Kaizen Event Supplies - Basic Stuff for Effective Events

airdrop picThe kaizen pre-event planning phase is critical to event effectiveness. It includes the obvious - event definition from the perspective of scope and targets, team selection, communication and certain acceptable pre-work, but sometimes the simple stuff gets missed. The simple stuff includes kaizen supplies - well organized, in a 5S way!

It's definitely muda if a kaizen event team(s) is hamstrung, mid-event, while they're waiting for a handful of cheap stopwatches to get picked up from the local giant box store or waiting for someone to track down some standard operations forms because they were all consumed during the last event and never replaced. The list of possible annoyances is pretty long.

Kaizen events are finite in length, typically three to five days in duration. If it's a mini-event, it may be a day or so. Time is of the essence! Lost time means delayed or lost improvements and frustrated team members.

So, while we're trying to implement lean, doesn't it make sense that the kaizen event supplies are designated, sized, stored, presented and replenished in a lean manner? Of course it does. It just happens that it's important, but not urgent. At least until that uh-oh moment, when a team determines that they're missing a necessary supply item.

Sometimes, the reason for this phenomenon is that the organization is just cheap (penny-wise and pound foolish), there is no KPO to worry about this stuff or the KPO isn't quite up to speed. The kaizen principle of "bias for action" is not an excuse for sloppiness.

See below for a basic list of kaizen event supplies. (Here, I am not talking about the typical 3P-type supplies - cardboard, PVC, plywood, Creform, etc.) Most should be specified, stored and presented point of use in the team's break-out room. Some things, like laminators, may be shared amongst multiple teams. The KPO should make use of a kaizen team supply list which specifies the standard quantity of each item, item description, a field for an end-of-event inventory count and a field to reflect the quantity which needs to be replenished before the next event.

Of course, some things are difficult to anticipate that they will be needed for the event. For example, a 3X4' magnetic dry erase board is usually not inventoried. These non-"supermarket" items will have to be bought-to-order during the event.

Stored within Plastic Storage Bin
  • 6 clipboards
  • 1 set of laminated copies of standard forms (5S audit sheet, time observation form, standard work sheet, etc.)
  • 6 stopwatches
  • 1 pedometer
  • 1 25' tape measure
  • 1 box of pencils (pre-sharpened)
  • 3 white erasers
  • 1 box of pens
  • 1 box of flip chart markers (multi-colors)
  • 1 box dry erase markers (multi-colors)
  • 1 dry eraser
  • 1 18" ruler
  • 6 8.5X11" legal pads
  • 2 calculators
  • 1 stapler
  • 2 rolls of scotch tape in dispenser
  • 2 rolls of masking tape
  • 1 box blank overhead projector sheets (for us dinosaurs)
  • 1 box paper clips
  • 1 box rubber bands
  • 3 pkg of yellow sticky notes 3X3"
  • 3 pkg of orange sticky notes 3X3"
  • 3 pkg of green sticky notes 3X3"
  • 1 scissors
  • 1 pkg 8.5X11" multi-color paper
  • 1 pkg 11X17" multi-color paper
  • 1 pkg 8.5X11" laminating pouches
  • 1 pkg 11X17" laminating pouches
  • 1 box Sharpies (multi-colored)
  • 1 box push pins
  • 1 adjustable 3-hole punch
Not Stored within Plastic Bin
  • 3 flip chart pads
  • 1 box flip chart markers
Shared among Teams
  • 1 digital camera
  • 1 video camera
  • 1 label maker
  • 1 laminator
  • 1 measuring wheel
  • 1 roll 36" wide kraft paper or white plotter paper
  • 1 LCD projector (located in presentation room)
  • 1 overhead projector (located in presentation room)
  • 1 color printer (11X17" capable)

Am I missing anything?

Related post: The Kaizen Promotion Office Does What? 8 Critical Deliverables.

There are 4 Comments

Tim McMahon's picture

Mark, good list. I have also found at least in planning the kaizen that having food and refreshments available to the team keeps them energized and focused. One category you did not mention here that you may have assumed was already available was 5S realted supplies, like floor markings, labels, shadow board materials, etc. We have even ste-up a store of surplus supplies for 5s activities that kaizen teams can use if they need to.

markrhamel's picture

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the comment! Yup, it's a great idea to feed the troops - keeps their energy up, provides some level of reward, and eliminates the reason for them to leave the site during the kaizen. I include in that in the "logistics" part of pre-planning. As for 5S supplies, you are spot on. A mobile 5S cart with the requisite colored tapes, pin-striping tape, paint, brushes, rollers, labels, label maker, etc. is a great asset.

Best regards,

Andrew Bishop's picture

In addition, I keep a set of standard handouts for reference. Nothing long-winded, but large font text of basic material (each filling an 8.5 x 11 page):
The seven wastes
The "cures" (examples of reliable methods to attack the wastes)
Steve Spear's four rules
An image of the PDCA cycle
A page explaining PDCA
Kaizen ground rules
The calculation of takt time.
Examples of operator load chart, spaghetti map, and time-value map
A few choice quotes from Shingo, Ohno, and others (e.g. "why don't we make work easier..." that provide some starting places. Reminders from our teachers.

We cover all this stuff in the preparatory training, but our people have told us they like having the large format notes during the "classroom" part of the training, during the change event, and to take with them.

Oh, and legos… Though some might count them in a separate "training" bin, I rarely do simulation type training outside warm-ups for "kaizen events", which I emphasize to participants are as much about their training and development as they are about the change we accomplish.

markrhamel's picture

Hi Andrew,

Great comment! A standard company-branded pre-event training reference is a wonderful tool, especially for those participants who are fairly new to the process. There's only so much that can be absorbed in the classroom. And...as I get older, large font is an excellent idea.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Best regards,