Kaizen Event Process

LSSE Kaizen Events: 

A Kaizen Event is an action that is deployed in order to improve processes. Kaizen, specifically, is the exercise of continuous improvement. Having continuous improvement allows companies to optimize their competitive strategy; do better, be more efficient than their competitors.


The Kaizen Institute identifies several guiding principles for Kaizen:

  • Good processes bring good result
  • Go see for yourself to grasp the current situation
  • Speak with data, manage by facts
  • Take action to contain and correct root causes of problems
  • Work as a team
  • Kaizen is everybody’s business



The following outlines the steps of a Kaizen Event that Lean Six Sigma Experts performs when working with a company to enhance their continuous improvement strategy.

Step 1: Assessment (2 full days)

Before the Kaizen journey begins, there needs to be a roadmap for continuous improvement. It is similar to a strategic plan for an organization. There needs to be a plan for Continuous Improvement for that function or team. During the assessment process, critical processes will be identified. A “Process Family Matrix” will be created that will help to rate each process as per its current status. With that assessment, the processes that need improvement using a relative ranking/rating system will be identified. This matrix will help to identify the list of Kaizen events. This will also serve as the roadmap for future Kaizen Events.

Once the matrix is created, the team will work to identify the event. Following that, we will identify all the pre-work/preparation required for this Kaizen Event.

Then begins the planning phase for this event. The dates for this event and its team members will be decided during this assessment.

There will need to be a combination leadership team members and core team members. Strategic decisions will be made on what process to work on and we will be rating each process relative to the strategic direction of the company. Typically, it will be core leadership team of the given department or function along with selected other key members who will be instrumental in leading and implementing the Kaizen Event.

Step 2: Actual Kaizen Event (One Week Long)

The actual Kaizen Event will involve carrying out the process improvement on the selected process. A typical Kaizen Event involves identifying and implementing the improvements quickly. As there may be process approvals we will work within them. We will focus on changes that we have control over and implement them within that week.

Here is the overview of steps involved during a typical Kaizen Event. Please note the times have been broken into phases.

Day 1 – ½ Day: Training:

  • The team will receive training on Basic Lean principles. Also, they will be trained on specific tools (VSM, Standard Work, etc) that will be required for the selected process. At the end of the day, the team will have enough lean knowledge to tackle the project

Day 2 – all day: Current State Mapping and Analyzes:

  • The team will map out the current state in detail, collect required data, and identify all the required improvement opportunities.
  • Towards the end of this day, the team will formulate future state of the process under consideration

Day 3 & 4 – all Day: Future State Implementation:

  • The team will finalize the future state and prioritize the improvements
  • The team will simulate the improvements via conference room pilots
  • Once the pilots are successful, the team will work on implementing those changes that can be implemented right away. The team will develop all the paperwork, procedure, etc required for implementing the changes.
  • For the changes, required for approvals or takes longer, we will develop a follow-up plan
  • Conduct trainings on the new process and implement the new process
  • Create training documents and standard work required for the new process

Day 5 – ½ day:

  • The team will finalize the details of the project
  • There will be an official project report out by the team to the leadership team or any interested parties
  • The report-out will have details of the changes, the new process information and will explain the Kaizen process that the team took to come up with the improvement. ·The team will create the follow-up action items for items that were not completed during the event.
  • Typically we expect all the open action items to be completed within 30 days.

Implementing Kaizen in your organization can be extremely beneficial. They give your organization a long term competitive advantage and strategy. How have you been able to enhance your continuous improvement program?