STRONGPAK Limited’s Team Rock Breakers are the 2021 KAIZEN grand champions.
Rock Breakers beat the three other Gold winners, namely Teams Buyantanshi, Change, and Waste Utilisers, to scoop the National Conference’s topmost Award.
The four were part of the seven KAIZEN practicing teams which presented their projects continuous improvement reports at this year’s National KAIZEN Conference, held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on March 18, under the theme “Weathering Zambia’s Economic Downturn Through Enhanced Low-Cost Interventions”.
The other two teams, which both won Silver Awards, were Zambia Revenue Authority’s Team Shuko and Kanyama General Hospital’s Team Sparrow.
Team Shuko’s project projects involved improving service delivery efficiency at the tax office for penalty waiver applications, from 66% to 95% by December 2019 while Team Sparrow’s was intended to improve service delivery at the health institution by eliminating all ‘missed” antenatal admissions.
Team Rock Breakers’ ambitious KAIZEN project was aimed at reducing the level of waste at the Kitwe-based polypropylene bag manufacturing factory, from 7.88 to 5 percent, as it was affecting the company’s productivity and profitability.
Using the DMAIC tool, the eight-man team implemented measures aimed at enhancing the overall maintenance and operations standards of the manufacturing plant which ultimately also improved the quality of StrongPak’s bag products.
Despite the low number of participating teams, the 2021 National KAIZEN Conference, which was officially opened by Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Hon. Christopher Yaluma, was special in that it strived to rekindle Zambia’s economic prosperity hopes with emphasis on creativity and cost-effective production.
Mr. Yaluma hailed KAIZEN as the most appropriate methodology of rejuvenating the nation’s economic prosperity and called on Zambian companies to be creative and cost-effective in their operations in order to improve productivity by adopting the methodology.
And virtually addressing the Conference, Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Mr. Ryuta MIZUUCHI called for new economic enhancement and survival ideas and methodologies during the Covid-19 pandemic where many organisations and teams could not undertake KAIZEN activities as usual.
Mr. MIZUUCHI observed that KAIZEN activities were “Gemba” or work-place based and therefore most people were now working from home and hindered from practicing KAIZEN in teams where social distancing and making up which requirements had made it difficult.
“And I totally agreed with Mr. Mwitwa (KAIZEN Institute of Zambia Limited CEO) when he said; “To improve the performance of the Zambian industry, people should not shy away from challenging the status quo”, the ambassador said.
And welcoming the participants earlier, KiZ Chief Executive Officer Mr. Chola Mwitwa, described KAIZEN as a “very versatile management instrument” which could help Zambia achieve national development objectives.
Mr. Mwitwa observed that the KAIZEN philosophy could help the nation promote patriotism, mitigate greed and corruption, enhance the management and use of natural resources and contribute to solving the national debt.
The KiZ chief lauded the participating teams for being part of the Conference despite Covid-19 and described their action as an exhibition of their strong belief in the KAIZEN Methodology and a passion to challenge the status quo.
“Covid-19 must not prevent us from meeting and brag about the results of our KAIZEN projects, learn from one another and receive word of encouragements and direction from the Minister,” he said
Mr. Mwitwa thanked the Commerce Minister for gracing the national conference and described his presence at the event as “an encouragement in the right way” to KiZ and the KAIZEN practicing organisations.
And speaking to the Conference virtually (from Tokyo, Japan), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) representative, Mr. Eiji INUI, emphasized the need to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on national and regional economies by implementing innovative and cost-effective interventions. ‘
Mr. INUI said that the KAIZEN approach could help instill discipline and effectiveness in business owners, managers and workers in the management of businesses particularly during moments of economic stress like the covid-19 period.
He hailed KiZ for promoting KAIZEN in Zambia and for its leadership role in trying to popularise the concept in Africa.
Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) Project Phase II Chief Advisor, Mr. Kiyoshi ADACHI encouraged the teams to remain steadfast with their implementation of the KAIZEN projects if they have to realise meaningful results.
Addressing the Conference virtually from Tokyo, Japan, Mr. ADACHI advised the teams against completely abandoning their projects due to Covid-19 but to instead continue with implementation of some of the activities.
SUMMARY: 2021 National KAIZEN Award Winners
- National Grand Champion Award
Team ROCK BREAKERS (StrongPak Limited)
- Gold Award
- Team ROCK BREAKERS (StrongPak Limited)
- Team WASTE UTILISERS (UMCIL Kafue Steel)
- Team CHANGE (StrongPak Limited)
- Team BUYANTANSHI (StrongPak Limited)
- Silver Award
- Team SHUKO (Zambia Revenue Authority)
- Team SPARROW (Kanyama General Hospital)
- KAIZEN Continuity Award