Senior leadership teams and business owners investigating the KAIZEN™ approach often contemplate on when is the best time to start with a Lean programme, or as we prefer to call it, a KAIZEN™ transformation.
There are many "valid reasons" available for leaders to rationalise their reluctance to commence with a KAIZEN™ transformation straight away.
- Not having available capacity due to seasonal fluctuations.
- Inability to keep up with providing your product and or service.
- Loss of customers/ dissatisfied clients due to poor quality products or services; unsatisfactory lead times; increased cost of creating your product or service.
- Staff dissatisfaction and low staff morale. High staff turnover.
- Trying to stay afloat during an economic downturn.
- Trying to increase output when the economy recovers.
- Unreliable and unstable equipment and processes.
- Leadership and management changes.
- Fill in the blank ...
It is crucial to understand why you want to start with a formal Continuous Improvement approach. Why are organisations using Lean?
I suppose the short answer is to start as soon as possible because the longer you wait the more resources will be wasted and enslaved by inefficiencies. This situation will inevitably lead to higher cost of your products and services, increased defects, longer turn-around times and ultimately disgruntled customers.
There is never a perfect time to start with KAIZEN™ - now is the best time. Just do it as the Nike slogan reminds us. The sooner you start, the sooner you will improve as an organisation.