What Is a Kaizen Event?


A kaizen event is one arrow in the lean manufacturing “quiver.” Or one tool in the lean toolbox–pick your favorite metaphor.

But just what is a kaizen event? This article will spell it out for you: we’ve got the goods in the sections immediately below.

If you’re just getting into lean, you may be happy to know that this is part of a series of articles we’ve written on basic lean topics. Here are some others:

And we’ll be adding more from time to time in the future. Hope you enjoy our look at lean topics. But now, to business–let’s learn about kaizen events.

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How to Perform a Task Analysis for Job Training

Task Analysis ImageIn an earlier post focusing on identifying job roles and job tasks, we mentioned the importance of creating (1) a list of the job roles at your site and (2) a list of the job tasks that people in each of those job roles have to be able to perform in order to hold their job.

In this post, we’re going to start with the assumption that you’ve created that list of tasks, and we’ll show you how to perform a task analysis for each task on the list. The idea is that you’ll “break down” each task into the smaller steps or sub-tasks that a person would have to perform to finish the task.

The point in doing this is that once you’ve identified the steps or sub-tasks that make up a job task, you’ll know exactly what you need to teach employees who will have to perform the task properly on the job. You would then create learning objectives, assessments, and the actual training materials.

This is an “instructional design” basic. To see how the task analysis fits into the general flow of training development, you may want to check out 8 Steps to Great Training article and/or download the guide to writing learning objectives at the bottom of this article.

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Business Goals, KPIs, and Job Training

Business Goals, KPIs, and Training ImageJob training shouldn’t be designed or delivered in a vacuum. And you probably know that.

We’ve written a LOT about how training should be delivered with the learners in mind (the employees, that is). And that’s definitely true and important.

But in this article, we’re going to look at training from a different angle: the connection between training and the business itself–in particular, the goals of a business. And we’ll do that by looking at business goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and job training.

Sometimes, trainers forgot to consider this and forget to build it into their training, development, delivery, and evaluation process.

So hopefully this will be a good review and reminder.

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Identifying Job Roles & Job Tasks for Training

Job Roles and Job Tasks ImageBecause we got our start in training workers at paper manufacturing facilities, and because that’s still a core part of our customer base (even if we’ve expanded quite a bit beyond that), we’ve been writing some blog posts recently specifically geared toward training at paper manufacturing facilities.

If you’re not a paper manufacturer, it’s OK–what you’ll read below is true for any job training. So don’t let that introduction scare you away.

What we’re going to cover below are a few things to make sure your training is doing what it’s supposed to do–preparing workers to do what they have to do on the job.

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How to Make Safety Training More Fun and Engaging: Tips from Safety Managers

fun and engaging safety training image

What do YOU do to make your safety training at work fun and engaging for employees?

Recently, we posted that simple question into a number of LinkedIn groups that deal with safety and/or EHS: “What do you do to make your safety training more fun and engaging for your employees?

A large number of safety professionals chimed in to share their safety training tips, and we’ve collected their replies in this article. It’s interesting to read the replies and to see how many of them work along similar themes. If you’re looking for ways to create fun, enjoyable, memorable, and impactful safety training at your work, we think you’ll find some good ideas below.

We’re particularly interested in creating fun safety training because we’re always looking for ways to help our customers create a fun and engaging safety training experience for their workers that includes our safety training eLearning courses (quick sample video below) as well as other types of training in a blended learning safety training solution.

So, let’s get to it. Here’s how to make safety training more fun and engaging, with stories and tips from real-life safety managers and trainers.

Also, since you’re interested in fun safety training, check out these 11 free online safety training word games (like Wheel of Fortune) and these 10 free online safety training word games. You’ll see there are even options to download free copies of some of those safety training games.

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Online Courses for the MSHA Part 46 New Miner Training Program

Online Courses for MSHA Part 46 New Miner Training Program ImageMany customers come to us wondering if and how they can use online courses for the MSHA Part 46 training programs. In this article, we’re going to address those questions and then take a closer look at how to do it with one of the Part 46 training programs–New Miner.

The same ideas, though, apply to the other training programs, such as Newly Hired Experienced Miner, New Tasks(s), Annual Refresher, and Site-Specific Hazard.

Before we begin, here are a few related articles that may help set the scene in case you’re new to MSHA or Part 46:

If you want to skip the reading and get right to online training, click to buy, view, and complete Online MSHA Part 46 New Miner Training.

Now let’s take a look at a few key questions that are covered in more detail in those articles above.

