By Jon Miller | Post Date: February 27, 2007 11:46 AM | Comments: 5
"How much should we pay for kaizen ideas?" This is a question we often hear during a kaizen class. The type of kaizen we are talking about here is the everyone-everyday kind, otherwise known as the soikufu system in Japanese, or not-so-aptly named suggestion system in English.
At companies like Toyota, the job description includes following standard work and finding a way to make it better. Doing your job and improving your job are one and the same.
Either by legacy or by design, kaizen ideas at Toyota do receive a monetary reward, but the reasoning is given is that these ideas are written up and tested on the workers' own time.
Paying for ideas is not a bad thing, but it can create a disincentive. If you have a very traditional company, you train your people in Lean and kaizen, ask them to improve their work, and pay them based on ideas implemented, these people might make out like bandits for the first few years while there is plenty of low-hanging fruit.
There is nothing wrong with that as long as people don't lose interest as it gets harder to find small improvements, or as new employees hear of the "good old days" when you could stumble across kaizen ideas without using your wits.
This can be avoided if you combine the suggestion system approach with management-led TPS transformation and solid, industrial engineering-based technical kaizen efforts to take out large chunks of waste, leaving the day-to-day kaizens as an ongoing picking of smaller fruits by everyone.
It's odd when you think about it. Should we pay extra for asking people to make use of a particular body part? Walking at work? That uses legs, so pay me an additional $1 per hour, please. Nose? Five cents per odor detected. Spleen? I won't even go there.
Why shouldn't everybody be asked to use their brain when they are at work? It's not as though your brain wears out with use. In fact, quite the opposite. And why should we pay extra for kaizen ideas? You give them work, which inherently contains problems, and challenge them to use their wits to solve the problems. Kaizen is the natural byproduct of minds at work.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.