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A Kaizen Event is a beneficial, action-oriented improvement method that tackles specific goals or needs within a facility, with a quick turnaround due to the narrow scope. Kaizen Events may be used for training, organization, waste elimination, and leadership development. The Kaizen Event team is comprised of employees of all levels, and occasionally independent facilitators who can help the process run smoothly. When organizing a Kaizen Event, these roles keep the process running smoothly:

The Project Sponsor

Who They Are: The Project Sponsor is the manager of the Kaizen Event and should be a senior staff member.

What They Do: The Project Sponsor is the person who oversees the event, as a whole, and should always be visible and accessible through the entire process. The Project Sponsor is responsible for all aspects of the event, from pre-event initiation and planning to implementation and follow-up, and is available to provide leadership and guidance to team members participating in the Kaizen Event. The Project Sponsor should be familiar with the facility itself and have prior experience with running Kaizen Events.

Examples of Project Sponsor tasks: 

  • Proposal of Kaizen Event and related goals
  • Define the scope of the Kaizen Event
  • Approval of Kaizen Event budget
  • Availability to communicate between departments
  • Designate project leadership and team members
  • Evaluate before and after Kaizen Event to determine the effectiveness
  • Order Kaizen Event supplies, such as floor marking tape, custom signage, or Lean and 5S organizational tools

The Team Leader

Who they are: The Team Leader helps facilitate the Kaizen Event. This role is a perfect training opportunity for someone who is looking to expand their skills or take on more leadership roles within the facility as they work with the Project Sponsor to ensure success.

What they do: The Team Leader acts as a liaison between the event sponsor and employees and collaborates with team members to ensure the event timeline is met. Generally, the Team Leader should not already have direct supervisory responsibilities within the department that is being updated—this helps prevent resistance to change.

Examples of Team Leader tasks:

  • Setting goals for team members
  • Assigning tasks during the Kaizen Event
  • Providing training materials and support
  • Collaborating with the Project Sponsor  

Event Team Members

Who they are: When choosing Kaizen Event Team Members, consider who is impacted by facility changes or training sessions—these are the employees who should join in the Kaizen Event. These participants are people who work in or communicate with the target department or area and any employees who may benefit from training in the department.

What they do: Team Members roll up their sleeves and dig in during the Kaizen Event. Assignments may be based on an employee’s current skills or can be given to teach new skills or improve knowledge. While extra hands help lessen the load, it is also important for these employees to see the process, understand the reasoning, and learn from it for future success.

Examples of Kaizen Event Team Member tasks: 

  • Attendance at pre- and post-Kaizen Event planning sessions
  • Provide feedback and recommend updates that would improve current processes
  • Apply floor marking tape using tape application equipment
  • Participation in training and hands-on learning sessions
  • Complete follow-up assignments beyond the Kaizen Event

An Outside Facilitator

Who they are: An Outside Facilitator is a consultant or partner who may work with the project sponsor, team leader, and employees during Kaizen Event planning and implementation. While the facilitator is not required for a Kaizen Event, it is a fantastic opportunity to harness the knowledge of experts in the field.

What they do: An Outside Facilitator, such as an auditor or consultant, assists with a Kaizen Event by bringing a new perspective as they evaluate the facility with fresh eyes, or to host targeted training sessions or support organization projects.

Examples of an Outside Facilitator’s tasks:

  • Leads discussions related to process updates and facility needs
  • Assists with timeline and preparation for Kaizen Event
  • Host workshops and training sessions to target specific facility needs
  • Evaluates facility for necessary improvements, updates, or changes

A Data Administrator

Who they are: Also called the Scribe or Recorder, the Data Administrator is an optional Kaizen Event team member whose role is to identify and collect data to document the event.

What they do: The Data Administrator gathers statistics and information relating to the Kaizen Event, including a snapshot of “before” and “after” to track improvement. This may include information from previous inspections and audits, past Kaizen Events, employee feedback, or visitor, vendor, or supplier comments. The Data Administrator is responsible for broad statistics and data recording, which is separate from the activities, changes, and progress individual team members record on a smaller scale. All of this information comes together to inform and improve future Kaizen Events.

Examples of a Data Administrator’s tasks:

  • Recording baseline statistics, required improvements, planning, and necessary goals before the Kaizen Event
  • Evaluating the facility’s current status to help determine measurable Kaizen Event goals
  • Working with the team to set goalposts to measure post-event improvement
  • Continuing to track data after the event to gauge improvement and success in meeting Kaizen Event goals

The Kaizen Event team is comprised of many people, both from inside and outside the facility. These leaders, employee team members, and outside consultants help with the planning and implementation phases to help the Kaizen Event run smoothly and the follow-up evaluation to see where the event was successful—and what further work may be needed. For more information on industrial facility safety and organization, explore our Resource Center.