Quality Improvement Project Tasks from Dr. Imai's Gemba Kaizen and Toyota Business Practice
I have found this helpful as project task items for a Kaizen initiative. This is from Imai's Gemba Kaizen (pp. 58-59)

Both of these approaches have the common steps:
- Define the theme or problem to be addressed and resolved.
- Capture data of current conditions
- Analyze and identify root causes
- Develop and implement countermeasures
- Update and standardize the improved or upgraded processes.

Kaizen Story
1. Select the theme (based on priority, importance, urgency, or economic benefit)
2. Understand the current status and set objectives. (go to the gemba and collect data)
3. Analyze the collected data to identify root causes.
4. Establish countermeasures based on the data analysis.
5. Implement countermeasures.
6. Confirm the effects of the countermeasures.
7. Establish or revise the standards to prevent recurrence.
8. Review the preceding processes and work on the next steps.

Toyota Business Practice problem-solving approach
1. Clarify the problem
2. Break down the problem
3. Set a target to be achieved.
4. Analyze the root cause.
5. Develop countermeasures.
6. See countermeasures through.
7. Evaluate both results and process.
8. Standardize successful processes.
3 Replies
Dear Dan,
The similarities should not be surprising. Please remember that Imai summarizes what he sees in companies and that the Toyota practice is based on the QC Story that is embedded into its improvement work. Also, the idea of "kaizen" is somewhat confusing. People tend to talk about "Kaizen Events" - as if it was a series of "sprints" or sequence of projects - and that somehow doing a variety of these activities is a good thing. Kaizen means to "improve for the better" and it is embedded in the 5th S of what people refer to as "5-S" - "shitsuke" - which originally means teaching manners (e.g., the code of the Samurai warrior) or a routine system training operators in the standard way of working and continuing to improve or sustain it - this is kaizen that is embedded into all of work activities as a pursuit of creative ideas for improvement by workers. Once proposed to supervisors they are tested and if they increase efficiency or reduce cost then they become included in standard work. A second type of kaizen also occurs which is what should be called "kaizen kanri" - a management system improvement project that is conducted under the authority of a production manager within his budget and scope of decision authority. You might consider this roughly equivalent to a Green Belt project when applying the LSS rubric. These projects follow what Dr. Kano refers to as a "Task-Achieving QC Story" - following the steps that you have outlined above. These improvement projects that follow a theme which is set for a production facility and typically are conducted under the direction of the factory manager. This is a project that is a level below a Hoshin project and a level that is above the individual worker kaizen activity. I hope that this helps to clarify!
Best regards,
Hello Gregory Watson‍ ,

Thank you indeed for the clarification. I would like to apply this outside of the factory in a project or program management context.

If I understand correctly, the Task-Achieving QC Story by Kano would represent the appropriate level and scope within a Hoshin program and a worker-level endeavour or "blitz".
For me, the mention steps for problem solving, looks very familiar if I am thinking at 8D or even more, at QRQC.

At QRQC there also 2 levels of complexity, one for management and one for the shift leaders/operators level.

DMAIC can also be used at different complexity level (YB vs GB/BB), it is a also a very intuitive methodology.

At the end , the difference is done by the methodology effectiveness which mostly comes from leadership commitment to sustain a continuous improvement environment. And not only as a statement