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Leaders As Coaches: Kata Delivers Results

I am sure you have heard the infamous statement, "Life is a marathon, not a sprint," meaning that achieving great things takes time. In our culture of instant gratification, too many of us expect overnight success utilizing quick fixes, Unfortunately in our pursuit of excellence, rarely does this happen in our personal or professional lives.

In this final installment of our series (post 1 and post 2) on Toyota Kata, we want to share with you a case study where we have seen tangible results obtained using the Kata methodology. However, it is important to remember that like a marathon, implementing Kata in your organization is a long process but the benefits are tremendous. Daily PDCA's and coaching take a strong commitment from both the coaches and learners. With effective practice and coaching in Kata yields a sense of personal development and accomplishment.

A global pharmaceutical company implemented the Kata methodology in their organization as a means to drive a continuous improvement mindset throughout, especially on the shop floor. As we have said before, excellence is achieved primarily on the shop floor rather than in a boardroom or classroom.

Over time, the company began seeing real problems being solved, because leaders were coaching and employees were learning. This was a complete culture change, but the change in culture meant process improvements. Why are improvements so important? Process improvements help create a better working environment for your employees. and increase margin for the company.

By implementing Kata, the company saw the following results:

  • 90% reduction in raw material testing backlog resulting in a 5 day decrease in cycle time and a $1,000,000 reduction in raw material inventory.

  • 70% decrease in batch process cleaning time.

  • 25% increased output of the compounding area.

  • 50% increase in OEE on 15 different production lines.

  • 60% decrease in complaint investigation cycle time.

  • 80% decrease in year-on-year overtime costs.

  • 75% decrease in vaccine potency variation.

  • 30% reduction in warehouse usage to allow for new equipment space.

  • 40% reduction in batch record review and approval cycle time.

  • 45% improvement in scheduling forecast accuracy.

  • 55% improvement in production schedule attainment.

A marathon runner trains for months or even years to develop his or her body to achieve the level of endurance needed to run for 26 miles without stopping. The organization that desires to see similar results to the pharmaceutical company needs to invest in a methodology whichdelivers results, and we believe the best method is Kata.

For more information about Kata and how to deploy it in your organization, please contact us at or call us at 218.791.7113. If you happen to use Kata in your organization, please leave a comment telling us about your experience.

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