Quality Circles or Gemba Kaizen
If you watched the London Olympics and wondered about the extraordinary dedication of all of the athletes, winners and runners up alike, imagine if you could unlock that sort of power in your workforce! Well you can and here is how.
The politicians are talking about 'legacy'. Make the development of your people the 'legacy'!
Do not listen to anyone who says 'we tried it once and it did not work'. They may have tried it once but we can assure you that they made a mess of it. It was not the concept that was wrong it was their approach. Even if this was you, and you are hesitant about starting again, we can help you do it successfully this time. If you do then you will be astonished by the results?
Sceptical? Then give us the opportunity to explain further.
Kaizen (or more accurately - Gemba Kaizen) is based on exactly the same philosophy as Quality Circles. Whichever term you choose is merely personal preference. Quality Control Circles, e-Quality Circles discover loss groups, self managing work teams are all based on the same fumndamental principles and work in exactly the same way. Initially the concept was only known as Quality Control Circles but in Japan as elsewhere, rivalry between companies has resulted in reluctance to use the same terminology as leading competitors to avoid accusations of 'me too'. Consequently there are several terms that have alternatives, for example, Toyota are known for the development of the 'Just in Time' concept but in Nissan it is called 'Stockless Production'. Throughout Japan, small group problem solving and self managing teams are variously known as 'Discover Loss Groups', 'Zero Defect teams', Quality Circles, Kaizen or simply 'self managing work groups'. However, a Quality Circles convention will attract all of them.
The term Kaizen (which literally means 'improvement'. Gemba Kaizen means 'Workshop Improvement') was brought to the West by a very perceptive Japanese Professor in the mid 1980s who recognised a market opportunity resulting from the insatiable appetite for all things Japanese at that time. He was also lucky or planned his marketing to coincide with the reduced popularity of the term Quality Circles. Those organisations that had made unsuccessful attempts to introduce Quality Circles but wanted to make a fresh start eagerly accepted the new term in order to avoid the bad name they had created for Quality Circles. This was fine up to a point but unfortunately there is no international support organisation for that name, only for Quality Circles and so the opportunity for cross fertilisation between different companies was lost. Benefits of Quality Circles (Gemba Kaizen)
Approximately 80% of work related problems in terms of cost are management solvable which means that 20% are not. Unless the workforce becomes fully involved in the business improvement process it follows that the organisation will always be some 20% at least below optimum performance which could be life threatening.
Quality Circle activities enable the ultimate benefit from:
- Total Productive Maintenance - involvement of the workforce in process improvement.
- Lean manufacture including - SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies) and set up time reduction
- 5S/5C or CANDO.
- Autonomation (JIDOKA) - using single part production methods and the Kanban approach.
- Root Cause Analysis.
- Poke Yoke (mistake proofing).
- Quality related Cost reduction.
- Flexible Work groups.
- Improved overall performance
How DHI can help you maximise the power of your workforce through Quality Circles (Gemba Kaizen).
- Review the effectiveness of existing participative programmes.
- Advise on how to maximise performance.
- Conduct introductory presentations to all levels of management and the workforce. If necessary hold discussions with management groups and the Unions where relevant.
- Steering Committee training.
- Facilitator Training.
- Team Leader training (it is advisable that the trained facilitator and the team leader train the teams as part of their development rather than the external consultant)
- On going support.