What is a Rapid Improvement Event?

Instructor: Brianna Whiting
Every company experiences a time when they need to make changes. Sometimes those changes happen over an extended amount of time, and sometimes those changes are quick. This lesson centers around the quick, drastic changes known as a rapid improvement event.

Looking at Lean

Many companies want to find a way to minimize costs without hurting their products and services. One way to do so is to implement lean. Lean is the process of minimizing the waste while still providing quality for customers. Waste is generally anything from unnecessary materials, variations in products, and even employees who stand around. When resources get wasted, companies lose money.

While transforming production to lean is ideal for many companies, often it takes time and careful consideration. But what happens if a company does not have time or want to wait any longer? In this lesson we will learn about a process that is like lean only conducted on a much faster pace.

Rapid Improvement Events

We know that lean is all about making changes to eliminate resource waste and to provide a process that still provides quality products and services. When a company makes changes over a short amount of time and those changes are often drastic in nature, we use the term rapid improvement events (RIE).

With RIE, companies can expect to see results much faster. This means the opportunity to save money in a shorter amount of time. Processes tend to run smoother and employees are better trained to do their jobs more efficiently. And, variations in products begin to diminish.

While the changes can produce faster results and save a company money, there are some potential drawbacks. For example, if part of production is getting an overhaul, it will typically be out of order during that period. That means stopping production temporarily.

Also, expectations might become so high that employees feel pressured and overwhelmed. And, while rapid improvement events make changes very quickly, if a company wasn't producing quality products and services to begin with, after RIE they might still be making poor products just in a quicker amount of time.

How Does RIE Work?

So how does a company use RIE? What steps do they need to take to be successful in this task? Below you will find three important steps that companies often partake in when implementing rapid improvement events.

1. Preparing - Before a company can make any changes, it needs to get prepared. This means finding the problem and deciding how big it really is. A company also needs to collect data, consult, and clearly communicate what it hopes to accomplish. Making sure everyone involved understands what needs to happen and how it will happen is crucial to the success of such a process.

2. Event - Using a written agenda, the changes are carried out. The first day is explaining why the changes need to be made. This is followed by the second day, which focuses on data. The current process is drawn out from start to finish, and areas that are having problems are noted. It is basically a current picture of how production is functioning and where changes need to be made.

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