Celebrate your employees’ kaizen improvements by creating your company’s own Kaizen Wall of Fame. While I visited Japan, I noticed that several of the companies proudly displayed all of the small improvement ideas from their employees. It’s easy to do and can greatly benefit your lean journey.

First, implement a small, simple kaizen. These are the small, common, ordinary improvements that we tend to overlook as insignificant or not important. An example would be where an employee added a recycle bin by the copy machine. Or another employee thought to eliminate a report that is no longer needed. To get a better understanding of the small, simple kaizen approach, I highly recommend that you read “The Idea Generator, Quick and Easy Kaizen” by Bunji Tozawa and Norman Bodek. This book does an excellent job of explaining the quick and easy kaizen approach.

Second, have the employee who created the improvement answer these three simple questions (just a short, single sentence answer per question is needed):

  • What was the problem?
  • What was your idea?
  • What was the result or benefit?

Third, take before and after pictures to better explain the simple kaizen idea along with a picture of the employee. Make it personal.

Finally, hang a laminated, color copy of the idea on the wall in your facility where everybody can see it.

By posting the idea on the wall, you give instant recognition to your employees for making the improvement. You also encourage the small, frequent kaizen approach. Another benefit, you create a company-wide communication board to share all these ideas. Finally, it helps motivate everyone to join in the fun of kaizen.

A side note, one Japanese company (only 200 employees) that I toured last fall will try to implement 50,000 of these kaizens this year. Your company may not produce quite that many, but I would still plan on using a BIG wall.

About the author:

Mike Wroblewski started his lean journey with instruction in quick die change from Shigeo Shingo. Mike is president of Victory Alliance Technologies, a Greensburg, Ind., firm that specializes in lean implementation. He writes a blog called " Got Boondoggle?" featuring lean and Six Sigma topics. Mike can be reached by e-mail at mwroblewski@victory-alliance.com.