We completed our finance kaizen event today with a greater appreciation and understanding of the problems our finance associates had to endure monthly in one of financial processes. Working as a focused team, we implemented a new standard work process that made this process just a little bit easier and better.
Final results for our efforts include new documented standard work, 8% productivity improvement, 33% leadtime improvement, elimination of 4 unnecessary reports, and the elimination of one major barrier that prevented seamless monthly reconciliation in this process.
In addition to these immediate improvements, our team found additional opportunities that will require some longer term efforts not discovered until we spent the time to grasp the situation and understand the problem. Our hypothesis, with our proposed improvements, is that our productivity can be improved 50%. Our kaizen team already has developed a solid plan to go after it.
In my last post, I mentioned the fact that a solution was thought up by one of our kaizen team members within the first 8 minutes of our data collection. We did log this idea into our “Parking lot” list to be revisited after we completed our data collection and analysis. This reflected our respect for the person with the idea and our wish not to lose any ideas during our kaizen process. As it turned out, this idea was used as part of our initial countermeasure.
However, if we had jumped right to this idea and skipped our detailed data collection and analysis steps, we would have arrived at only part of our countermeasure and missed entirely the deeper problem. With the deeper problem revealed, we have the opportunity for greater improvement.
More importantly, during this transactional kaizen event, we have helped develop the problem solving skills of several of our financial associates in our quest to improve the process to improve the people.