Cloud-Powered Kaizen: Toyota's Continuous Improvement Journey and Smartsheet's Global Kaizen Tracker Solution

Toyota's Kaizen Success Story

Toyota’s dedication to Kaizen, a Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement, has become a legendary success story in the business world. The Toyota Production System (TPS), or Lean Manufacturing, was developed by Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda between 1948 and 1975. TPS focuses on continuous process improvement and waste elimination, transforming Toyota into a global industry leader.

One essential aspect of TPS is the concept of “Gemba” (meaning “the real place” in Japanese), referring to the shop floor where work is executed. Toyota’s management frequently visits the shop floor to collect input from team members and observe the production process firsthand through “Gemba Walks.” This practice encourages leaders to engage with employees, identify inefficiencies, and implement improvements based on their feedback.

The “Andon” system is another critical element of Toyota’s Kaizen culture. This system empowers shop floor employees to stop the production line if they encounter any issues, such as quality problems or equipment malfunctions. Addressing the problem immediately prevents defects from moving further down the line and helps identify and resolve the root cause more efficiently.

Additionally, Toyota provides extensive Kaizen training to its employees, including workshops, hands-on exercises, and problem-solving sessions. This investment in employee development creates a knowledgeable and committed workforce, driving continuous improvement culture throughout the organization.


Best Practice Tips from Lighthouse Consultings

Drawing inspiration from Toyota’s Kaizen success, here are some best practice tips to enhance your organization’s continuous improvement efforts:

  1. Ensure fast response for new ideas, with feedback submitted within 5 working days, using Smartsheet’s workflow capabilities.
  2. Encourage leadership to acknowledge new Kaizens during Gemba walks and leverage a simple report for better visibility.
  3. Share new ideas across your global organization to prevent reinventing the wheel and promote collaboration.
  4. Select Kaizen responsible people in each plant to drive local improvement initiatives and coordinate with the global team.
  5. Organize global Kaizen events to foster cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  6. Give awards to the best global Kaizen ideas to recognize outstanding contributions and motivate employees to continuously improve.

Implementing Kaizen Principles with Smartsheet’s Kaizen Tracker

Are you looking to implement Kaizen principles effectively in your business? Discover how Smartsheet’s Global Kaizen Tracker can streamline your operations and empower your teams to cultivate a spirit of continuous improvement in their workflows, following Toyota’s footsteps.

Benefits of Smartsheet's Kaizen Tracker

A recent study found that companies using Smartsheet to manage their Kaizen initiatives experienced significant improvements in their workflows:

  • 30% reduction in process cycle time
  • 25% increase in productivity
  • 20% decrease in operational costs

These results demonstrate that Smartsheet can help businesses achieve real, measurable improvements in their operations.


Smartsheet simplifies Kaizen implementation by offering​

  • Implementation time
    Smartsheet can be implemented within days into your organization. As a reference, we integrated 150 employees cross-functionally and on a global base for one of our clients.
  • Cost Licences
    One unique feature of Smartsheet is that even users without a license can still work in the platform. While not all functionalities are available, regular users can still comment, update statuses, and read data without requiring a license. Smartsheet offers different licensing options, with the starting package at around $1400 per year for three licenses, and the ability to invite an unlimited number of collaborators to work on projects.

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