Kata is referred to as the patterns that are practiced as fundamental movements in martial arts in Japan. It can also be referred as any routine or basic forms of behavior. These are patterns that can easily be recognized. With clear expectations and through it, problems will be able to instantly be identified. Kata is the basis of improvement, attainment and setting of standards. Kata is linked in two behaviors in lean management—the coaching kata and improvement kata.
Improvement Kata is the repetition of the four-step pattern that an organization adapts and continually improves. This continuous improvement is done by specific problem-solving procedure, and it is a plan, do, check, and an act routine. PDCA habit as they call it. The steps are:
1. Determining vision
2. Understanding current condition
3. Identify next target condition
4. Moving towards the target
Improvement Kata’s pattern is very essential in innovation, improvement and adaptation because it is specific and goal-oriented. The practice of it is purposely helping businesses so that they can meet challenges and achieve their endeavors. It aims to alter mental operating systems in order for human abilities to be more nurtured. The context of Improvement Kata in lean tools needs to be applied. The absence of it is going to stop improvement because it should be reinforced in the daily management, problem solving, events improvement, quality, and circles in the lean environment. This program creates continuous learning and improvement to organizations.
Coaching Kata is the repetitive routine in which lean leaders are able to teach Improvement Kata to all members or employees of the organization. They are called coaches who give procedural guidance to their learners and this will enable their learners to be more successful in surpassing their obstacles.
Toyota Production System (TPS) is integrating and observing Kata. As a matter of fact, there is a management book written by Mike Rother entitled Toyota Kata. The book has been focused in the explanation of Improvement Kata and the Coaching Kata, and these are the ways to make repetitive improvement procedures possible. Toyota Kata regarded management as a methodical pursuit of anticipated conditions through utilizing human competencies in an intensive way. Rother said that it has the aim of providing sustainable competitive advantage to the company. Furthermore, another of its benefits is that it is long term. Their organizations have mastered the effective routines in order to develop solutions. Toyota is utilizing this approach as a primary job of their leaders to achieve the goals that they ever wanted to be done.
The integration of Kata in TPS is a big leap of innovation to the car company. This is because they are very concerned about the lean manufacturing and the minimizing of waste in their production. They also included Kata in their improvement process because they know that it has done big changes in the behavior and thinking of their workers with constant practice. Their workers can derive confidence in working and they will eventually avoid waste.
— Slimane Zouggari