The Eight-Step Process
The following are the eight steps used in Kaizen (continuous improvement):
- Clarify the Problem: The starting point is to understand how the current process works. This is done by writing down each of the steps in a process. Often you will find that no one person knows the entire process. Working with a team from your area is key to understanding the entire process.
Once you understand the steps in the process, the team can develop the “Ideal or Future State” of how you think the process could or should work better. For example, a clinic visit can be made shorter by eliminating waits between steps (see Figure 2).
- Break Down the Problem: In this step, the team works together to determine what part of the process you would like to work on first. Identifying where the most muda (or waste) is found can provide the needed insight to begin working. In the above clinic example, the most time was spent after seeing the provider waiting for check out.