would like to take you through a useful Lean Tool called the Kaizen Newspaper.
Just like a real newspaper, the Kaizen Newspaper is a great way to summarise the main headlines of the activities that are of interest for your work area.The kaizen newspaper is a visual management tool for detailing and grouping a set of improvement actions that you intend to make happen.
What is it primarily used for?
The Kaizen Newspaper is mainly used to facilitate the following:
- Assigning improvement activities to individual,sub team or team members
- Create action quickly
- Keep track of activities and level of completion
- Help maintain team momentum
It can be the main summarising and reporting mechanism for a team of people working on Continuous Improvement activity in a particular area.
What does a kaizen newspaper look like?
Typically a kaizen newspaper is written up on an A1 flip chart.The very top of the flip chart should have the following information: The words ‘Kaizen Newspaper’, the team name, the area they are working in, and the date.Straight after this, the following headings need to be written up going from right to left with column lines separating them.
ACTION WHO WHEN OUTCOME
For each continuous improvement activity the above detail needs to be added
For example,Under the ACTION column you may write ‘Review storage system of files’,under the WHO column you may write ‘Fred Lean’, and under the WHEN column you may write ’10am-12pm’
At this stage the OUTCOME column would be left blank.Typically this is filled in after a review of the actions has taken place. i.e. if Fred Lean was charged as a member of the team to go and review the storage of files between 10am and 12pm we may have a review meeting at 1pm where Fred would give us an update of how he got on.We would then update the outcome column with the fruits of Freds’ labour.
Obviously there would be an action, who, when, outcome entry for every continuous improvement activity that we come up with.Hopefully you get the idea. As well as using paper flip charts by being a bit creative, you can help save the planet. I’ve made up a fold-able A4 kaizen newspaper from laminated white card that folds out to A1 size. I’ve also recently started to use ‘magic white board’ on a roll which was featured on “Dragons Den”.
When, Where and Why do you use a kaizen newspaper?
One reason for using a kaizen newspaper is when we are running a Rapid Improvement Workshop / Kaizen Blitz Event.It is a great way to track the teams action throughout the few days that you have to make improvements.That said,it can also be very effective in helping run day to day activities in any operational area.Only actions associated with the improvement of the area should be put on the paper.i.e. It is not a personal wish list but a process improvement list associated with eliminating one or more of the seven classic wastes.Typically the newspaper needs to be situated in a focal point where everyone involved knows its location. The tool works best when we use it to assign short bursts of activity.i.e. We assign a few hours worth of activity,review that activity and then write up a new chart for the next set of actions.This helps keep momentum going and makes the newspaper a living document that people actually use.
Who is responsible for creating the Newspaper?
There needs to be an owner for the Kaizen Newspaper. This typically should be the groups team leader, a team facilitator or a person within the team that has agreed to co-ordinate the improvement work.They need to organise regular reviews of activity and make a judgement call as to when to write up the next Kaizen Newspaper.
The Kaizen Newspaper is a very straightforward Lean Tool. Although it is very simple its power is often overlooked. When used well, it can help facilitate a real buzz and a sense of contributing to the overall good within a group.