The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Kaizen Event Planner

Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments, 1st Edition

By Karen Martin, Mike Osterling

Productivity Press

240 pages

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Kaizen Events are an effective way to train organizations to break unproductive habits and adopt a continuous improvement philosophy while, at the same time, achieve breakthrough performance-level results. Through Kaizen Events, cross-functional teams learn how to make improvements in a methodological way. They learn how to quickly study a process, identify and prioritize improvement opportunities, implement change, and sustain their gains. Most importantly, they learn how to work with one another to solve problems rapidly and in a highly effective way.

In The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments, authors Karen Martin and Mike Osterling provide a practical how-to guide for planning and executing Kaizen Events in non-manufacturing settings, and conducting post-Event follow-ups to sustain the improvements made.

Geared to continuous improvement professionals and leaders within the office areas of manufacturing, the service sector and knowledge-worker environments, this book provides the methodology and practical tools for generating measurable results, while building a motivated workforce and laying the foundation for continuous improvement.

The Kaizen Event Planner provides those responsible for improving office, service, and technical processes with the skills to effectively scope the activity, engage the right people, and facilitate successful Events!

An accompanying CD provides immediate access to a number of Excel-based tools.


Karen Martin is the consultant and mentor that helped us launch our Lean journey, and we have been amazed with some of the lofty process improvements that have been achieved after less than two years of using Lean. Once 'waste' is clearly identified and resources can be reallocated to portions of the processes that do add value in the eyes of the customer, the passion for continual improvement becomes contagious.This book will be of great benefit to any leader in the planning of Kaizen events, and I plan to purchase a copy for each of our managers and Lean facilitators.

—Chat Norvell, President & Chief Executive Officer, CarePartners

Karen Martin and Mike Osterling take all the questions and potential confusion out of planning, conducting and following-up on a Kaizen Event. With thorough explanations on the development of the Kaizen Charter, to everyone's roles and responsibilities and more, The Kaizen Event Planner is the 'new' standard work for rapid improvement events in administrative / office environments. The authors are careful to capture those subtle, yet important differences between the factory floor and the office, and driving and accepting change for the better. The Kaizen Event Planner is a must have for any truly lean practitioners' library.

—Jerry M. Wright, P.E., Director, Corporate Quality Assurance, & Operational Excellence, DJO, LLC

High performing companies require that office, engineering, and other transactional processes have the same discipline of execution as shop and field work. Kaizen Events are a key part of any continuous improvement program. I wholeheartedly agree with the authors' emphasis on planning and encouraging a 'bias toward action'. This book provides a clear, step-by-step guide to planning and executing successful kaizen events. It is a detailed primer for those who want to demonstrate that rapid improvement is possible in the knowledge work environment.

—Stephen P. Turnipseed, Lean Sigma Advisor, Chevron Global Upstream

Karen Martin and Mike Osterling have put together an excellent guidebook that should be a part of every Lean Resource Library. All aspects of planning and executing a successful Kaizen Event are covered in a way that is easy to understand and to explain to others. With the specific, practical tools and methods described, both beginners and experienced practitioners can now venture into non-manufacturing environments with comfort and ease.

—Andrew Zozom, Jr., Ph.D., Director Of Process Improvement, Seattle Goodwill Industries

Without changing the culture of the workforce that ultimately carries out any improvement ideas, so many Lean efforts are left unfulfilled and, at best, not sustained. The Kaizen Event Planner will help you to avoid these pitfalls.

Patrick Graupp, Co-author, The TWI Workbook: Essential Skills for Supervisors

Martin and Osterling provide an easy to read, practical guide to planning and executing kaizen events. In addition, they provide numerous checklists and other useful tools to help the reader begin to develop a ‘culture for kaizen’ in his or her own organization which is the ultimate goal of any Lean Enterprise.

Drew Locher, Co-author, The Complete Lean Enterprise: Value Stream Mapping for Administrative and Office Processes

I have been advocating, implementing and teaching kaizen within our company for 12 years. I have read many excellent theoretical books that describe the power of kaizen but this is the first that will actually give the reader a step-by-step process for facilitating events from planning through completion and follow-up. This book is a must resource for all Lean experts and facilitators.

Edward G. Brekke, Global Director, Schneider Production Systems, Schneider Electric

The Kaizen Event Planner illuminates the organizational details of how kaizen is actually executed in the workplace and delivers a step-by-step roadmap for starting the long journey towards building a cross-company culture of continuous improvement.

—Matthew E. May, Author, The Elegant Solution: Toyota’s Formula for Mastering Innovation

Karen Martin and Mike Osterling have captured a succinct genealogy for Lean thinking and combined that with real working tools that will help orchestrate very effective continuous improvement events.

—CJ Buck, CEO/President, Buck Knives

Table of Contents




CD Instructions for Use

Part I: Lean and Kaizen: An Overview

Chapter 1: Lean Enterprise Principles

Chapter 2: Kaizen Characteristics

Part II: Kaizen Event Planning

Chapter 3: Planning Essentials

Chapter 4: Event Leadership

Chapter 5: Scoping the Event

Chapter 6: Kaizen Team Formation

Chapter 7: Event Logistics

Chapter 8: Pre-event Communication

Chapter 9: Final Preparations

Part III: Kaizen Event Execution

Chapter 10: Event Structure

Chapter 11: Event Kickoff

Chapter 12: Documenting the Current State

Chapter 13: Identifying Waste and Performing Root Cause Analysis

Chapter 14: Brainstorming and Prioritizing Improvement Options

Chapter 15: Designing and Testing Improvements

Chapter 16: Implementing Improvements

Chapter 17: Event Wrap-up

Part IV: Beyond the Kaizen Event: Sustaining and Expanding

Chapter 18: Follow-up Activities

Chapter 19: Creating a Kaizen Culture



About the Authors

About the Authors


Karen Martin is Principal Consultant for Karen Martin & Associates, which specializes in applying Lean principles and tools in office, service, and technical environments. She has provided Lean implementation support to organizations in a broad range of industries, including: construction, distribution, education, engineering design, financial services, government/military, healthcare, information technology, insurance, manufacturing, oil and gas production, and publishing.

Mike Osterling is President of Osterling Consulting, Inc., a firm that leads organizations on their Lean journey. He has played a pivotal role in leading Lean transformations across a broad range of industries including aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, medical products, oil production, pharmaceuticals, and construction.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control