The Kaizen-Philosophy

...is based on the realization that a company wanting to survive and make a profit has to satisfy consumer needs to the full. Improvements in quality and production planning as well as minimising costs are essential factors. Kaizen is a customer-oriented improvement process which is used to increase customer satisfaction in all company activities.

Kaizen assumes that there is a need for improvement in any business. Within manufacture there are always entrapments or bottle-neck situations – the key is how companies handle them. Through the continuous improvement process the central focus revolves around the ideas and solutions of blue collar employees.

To achieve those constant improvements the company has to track and eliminate the 3M, (Muda [Waste], Mura [Contradictions], Muri [Physical Stress]).

Muda [Waste]

1. Overproduction:

Overproduction is when you produce more than you planned to.

Reasons could be:

  • Too many workers in one shift due to bad planning
  • Building up stocks to be safe against machine malfunctions

Carts and shelves should only be provided for a certain amount of production!!

2. Unnecessary movements (of the operator and/or the machine)

Inconvenient and non ergonomic arrangement of tools or working resources lead to unnecessary movement of the worker.

Long ways of tools for small workpieces which are progressed with too big machines lead to unnecessary movements of the machine, which may lead to waiting times for the operators.

3. Waiting times (of the operator and/or the machine)

Waiting times of the operator respectively the machine result form missing material, malfunctions or inconvenient process times: Machine works - operator waits till he can insert the next workpiece.

4. Transports

Transports of any kind are waste because they don't bring the workpiece closer to the desired state as they only change their position within the company.

How to keep this waste to a minimum?

  • Establish ways as short as possible, if necessary move machines or systems. Always keep in mind the direction in which the material flows. Where do the resources come from and where does the finished product go?
  • Connect systems to machines through shelves
  • If possible never transfer materials. Avoid unnecessary handling
  • Establish Kanban and materialsupplying through shootercarts, milkrun or AGVs

5. Production process

Remember „Low-Cost-Automation“:

  • No unflexible, fully automatic processes
  • Flexible, efficient processes with simple procedures

6. Mistakes

Establish Poka Joke:
Translated this japanese term means „avoid stupid mistakes“. A principle which includes technical precautionary measures for immediate mistake detection – respectively prevention.

  • Use of Pick-To-Light-Systems
  • Colored labels for order papers, supplies, containers and tools
  • mechanical locks prevent wrong material selection

7. Stocks

Materialstocks should be kept as low as possible, partially to avoid high storing costs. High stocks cause working processes to become confusing, raises the required spaceand increases the length of ways.


Just-In-Time (JIT) should be applied in all divisions:

  • Own production should produce in relation to orders
  • Suppliers should be as close as possible to allow small precise deliveries
  • Establishing supermarkets and Kanban to keep stocks in the production area to 2 hours

Mura [Contradictions]

Avoiding Mura:

Synchronisation of the different procedures for processing orders:

  • Harmonizing processes and their single procedures, relating to their expenditure of time to share them between stations, if necessary create new capacities or remove existing ones
  • Design supplies and workstations to always produce and transport the same amounts

The variance or imbalance expresses loss caused through missing or incomplete harmonizing of capacities in the production. Specific kinds of Mura are losses caused through queiung (queues of orders for specific stations/machines) and losses caused by capacities which aren't used optimal.

Muri [Physical stress]

Overload (Muri) means losses caused by overstrain in a production process. The 2 kinds of Muri are overstrain of the handling and overstrain of the production.

Losses in the handling process are caused by physical and psychological overstrain of the worker and express themself as tiredness, stress, increased amount of mistakes and reducing work satisfaction. Usually it is possible to avoid overstraining the worker and thus the caused loss by through use of handling support, constructive measures or changing the work environment.

Overstrain in the production process is often caused by wrong methods of determining incentive times for the working tact and tool changing as well as missing harmonizing of the production process. The result are queues and unnecessery stocks which hide malfunctions and mistakes in the process.
Optimizing the processes and harmonizing the processes helps.