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8th Edition 

August 2011

In This Issue
Reduce Construction Waste with Preplanning
The 15 Step Outline of a Typical Lean Kaizen Event

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Reduce Construction Waste

with Preplanning


 By Ted Angelo


Anyone who works on a Grunau job is aware of how important preplanning is. Preplanning is essential in every facet of business.


Our Sheet Metal Shop remembered the "KIS" principle (Keep it Simple) when they created an easy preplanning tool for loading the delivery trucks. They painted 2 boxes on the shop floor that are the same dimensions as our Grunau truck beds.


As the sheet metal fabrication flows through the shop in a            U-shaped manufacturing cell, the completed fabrication is adjacent to the area identified below. Therefore, there is little movement from the finished fabrication area to the painted boxes. This way, they can pre-stack the fabricated items that are done and ready for shipment in the painted box area. When the "box" is full, they know they have a fully loaded truck. The box outline helps them identify exactly what will fit and what won't before they go to the trouble of actually loading the truck. This eliminates wasted time and double-work. In addition, it is a much safer process. This certainly illustrates the culture which allows individuals to use one of the tools from our lean tool box and brainstorm this simple but effective process change.


Grunau Preplanning  


As a result, this preplanning created a way to make the job more efficient, cut out waste, and add greater value to our customers. 


The 15 Step Outline of a Typical
Lean Kaizen Event

While the event area, area improvement requirements, actual results, and team members may never repeat from Kaizen Event to Kaizen Event, "Standard Work" does apply to all Kaizen Events. Use the 15 step outline shown below as the starting point for continuously improving your Kaizen Event activities. (Remember, no Kaizen Events should occur other than those specified in the activity which links your organizations goals with Lean - Policy Deployment).



by Larry Rubrich


Step #0 - Event Preparation - Select event area, team, and create team package. 
  1. Area selection should be based on Policy Deployment. 
  2. About half of the team should come from the work area while the other half come from outside the immediate process. At least one person should be unfamiliar with the process and not afraid to ask questions and challenge current thinking. The supervisor of the area is not always a good choice. Team members may assume they are still expected to take orders from the boss even though we tell them this is a team effort.
  3. Team package is the written documentation used as background and reference information and should include:
  • Site/production hours per day/week
  • How to handle abnormal conditions
  • Event budget and how to obtain supplies 
  • Event support personnel contact list

  • Results of prior events or improvements 

  • Complete set of blank documentation sheets
  • Definition of the problem and event goals

  • Specifications and drawings 

  • Customer's schedule requirements by day/shift

  • Processing required at each operation

Step #1 - Define the scope and goals of the event.   
  1. Goals are defined based on the reasons the event area was chosen.
  2. Write goals on Kaizen Event Summary Sheet or flip chart. 

Kaizen Event Summary


Step #2 - Train the team. Review the Lean/World Class Tool(s) and Techniques that support the team's goal.


  1. Training on the focus of the event (VSM, 5S, Kanban, TPM, Setup Reduction, etc.) 
  2. Include stages of team development.  

Step #3 - Walk the event area, observe physical layout, review videos if  available. This step starts the idea creation process.


  1. Allows everyone on the team to see the current situation and potentially dispel any misconceptions they had about the process. 
  2. Review goals of the event during the walk through.

Step #4 - Collect data on event Area (Scrap, Production, Time Studies, Videos, Etc.) - Develop/obtain the baseline performance measurements.


Collect data on the event area. Examples:  

1. Number of associates

2. Amount of inventory

3. Size of area

4. Other pertinent information

5. Fill in any missing data on the Kaizen Event summary sheet


Step #5 - Brainstorm ideas - Thinking "outside the box" and piggybacking important here.


Brainstorming Rules: 

  • State problem in form of question
  • Record ideas on flip chart
  • Quantity of ideas most important
  • Don't limit thinking or imagination
  • No discussion, criticism, or judgment until all ideas have been presented
  • Encourage participation by all
  • Piggyback - build on each other's ideas
  • When all ideas have been presented - review each for feasibility and impact

Step #6 - Use multi-voting to prioritize top 8-10 ideas that will be worked on immediately.


Step #7 - Form Sub-Teams to go out and try/implement ideas.


  1. Team members assigned to or volunteer for a specific project.
  2. Record roadblocks (items that require action) on the Kaizen Event Project Sheet.
Step #8 - Check results - Each sub-team reviews their results with the entire team so that consensus can be developed on the direction of each sub-team


1. Simulating production

2. Taking time observations

3. Video recording process



Step #9 - Develop/Review/Update all Operator Instructions for all successful ideas

  1. Provide time for the team to train associates in new procedures
  2. Make sure updates are formally documented 

Step #10 - Develop Action Plan for all unimplemented ideas. Kaizen Newspaper Plan must include: what will be done, who will do it, and when it will be accomplished. 

Kaizen O-U Newspaper


The event area must be fully work ready, all Standard Work must be updated and posted, and all associates must be trained in the new sequence or methods before the team leaves the area. 


Step #11 - Report-Out to Management on the results of the event. During the afternoon of the last event day, the team will give management a verbal "Report Out" of the activities accomplished and the action plan. 

Basic "report out" format: 
  • Restate the original management goals
  • Provide "before" documentation
  • Provide "after" documentation
  • Show videos or pictures of the event
  • Provide a Kaizen Event Summary Sheet
  • Review the Action Plan for incomplete improvement ideas 
Step #12 - Recognize the team.
Step #13 - "After Event" follow-up meetings by team on all Open Action Items.


Step #14 - Measure event area improvements to insure sustainment of improvements.   


Step #15 - Team disbands, with celebration, when all Open Action Items are completed.



Safety Board
World Class Safety Board


Visually and proudly track your safety record.



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This Lean newsletter is the result of the collaboration of three organizations:
Grunau Company
Ted Angelo, Executive Vice President

Quality Support Services, Inc.
Dennis Sowards, President


WCM Associates LLC
Larry Rubrich, President


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