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5 Steps of Creating Training–Tips from Cognitive Psychology

5 Steps of Creating Training ImageProbably the most famous “steps of training” guidance is the one created by the instructional theorist Robert Gagne. Gagne’s ideas are justly well-regarded and we’ve already written an article about Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. So feel free to click that link you just passed up if you’re curious.

But in their 2003 book Writing Training Materials that Work: How to Train Anyone to Do Anything, Wellesley R. Foshay, Kenneth H. Silber, and Michael B. Stelnicki present their own, more updated steps. What makes these steps especially interesting (and I believe useful) is that they’re grounded in the field of cognitive psychology, the study of how people learn, including things like attention, thinking, memory, and problem-solving.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the steps, as you’d guess. And we’ll also present some additional ideas from the book. Of course, we encourage you to buy and read the book on your own, too.

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Training Needs Analysis for Paper Manufacturers

training-needs-analysis-for-paper-manufacturers imageBefore you begin any training program, you should first do a training needs analysis.

If you’re new to training, maybe you don’t know what a training needs analysis is. But not to fear, because we’re about to spell it out for you here.

And even better, because a big chunk of our customer base is made up of paper manufacturers, we’ll put it in those terms. If you’re not a paper manufacturer, but you’re still interested in learning about the training needs analysis, you can still learn from this article. Or you can read this more general training needs analysis article.

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Is Online MSHA Part 46 Training Allowed?

is-online-MSHA-part-46-training-allowedPeople frequently ask us if MSHA allows mine operators to use online MSHA Part 46 training to satisfy some of the MSHA Part 46 training requirements.

The short answer is–yes.

If that’s enough information for you, then check out the following online MSHA training options and tools we’ve got for you:

But if you want to look at the question in a little more detail, let’s do that. What exactly does that mean? What is online safety training? Can you do it all online or part of it? What MSHA Part 46 training programs does it apply to?

And that’s just getting started. Keep reading to learn it all.

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Applying Lean Value Stream Mapping to Corporate Training

Lean Value Stream Mapping and Training Image

People familiar with lean manufacturing probably know the concept of value stream mapping.

Value stream mapping is the process of mapping, diagramming, or otherwise analyzing your current production state and a desired, more efficient future state. The point is to map the current state, search for and identify any inefficiencies that cause waste and don’t add value, and then map a new, more efficient process. And then, of course, to make changes to move toward that more efficient desired process.

Sounds simple enough, and it is. The key things to remember are that value stream mapping (1) is focused on the lean idea of making sure production steps are always intended to provide value to the customer and (2) removing all production steps that don’t provide value to the customer or that aren’t otherwise necessary.

Trainers can learn a lot from their lean friends and from these concepts underlying value stream mapping. For one, trainers should always focus on providing value to their customers. It’s sometimes easy to forget this and sometimes easy to forget who the customer(s) is/are, so we’ll get back to this shortly. The second thing trainers can learn from lean value stream mapping is the importance of taking things out of training materials if they don’t provide benefit to the “customers.” Again, we’ll get back to this point.

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How to Format Training Materials To Make Learning Easier

How to Format Training Materials ImageA lot of workforce training materials are written. This is true if it’s something your workers will actually read. And it’s true of scripts that are used for e-learning training courses as well.

We’ve written earlier about style issues for your written training materials–click here to read more about that. That article includes some simple tips, such as writing at an appropriate reading level, using conversational words, and so on. Later, you may also be interested in reading this interview with Anna Sabramowicz about using storytelling and scenarios in training.

But in this article, we’re going to show you how to format training materials using simple techniques like headers, bullets, and tables to make your training materials more effective. This will apply to materials such as Word documents and PDFs that your employees read but also to PowerPoint presentations and e-learning courses they view on a monitor or screen.

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Confined Spaces in Construction Rule Issued By OSHA; Goes Into Effect August 3, 2015

After much discussion and years of planning, OSHA just announced a new Confined Spaces in Construction rule (29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA). The rule goes into effect August 3, 2015 (later this year). So there’s time to learn about it and to prepare, but on the other hand, time’s moving and you should too.

We’ve put together some information for you to help you get ready. Hope you find it helpful.

Convergence Training is a training supplier with a large library of health and safety e-learning courses, learning management systems (LMSs) for companies of different sizes and industries, and custom training solutions. Contact us for more information or to set up a demo.

OSHA’s New Confined Spaces in Construction Rule

So let’s get right down to some of the big questions, shall we?

When Does the New Confined Spaces for Construction Rule Go Into Effect?

As noted above, August 3, 2015.

Is the Rule for Construction, General Industry, or Both?

The new rule (1926 Subpart AA) is for construction. The old rule (1910.146) is for general industry.
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