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Development of a Tool to Measure the Effectiveness of Kaizen Events within the Wood Products Industry
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Kaizen implementation and other continuous improvement practices can be used by companies to lower manufacturing costs and increase product value. Kaizen activities are one way that wood products companies can increase their competitiveness. Being able to measure the effectiveness of Kaizen events is important to factors that contribute to Kaizen effectiveness as well as identifying the success of Kaizen implementation. However, little research has focused on the implementation of Kaizen and other continuous improvement methods within the wood products industry or on the perceptions of employees within this industry regarding either the motivators for, barriers to, and effectiveness of perceptions of Kaizen, or the drivers affecting Kaizen implementation. The goal of this research is to develop a tool to measure the effectiveness of Kaizen and to apply this tool to companies within the wood products industry. To accomplish this research goal, a case study approach was used in examining how two U.S. wood products companies implemented Kaizen and other continuous improvement initiatives and how employees at these companies viewed such implementation. As part of this case study, interviews were conducted with staff in each company and surveys were administered to production and non-production employees at each company. A tool was developed to measure the perceived effectiveness of Kaizen events, and this tool was tested using the survey data were collected from each company. The results from these analyses show statistically significant differences in how production employees across companies viewed the following: motivators related to cost and quality outcomes, as well as the success of other companies, as motivators for Kaizen; and barriers related to middle management, time, money, technology, and poor past experiences. Poor past experience with Kaizen were also viewed significantly differently by production and non-production employees in one of the companies studied. The results also show that perceptions of productivity improvements were the most significant predictor of the perceived effectiveness of Kaizen implementation. These results and the development of a tool to measure Kaizen will help guide and improve future Kaizen and other continuous improvement efforts within the wood products industry and provide insights for future research.
- Masters Theses