In my last post i introduced you to the Japanese term 'Kaizen' meaning “change for the better” and as promised, I'm sharing with you a story of mine from 2013 that stood out for me as a great example of Kaizen in the workplace
· This organization was young technology company with an agile and dynamic approach to business also with diverse direct and indirect purchasing needs.
· They had an empowered stakeholder community (budget owners) who would shortcut the procurement process and thrived on maverick spending.
· On the other hand, financial controls had to be in place to ensure due diligence for company venture capital opportunities planned for long term.
Kaizen tools were implemented to identify the different types of waste in the current process. Surprisingly, Waiting time was identified as the number one waste area; “waiting - time” in attaining approvals that were not based on a defined internal authority matrix, “waiting time” to dig out supplier performance records that turned to be outdated and “waiting-time” in reinventing the wheel in developing specifications not building on historical procurement records. Eventually, the company’s’ time to market was shaken due to lack of visibility and real time access of fresh data, an integral part of decision-making.
Mid Term: An electronic supplier management tool was implemented, with the capability of online supplier self-registration, prequalification, involving cross functional assessment groups and supplier ranking with online scorecard capability. The Kaizen provided risk mitigation towards supplier management.
Long term: Internal stakeholder satisfaction surveys and gathering structured feedback from the stakeholder community to address those areas through immediate and radical change were employed.
So the above kaizens focusing on process improvement and involving employees across the organization, paved the way for a culture of radical, continuous and sustainable enhancement.
Did you experience any kaizens in your supply chain management over 2013? We’d love to hear them.