Yokoten: The Key to Quality Improvement

What is yokoten? Why is it so essential for businesses? And how does it fit in Gemba Kaizen?

business team sharing best practices with yokoten

Published 27 Jun 2022

What is Yokoten?

Yokoten is a Japanese word that translates to "best practice sharing." In the world of process improvement, Yokoten is a tool that helps to unify and standardize work processes across an organization. It's essential for creating a standardized and efficient process, which is key to minimizing errors and maximizing productivity.

Think of Yokoten as the foundation for creating a process that everyone in the organization can understand and follow. Without a standardized process, employees are often left to figure things out on their own, leading to inconsistency and confusion. To solve this problem, Yokoten provides a framework for everyone to follow so that everyone is on the same page.

How Does It Fit with Gemba Kaizen?

Gemba Kaizen is a Japanese word that translates to “practical improvement” or “workplace improvement .” Meanwhile, Yokoten is the practice of transferring learning and best practices from one area of the company to another. It is a system of continuous improvement that focuses on the actual place where work is done or the Gemba.

It is essential for maintaining a consistent level of quality and Lean efficiency across an organization. Yokoten helps ensure that everyone in the company, from the top executives to the front-line employees, is constantly learning and improving.

The connection between Yokoten and Gemba Kaizen is clear. Yokoten helps put Gemba Kaizen into action by ensuring that learning and continuous improvement are happening at all levels of the company.

Why is Yokoten Needed?

Yokoten is a key concept in Toyota Production System (TPS), and it is essential for improving communication and understanding among all members of the organization.

In a nutshell, Yokoten is about collecting and sharing knowledge so that everyone in the organization has access to the same information. This helps eliminate misunderstandings and allows everyone to work towards the same goal.

There are many benefits of Yokoten, such as the following:

  • Improved communication across teams
  • Reduced waste and improved quality
  • Easier to identify and fix any problems before they become bigger issues
  • Improved overall efficiency while preventing any bottlenecks from happening

Using Yokoten Within the Problem Solving Cycle

In lean manufacturing, Yokoten is a process of spreading and sharing knowledge throughout the organization. It is essential in problem-solving because it allows for all members of the team to be aware of the problem and potential solutions.

Yokoten can happen at any point in the problem-solving cycle but is typically most effective when it happens as early as possible. This allows more time to develop creative solutions and test them before the problem becomes too large.

You can follow some of these simple steps when using Yokoten:

  1. Identify and clarify the problem.
  2. Analyze and sort it out.
  3. Determine the objective.
  4. Figure out what is the root cause of the problem.
  5. Develop solutions.
  6. See countermeasures through.
  7. Evaluate the process and end result.
  8. Learn from mistakes and standardized success.

If you’re looking to implement Yokoten in your own organization, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that everyone is on board and understands why it’s important.
  • Create a system for sharing information effectively.
  • Be patient, for Yokoten takes time to properly implement before seeing results.

Applying Yokoten in Your Organization

One of the most important aspects of Yokoten is its ability to be applied in a variety of ways across an organization. Here are a few examples:

  • Board or Executive Level – A key part of Yokoten is the executive briefings which help to keep everyone aligned and informed on current progress and challenges.
  • Innovation or Process Development – Implementing a suggestion system and promoting cross-functional collaboration with the House of Lean will help teams quickly develop new ideas.
  • Operations or Business Units – Applying lean principles such as kanban boards and value-stream mapping will help to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
  • Marketing or Customer Service – Capturing customer feedback through the use of the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) method and ideas and sharing them across departments will improve the overall customer experience.
Shella Marie Ang

SafetyCulture staff writer

Shella Marie Ang

Shella Marie Ang is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. Cultivating her experience in social media marketing, virtual assistance, and SEO has helped her create compelling content for websites and blogs. Her medical background also has given her an edge when it comes to writing medical and health-related content. She loves reading in her free time and being around other creatives.

Shella Marie Ang is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. Cultivating her experience in social media marketing, virtual assistance, and SEO has helped her create compelling content for websites and blogs. Her medical background also has given her an edge when it comes to writing medical and health-related content. She loves reading in her free time and being around other creatives.