What is Kata and how is it different from Lean?

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This article tries to find answer to questions: What is Kata? How do Kata Coaching and the Improvement Kata work? How are they different from other lean concepts? By Rever Team.

The term “Kata” means a structured way of doing things or practice. It has its roots in Japanese martial arts where learners spend much of their time practicing drills to improve specific moves. By repeating a movement on a consistent basis, the correct technique is gradually mastered. It becomes ingrained in muscle memory until it happens by reflex. This kata definition then developed into a mainstream business practice when Toyota adopted it as part of its lean production system.

The term “Toyota Kata” was first used by Mike Rother in his book of the same name. In it, he outlined the core routines that he had observed at the Japanese automotive manufacturer which contributed to its continuous improvement efforts. Rother’s book explained how organizations could implement and benefit from Toyota’s improvement concepts by following structured habits or “Katas”.

In the business world, there are two main Katas or practices: the Coaching Kata and the Improvement Kata. These can both help businesses to develop a culture of improvement and innovation.

The article goes over following topics:

  • What Is Kata?
  • Benefits of Kata
  • Implementation
  • Improvement Kata
  • Coaching Kata
  • How are Kata and Lean different?
  • Principles

… and more. We liked: This improvement policy isn’t just about processes – it’s about people too. This is where the Coaching Kata comes into play. It is what helps employees to develop the skills and capabilities needed to continuously improve. Nice read!

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