Recently, 15 Brooks team members began a “kaizen” in our Pressure Gauge manufacturing cell. Kaizen, for those of you who may not know, translates into “good change” or “change for the better.” In practice, it refers to efforts of a multi-functional team working in a short-term, concentrated “blitz” fashion to realize continuous process improvement. Basically, you examine the current state of the cell operation, begin to build a vision of an improved “future state,” and then drive to get to the future state quickly (for example, improvements/results expected by the end of the week).
The main focus of the Kaizen is to identify and eliminate waste. Waste in manufacturing includes excess motion, waiting, overproduction etc. As you can imagine, lead times can be greatly improved by finding and eliminating waste during this process. Reducing lead times allows us to improve quality and delivery— two things where all customers should be happy to see improvements. Of course, we ultimately expect this process to help us grow sales and earnings for the product line.