Kaizen Event

A Kaizen Event is a facilitated standard workshop that uses a team to improve process related problems. Originating in Japan in the 1970s, the Kaizen Event is designed to help teams solve process problems within their work area that are beyond the day-to-day work activities. The term “Kaizen” roughly means continuous improvement and since it is an “event,” it is time bounded – usually a week or less. The Kaizen Event is a fundamental, although often over-used Lean technique.

Kaizen Event Approach

Kaizen Events are highly facilitated sessions that bring a team together, usually 4 to 7 individuals who work within the process along with representatives from upstream (suppliers) and downstream (customers). Roughly the sequence of events is:

  • Describe the current state of performance and process steps
  • Identify gaps and problems (wastes)
  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Define the future state
  • Implement as much as possible and develop a plan for remaining open items.

The work utilizes an array of Lean tools and techniques. The Kaizen Event is chartered, with a tightly defined scope and usually lasts between 3 and 5 days and includes real-time training, an executive champion and a final report-out to interested and affected parties.

Kaizen Event Scope

Initially, these workshops were intended for manufacturing with the idea that the team would immediately (during the week) implement changes. This still happens, however, as the application of the Kaizen Event approach has expanded beyond manufacturing and into services and business processes of all types, the application of the Kaizen Event to problems and time-frames of less than a week (say 2-3 days) has become more common as well as the tendency to PLAN the changes versus actual DO the improvements during the event.


Other names for the Kaizen Event: Rapid Improvement Event (RIE), Accelerated Change Process (ACP), Work Out, Change Acceleration Process (CAP), Process Improvement Process (PIP) and the list goes on.

See also: Kaufman Global Service Offering: Kaizen Events

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