Visual Management in Kaizen Approach

Introduction

Focusing on quality management is one of the crucial aspects of any company’s performance in its chosen area of business. Therefore, the introduction of quality control and improvement tools such as Kaizen, which allows changing the entirety of the corporate philosophy to focus on the constant assessment of performance quality, is essential. The inclusion of visual management tools represents an improvement in the supervision of quality processes and allows identifying emergent issues to respond to them in a timely manner. By including visual management tools in the Japanese quality improvement approach, one increases the extent of control over product quality and creates the philosophy of continuous progress that leads to a company’s further success.

Solution

The Japanese approach toward quality improvement has been used in quality improvement and organizational management for a while. Known as Kaizen, the framework consists of seven elements, which are ensuring involvement, establishing a problem, locating solutions, testing them introducing controls and analyzing results, applying the solutions found, and promoting a cycle of continuous improvement (Soufhwee, Mahmood, & Abdullah, 2018). Thus, by introducing Kaizen into the organizational philosophy and values, one launches a chain of changes that will eventually cause increased perceptiveness among staff members and faster management of their key responsibilities (Soufhwee et al., 2018). In addition, studies indicate that the introduction of the elements of visual management cause organizations to incorporate lean approaches into their SCM (Soufhwee et al., 2018). Specifically, Bacoup, Michel, Habchi, and Pralus (2018) argue that the inclusion of visual management will help to address not only SCM issues such as delivery time but also environmental concerns, namely, the production and disposal of waste. Therefore, the inclusion of visual management into the inventory of quality management techniques in an organization will reduce the amount of waste produced.

Moreover, due to the focus on visual aspects of quality management, the problems that typically pass under the radar due to their invisibility to the system will be identified promptly and removed by employees. Specifically, the use of the Kaizen approach as a part of the Japanese quality management philosophy will encourage a progression of rapid changes that will take an organization to a new level of quality management. Although manual analysis of every item produced or managed in the process of supply chain management may entail human errors and biases in judgments, it will still allow spotting the inaccuracies that the current automated system allows (Bacoup et al., 2018). Moreover, it will be necessary to support the use of the Kaizen principles with the corporate philosophy that is headed toward the improvement if quality via engagement of staff members and encouragement of them acquiring corporate social responsibility (CSR). Once the principles of CSR are used as the foundational idea behind employees’ performance, the instances of quality mismanagement will be spotted more accurately since the levels of employee engagement and their performance will rise (Souza & Alves, 2018).

Without the visualization of key data, employees may experience troubles implementing their tasks due to possible misunderstandings concerning the quality criteria, expected results, deadlines, and other essential issues. Therefore, the task of visualizing data related to the objectives of workplace performance should be perceived as the issue of utmost importance. However, with traditional quality management tools, the incorporation of visualization techniques may imply numerous challenges due to the need to coordinate two types of information sources, namely, the visual and the audial ones (Bacoup et al., 2018). Moreover, creating accurate and concise visuals that will represent the main information clearly and provide a detailed set of guidelines is quite problematic, especially for a company that includes multiple tiers of corporate performance and organizational processes (Souza & Alves, 2018). Therefore, the introduction of data visualization is absolutely critical for a company’s effective performance.

Visual management as an element of Kaizen as a tool for quality improvement leads to a more accurate assessment of quality control effectiveness and helps both managers and employees to have a better perspective of the goals and tasks that they have to accomplish for the company to thrive in the global market. The use of Kaizen as the principal Japanese approach toward quality assurance in organizations helps to create the philosophy of quality management and promotes engagement and corporate loyalty among employees. In turn, visual management stimulates staff members’ ability to promote a lean approach to quality and encourage staff members to use their critical skills and professional prowess to detect the instances of poor quality in products.

Recommendations

To improve the system and introduce visual management into the Kaizen-driven workplace environment, one will need to follow several pieces of advice. First, a company that needs to combine visual management with Kaizen techniques will have to ensure that the language used for developing the visual tools is perceived unanimously and homogenously across the team, with no possible misunderstandings observed. Unless staff members have a shared understanding of the ideas that visual tools provided for quality management convey, they will fail to meet the instructions and will be unable to cooperate, which is paramount to successful implementation of group tasks.

Organizations will also have to introduce another important innovation into their quality management process to apply the Kaizen framework effectively and interweave visual management techniques into it organically. The tools such as synergy maps and strategy charting should be used actively when addressing quality management issues and the performance process, in general, since, with their help, a leader will encompass a wide variety of performance aspects (Soufhwee et al., 2018). Thus, the factors affecting the quality of the end product will be located, and the approaches for handling these issues will be charted.

Moreover, innovative tools for controlling quality, mapping SCM processes, managing deadlines, and aligning the functions of every staff member will be needed. The devices such as digital value mapping will affect the management of product quality positivelydue to the opportunities for the effective arrangement of data, quick updates on the crucial information within the system, and extensive options for sharing knowledge among team members (Ma, Jiao, Lau, & Lin, 2018). Digital value mapping will also help to select new options for Kaizen designs within the corporate quality management framework.

Visualization of processes and the management of visual pieces of information will transform the process of quality management, encouraging regular updates within the system and keeping the progress consistent in line with the Kaizen principles. The inclusion of visual tools for data management defines the efficacy of information transfer, acquisition, and processing. By visualizing the production process and other aspects of the SCM, a manager will control the quality processes more accurately and will be able to locate a problem before it reaches the point where it affects key stakeholders. Thus, the principles of visual management will have to be used in companies along with traditional quality control tools to support the Kaizen framework.

References

Bacoup, P., Michel, C., Habchi, G., & Pralus, M. (2018). From a quality management system (QMS) to a lean quality management system (LQMS). The TQM Journal, 30(1), 20-42.

Ma, J., Jiao, F., Lau, C. K., & Lin, Z. (2018). The relationships between shop floor management and QCCs to support Kaizen. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 35(9), 1941-1955.

Soufhwee, A. R., Mahmood, W. H. W., & Abdullah, M. I. H. C. (2018). Visual inspection as a screening method in assembly process for quality improvement. Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology (JAMT), 12(1), 343-356.

Souza, J. P. E., & Alves, J. M. (2018). Lean-integrated management system: A model for sustainability improvement. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172, 2667-2682.