Friday, March 6, 2015

Lean Kata




Kata is the Japanese word that means form. A Kata is a detailed choreographed ritual of movements traditionally practiced in martial arts. The skills are handed down from master to student over many generations. Kata is a pattern of behavior, when practiced repetitively it becomes second nature. It is commonly referred to the Toyota Kata and is defined as an integral tool of change throughout the whole company. The key to Kata is habit. In Lean terms, Kata is a routine, standardized, synchronised process, it includes Improvement Kata (IK) and Coaching Kata (CK).




“The systematic pursuit of desired conditions by utilizing human capabilities in a concerted way.”

Mike Rother, author Toyota Kata



Improvement Kata



Kata is an important aspect of a Lean laboratory to implement Kaizen, standardize and sustain Lean initiatives. An improvement Kata is a strategy of moving from a current condition to a new situation in a systematic, directed, meaningful way.

It is based on a four step procedure:

    • Understand the Direction
    • Grasp the Current Condition
    • Define the Next Target Condition
    • PDCA - Plan Do Check - toward the Target Condition





           Simple Kata routines in the laboratory could include:

          • Gemba - Regular Gemba  ensures that a Lean culture is being implemented through practice and training. For instance, observe 5S, Kaizen projects  and other lean initiatives in the lab.

          • Sustainment - sustain successful Kaizen programs - delegate responsibilities and implement regular audits. 
          • Repeat and implement - replicate sustained improvements in other processes.
          • Bottom-up Improvement - improvement that happens outside of a Kaizen event, start small and build small incremental changes towards improvement. This may involve something simple like relocating an instrument to streamline a process and reduce muda (waste).


          Coaching Kata


          The Coaching Kata supports Improvement Kata by encouraging learning and training to improve the current condition and ensure that porgress is being made townards the target. Coaching Kata is instrumental in the fourth step of the Improvement Kata, PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) towards attaining the Target Condition. The Coaching Kata question cards are an excellent resource to support IK.






          The IK Reference Guide 

          by Mike Rother






          Further information and resources


          Check out the Toyota Kata and the Kanban Kata.

          I love Lego so I highly recommend these Kata presentations by Hakan Forss.





          1 comment:

          Neeta said...

          Applying lean six sigma is a proven way to improve a company. If there is a large majority of people in the company who are trained and understand the methodology.
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