kaizen promo picThe Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) really has nothing to do with advertising or promotion in the traditional sense, but it does play a major role in any successful Lean transformation. The KPO, also known as the JIT Promotion Office, Lean function, Lean office, company or business production system office, continuous improvement office, operational excellence group, etc. is a necessary resource for making an enterprise kaizen-ready.

Rather than getting into the KPO job description, organizational design and required KPO technical and behavioral skills as well as development strategies (we’ll get into these important things in future posts), let’s focus on the KPO’s deliverables. In my humble opinion, I think that there are at least 8 major KPO responsibilities or outputs. Of course, the emphasis may vary for different members of the KPO, depending upon exactly where they are in the organization and the maturity of the Lean transformation.

In no particular order, the deliverables are as follows:

  1. Change management. The KPO is in the business of change management as an adviser, trainer, coach and catalyst.
  2. Business system and curriculum development. The KPO is the organization’s dedicated Lean technical experts. Among other things, they should help define, conceptualize and tailor a business specific business system (think TPS) and the related curriculum and training modules.
  3. People development. The kaizen promotion office must help shift from a sensei-dependent enterprise to an employee-driven kaizen enterprise. This encompasses formal and informal training and development of the workforce at all levels in both the technical and behavioral realm.
  4. Kaizen event management. The KPO is the subject matter expert, guardian and facilitator of event standard work – extending to strategy, pre-event planning, execution and follow-through.
  5. Daily kaizen deployment. The KPO must help the organization transition for system-driven kaizen (events only) to principle-driven kaizen (events and daily kaizen). This means that they must help facilitate the adoption of a Lean management system, assist in the training and development of problem-solving employees, facilitate activities such as mini-kaizens and kaizen circles, and train others to train, facilitate and propagate a daily kaizen culture.
  6. Kaizen office management. The “office” encompasses the physical and virtual space in which the KPO operates. It includes the typically dotted line reporting relationships with other (decentralized) KPO resources, any temporary kaizen pool resources (those redeployed workers who are working on continuous improvement activities), “moonshine” operations and training resources and materials.
  7. Kaizen office/Lean deployment improvement. The KPO should facilitate the “kaizening” of the organization’s kaizen process – both event-based and daily kaizen.
  8. Kaizen promotion office ROI. While the first seven items are qualitative in nature, it is expected that the KPO will earn a very sizable return on investment.

I probably missed something. What do you think are the KPO’s deliverables?