Taking the time to understand the current state of a problem can be described as the most critical part for improvement. Many Lean practitioners will recommend at least 50% of the time invested in making an improvement be in the Plan phase of the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle. This is where you will study the problem where it occurs (the gemba) and collect baseline metrics, facts, and observations to answer the question “What is currently happening?” From there a problem statement can be formulated to focus the improvement effort.
A good problem statement should sound something like this: “A is happening, causing X, Y, and Z.” A is the problem and X, Y, and Z are waste.
A kaizen event is currently implementing countermeasures to respond to the problems within the Tech Fit Benefit Request Process. Metrics were collected for a few weeks prior to the team getting together. Vendors and customers (stakeholders) were involved to understand key issues with the process. As a result, a problem statement was formulated: