A methodological approach for kaizen events in assembly lines


  • Mateus José do Rêgo Ferreira Lima Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul
  • Mauro Carozzo Todaro State University of Maranhão
  • Moisés dos Santos Rocha State University of Maranhão


Lean Production, Process improvement, Kaizen events, Work design, Assembly companies


This paper proposes a methodology for the planning and execution of a Kaizen event in a manufacturing assembly line. The method consists in 3 steps each one divided into 2 others: Planning (Project + data collection); Execution (participants training and in loco analysis) and results (benefits and future propositions). The methodology was tested in 2015 during a Kaizen event conducted on a manufacturing lighting fixtures firm located in the industrial district of Milwaukee, WI, and applied to an assembly line whose problem consisted in excessive lead times and high mismatch times between workstations. The results show a successful application of this methodology. The Kaizen event promoted a lead time improvement of 17.8% and a reduction of 91.13% mismatch time between workstations, besides improvements regarding human aspects. In this way, we provide evidence of a powerful tool that can be used to help firms to get their own human resources to solve problems and improve the work environment. 

Author Biographies

Mateus José do Rêgo Ferreira Lima, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Department of Industrial Engineerig and Transportation

Mauro Carozzo Todaro, State University of Maranhão

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Moisés dos Santos Rocha, State University of Maranhão

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Aken, E. M. Van, Farris, J. a., Glover, W. J., & Letens, G. (2010). A framework for designing, managing, and improving kaizen event programs. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 59(7): 641–667. http://doi.org/10.1108/17410401011075648.

k, G., & Williams, J. H. (2005). The impact of an accelerated improvement workshop on ordering and receiving. Library Collections, Acquisition and Technical Services, 29(3): 283–294. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.lcats.2005.08.003

Battaïa, O., Delorme, X., Dolgui, A., Hagemann, J., Horlemann, A., Kovalev, S., & Malyutin, S. (2015). Workforce minimization for a mixed-model assembly line in the automotive industry. International Journal of Production Economics, 170: 489–500. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2015.05.038.

Bautista, J., Batalla-García, C., & Alfaro-Pozo, R. (2016). Models for assembly line balancing by temporal, spatial and ergonomic risk attributes. European Journal of Operational Research. 251(3): 814-829. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2015.12.042

Cohen, S. and Bailey, D. (1997), What makes teams work: group effectiveness research from the shop floor to the executive suite. Journal of Management, 23 (3):239-90.

Chryssolouris G. (2006) Manufacturing Systems: Theory and Practice. New York: Springer- Verlag.

Dickson, E. W., Singh, S., Cheung, D. S., Wyatt, C. C., & Nugent, A. S. (2009). Application of lean manufacturing techniques in the emergency department. The Journal of emergency medicine, 37(2): 177-182.

Farris, J. a., Van Aken, E. M., Doolen, T. L., & Worley, J. (2008). Learning from Less Successful kaizen Events - A Case Study. Engineering Management Journal, 20(3): 10–20. http://doi.org/10.1080/10429247.2008.11431772.

Glover, W. J., Farris, J. A., Van Aken, E. M., & Doolen, T. L. (2011). Critical success factors for the sustainability of kaizen event human resource outcomes: An empirical study. International Journal of Production Economics, 132(2): 197–213. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2011.04.005.

Hermawati, S., Lawson, G., D’Cruz, M., Arlt, F., Apold, J., Andersson, L., … Malmsköld, L. (2015). Understanding the complex needs of automotive training at final assembly lines. Applied Ergonomics, 46(PA): 144–157. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2014.07.014

Junker, B. (2010). Kaizen for improvement of rapid protein production for early reagent protein quantities. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 49(3): 435–444. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bej.2010.02.007.

Knechtges, P., & Decker, M. C. (2014). Application of kaizen methodology to foster departmental engagement in quality improvement. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 11(12): 1126–1130. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2014.08.027

Kriengkorakot, N., & Pianthong, N. (2007). The Assembly Line Balancing Problem : Review articles *. KKU Engineering Journal, 34(2): 133–140. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jom.2006.04.001

Lam, N. T., Toi, L. M., Tuyen, V. T. T., & Hien, D. N. (2016). Lean Line Balancing for an Electronics Assembly Line. Procedia CIRP, 40(1): 437–442. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2016.01.089.

Laraia, A.C., Moody, P.E., & Hall, R.W. (1999), The Kaizen Blitz: Accelerating Breakthroughs in Productivity and Performance, Wiley, New York, NY.

Liker, J. K. (2004). The Toyota way. New York, NY: McGrawHill.

Lyu, J. (1996). Applying Kaizen and automation to process reengineering. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 15(2): 125–132. http://doi.org/10.1016/0278-6125(96)82337-5.

Melnyk, S., Calantone, R., Montabon, F., & Smith, R. (1998). Short-term action in pursuit of long-term improvements: introducing Kaizen events. Production & Inventory Management Journal, 39(4): 69-76.

Nguyen, M. N., & Do, N. H. (2016). Re-engineering Assembly Line with Lean Techniques. Procedia CIRP, 40: 591–596. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2016.01.139.

Ortiz, C. A. (2006a). All-out kaizen: A continuous improvement plan delivers change to the production floor... and dollars to the bottom line. Industrial Engineer, 38(4): 30-35.

Ortiz, C. A. (2006b). Kaizen assembly: designing, constructing, and managing a lean assembly line. CRC Press.

Rekiek, B., Dolgui, A., Delchambre, A., & Bratcu, A. (2002). State of art of optimization methods for assembly line design. Annual Reviews in control, 26(2): 163-174.

Rosenkrantz, A. B., Lawson, K., Ally, R., Chen, D., Donno, F., Rittberg, S., … Recht, M. P. (2015). Focused process improvement events: Sustainability of impact on process and performance in an academic radiology department. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 12(1): 75–81. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2014.08.016

Salveson, M.E.,1955. The Assembly Line Balancing Problem. The Journal of Industrial Engineering, 6(3): 18-25.

Sundar, R., Balaji, A. N., & Satheesh Kumar, R. M. (2014). A review on lean manufacturing implementation techniques. Procedia Engineering, 97: 1875–1885. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2014.12.341.

Venkataiah, D., & Sagi, D. (2012). Relationship between Kaizen Events and Perceived Quality Performance in Indian Automobile Industry. International Journal of Management & Business Studies, 2(1): 2231-2463.

Raj A S, V., Mathew, J., Jose, P., & Sivan, G. (2016). Optimization of cycle time in an assembly line balancing problem. Procedia Technology, 25: 1146-1153. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.protcy.2016.08.231

Womack, J. P., & Jones, D. T. (2010). Lean thinking: banish waste and create wealth in your corporation. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Yang, J. X., Hunt, T. D., Ting, H. H., Henderson, D., Finkelstein, J., & Davidson, K. W. (2016). Improving value-add work and satisfaction in medical residents training: a resident-led quality improvement project employing the lean method to improve hospital supply usage. Postgraduate medical journal, 93:193-197. http://doi.org/10.1136/postgradmedj-2016-134163

Yerian, L. M., Seestadt, J. A., Gomez, E. R., & Marchant, K. K. (2012). A collaborative approach to lean laboratory workstation design reduces wasted technologist travel. American journal of clinical pathology, 138(2): 273-280.