I am re-reading the book, Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy by Masaaki Imai (founder of the Kaizen Institute, Ltd.).
In the book, I enjoyed seeing this list of where to focus on improvements in your process:
- Making the job easier
- Removing drudgery from the job
- Removing inconvenience from the job
- Making the job safer
- Making the job more productive
- Improving product quality
- Saving time and cost
I don’t think this list is prioritized, but he mentions that most companies only focus on #7, and we wonder why employee engagement isn’t happening.
Focus on the other areas and watch what happens. You’ll likely get better employee engagement and buy-in, and the time and cost savings will still be achieved (a nice by-product).
When you focus on cost savings, you get solutions that often make workers dislike their job, or it removes value for your customers. Focusing on your worker’s needs makes them feel valued, and they do better work.
If you haven’t read Gemba Kaizen yet, I highly recommend it. It provides a great overview of Lean methods.
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