A large drawback of Lean Kaizen is that it can require organizations to change their methods and procedures, whether it comes to style, communication and more. It can be hard for companies that are used to the way things are in order to make the necessary improvements. Companies need to be open to communication and allow all employees to speak up on issues. This method will not work well or at all in many instances, if the communication channel is not open within an organization.
Whilst implementing Lean Kaizen typically has a positive effect for employees, by improving morale and validation, it also can be viewed as a negative change. Some employees may feel that the change is a stage in eliminating their position or will feel threatened by the requirement of changing their workspace or procedures.
It is necessary for all employees to be well informed and aware of the reasons for using Lean Kaizen. Otherwise, the drive that motivated workers during the initial stages can dwindle down over time. This is especially harmful if the solutions have not yet been put to action. The organization will not receive the desired results and can deter employees from wanting to continuously use this strategy.
Implementing Lean Kaizen can be quite stressful since it becomes a new focal point within the organization. It can cause the work area to become more detached and objective since employees may feel continuous pressure to exceed their prior performances. If stress levels in workers become too high then it can have a negative effect on how efficient and productive the work force is.
Another limitation that is noted in Lean Kaizen is that this method focuses largely on reducing waste, which can withdraw focus from other important aspects. The idea behind Lean Kaizen is that getting rid of waste will increase efficiency and productivity but, whilst the process is being implemented, it can cause lack of focus of the wellbeing of employees, responsibilities in the corporation and others. It is necessary for effective management to monitor and assess the methods that are being potentially used when implementing Lean Kaizen. Alternatively stated, change management procedures have to be extremely efficient in order to make Lean Kaizen methodology a success.
About the author:
Shruti Bhat PhD MBA Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is Pharmaceutical R&D and Continuous Improvement Director, Innoworks Canada
Shruti leads path-breaking product development programs such as Complex Generics, Nanotechnology and Targeted delivery systems for pharmaceuticals and natural products. Her mantra is to "Shorten development timelines, build quality-by-design, lean processes and bring products fast- to- market". Shruti integrates her proficiency in Design Thinking, Lean, Kaizen and other Continuous Improvement methodologies to improve R&D processes, productivity and profitability.
Shruti is Product Development & Continuous Improvement Advisor to several start ups, mid-size and growing firms in Canada, USA, India, Africa and other Emerging markets. Shruti has authored six books and is an invited speaker at several conferences and workshops.
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