Every journey starts with a single step. When you’re trying to improve your shop, it’s easier to start with small changes and goals. This is kaizen in a nutshell. Kaizen literally means “continual improvement”. When used at work, there are 5 key principles to kaizen: know your customer, let it flow, go to Gemba (or where the work happens), empower people, and be transparent. E2 can help with every step of this process.
Know Your Customer
One of the best ways to help your customers is to anticipate their needs by getting to know them. If you have E2, you can look back at any customer’s orders and see if there are any patterns or jobs that they would need. Now, you’re prepared the next time they send an order. By doing the research beforehand, you show your customers that you know about their business and you truly care. With E2, you can quickly find the correct information for each customer. These conversations could lead to more work for your shop or even bigger orders.
Let It Flow
For this step of kaizen, your shop is looking to create value and eliminate waste. E2 can help with this in several ways. For example, E2’s reports can pull up most data and let you know how that has changed over time. These reports can show you things like the time spent on a process or percentage of jobs delivered on-time. With job travelers, everyone on the shop floor can see which steps a job goes through. If you know where the job is supposed to go next, your shop can become more efficient. Although the folks on the floor might find a more efficient way to route a job if they see the whole process in front of them.
Go to Gemba
This part of kaizen is about going where value is created, which is the shop floor in manufacturing. If you’re in the front office most of the day, you might not have a clear picture of what’s happening on the shop floor. It can be helpful for you to spend time watching how jobs flow through your shop and seeing if there are any needlessly complicated processes. You have an overall picture of what the finished product is supposed to be, and your folks on the floor have a close-up experience of making those jobs. So it’s also a good idea to ask for feedback from your team. They will have a different perspective from you, including ideas of how to make it better.
One of the best ways to empower your employees is to give them more information about what’s going on around them. With E2, sharing this information is only a click away. People in shipping can see what jobs are coming up next. Someone running the machines can see what jobs they’ll have to run for the day and the order. With all of this information and more at their fingertips, your shop can better prepare for what’s coming and may even see some ways to become more efficient.
Your employees may also have time to do more things. With E2, data entry only has to be done once and reports can be generated with a few clicks. You can also create quotes much faster. Being able to finish similar tasks faster gives your employees the chance to learn new skills and complete more work. If they have the time, you could offer additional training, giving the employees more knowledge and information to make the shop even better.
In order to improve things in your shop, you have to track them. You’ll have even better gains if you share your goals with employees and how close you are to meeting them. For example, if one goal is to increase your machine uptime by 10% over the next three months, you could post your shop’s progress on a bulletin board. E2 makes this easy because all reports are only clicks away. Once the information is in E2, you can make any report you want, and all the information in it will be up-to-date and accurate.
With E2, you make all of the steps of kaizen easier to accomplish and maintain continuous improvement. The easier kaizen is for your shop, the easier it is to make your shop more efficient, make more money, and overall make it better. Who doesn’t want that?
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