What is a Six Sigma Kaizen?

A Six Sigma Kaizen Event brings process experts and technical/problem solving leaders together for a period of one to five days to accomplish one or more very specific goals inside the DMAIC framework.

When is a Six Sigma Kaizen Event Useful?

  • When the project isn’t moving fast enough through the normal process of weekly team meetings, a focused Kaizen event can often accomplish one  to three months of work in one week.
  • When a problem solving team is spread out geographically and cannot seem to move forward with conference calls or video conferences (this is especially true when different countries are involved).
  • When teams run into technical roadblocks and simply need time to “hash things out” together in the same location.

What Makes a Successful Event?

  • Specific goals.  The entire DMAIC process can rarely be covered in one week, so an achievable set of goals within the DMAIC framework is essential.  An example goal statement might be, “Complete a Gage R&R study on feature XYZ, and run a Multi-Vari study to understand if our variation source is primarily part-to-part, within-part, or time-to-time.”
  • A good facilitator.  Team members must believe that the facilitator can keep the team on track and lead them to a successful outcome.
  • The right team.  The right team is a blend of process expertise (those who understand the process being studied more than anyone else in the business) and engineering/manufacturing/quality leaders who can come together and get the job done.  Of all these functions, process expertise is the most critical.

The next time you find your project being stalled for one or more reasons, consider a focused Kaizen to power through to the next phase of your project.