Here are a few quotes I have heard over the years from frustrated people practicing their improvement skills:
"An operator should be able to come in off the street and be able to look at the standard work pictures and instantly do the job."
"We set this up for single piece flow. They shouldn't be batching!"
"When this kaizen is complete, it shouldn't need any babysitting. It should be self-sustaining."
"The worksheet said that the changeover should only take fifteen minutes, not two hours!"
"This process should be on autopilot. I wouldn't put a lot of time in this if I were you."
I think of what my father would say in the face of these grand statements: "Could've, Should've, Would've. What are you going to do about it?"
The only things in life that I know of capable of running on autopilot with zero intervention are natural laws. Organizational laws, where kaizen resides, are man-made; so it is people, then, that must nurture their personal creations. It is easy to imagine then, or remember from the cold experience of failure, that one of the troubles with organizational laws is that they are extremely fragile and will break at a moments notice. Before you dive into your next kaizen and expect miracles to happen, just remember you need a plan for when that magic week is over. The kaizen will die a swift and painful death if you do not feed it.
With spring is the new birth: how will you feed your kaizen?