How we at Kuriosis improved our business in 2020
Here in Kuriosis, we get inspired day by day by different currents of thoughts. We believe that constant development and learning make us improve as a company. That has helped us throughout all this time to organise the company and improve different areas as well.
From all the ones we follow, there are two that stand out of the rest. These two currents or methodologies are deeply in the company's core, and we take our practice frequently towards them. From daily contact with our clients to the way we organise the stickers you receive together with your orders.
Camilo distributing the stickers you receive together with your order
The first one we want to talk to you is Kaizen. Kaizen is a philosophy, and it gave its first steps in the company Toyota. The word is divided into two different ones Kai (change), and Zen (good). This philosophy mainly focused on the small changes that you can do in your company. Changes that you don't usually pay attention, but that end up being great ideas and improvements in different levels at everything you do.
Masaaki Imai, the person behind Kaizen during post-WWII times is its most prominent exponent and the precursor of this philosophy. Japan was devastated after the war, and they needed to recover from this episode. To do it, they started implementing the Kaizen principle, which is the constant improvement of processes. But Kaizen is not only to improve something. Kaizen is about measuring that specific aspect you need to improve.
Maybe by reading this, you can think "Ok, but I don't own a company". In that aspect, Kaizen can be applied to everything. As it is the constant improvement of everything we do, you can use it differently in your life. Let's say you want to prepare yourself for cycling competition, or not even a competition. We could indeed do it all at once, but the result probably will not be what we expect. The chain could break, the breaks could cut, a tyre be flat, etc. Kaizen is the improvement for all those small processes, that even though they are not critical -because you can just ride your bicycle without paying attention to those three examples-, they will help you reach your goal.
You can apply that in the same form to your time, physical preparation, stamina, etc. By taking short rides around the block, the neighbourhood, the district, the region, you might be able to cycle longer distances. That is what Kaizen can offer you. It can help you not only if you have a company but also at everything you do.
We have applied this principle for some times, and the changes in the company have been massive. We have paid close attention to everything we do, and we consistently try to find the best possible way to improve it.
The second current of thought we would like to tell you about is Lean. Lean is the mindset in a company where we apply different "sub"-principles to make everything work better. In this case, it differs from Kaizen because here we use it exclusively in the company. Still, we combine both methodologies to make our experience and the customer one the best possible.
Lean is a series of steps that followed, can create a massive impact on your company. The principle itself has five different processes. We will give a brief definition of them, and add how we apply it in the company.
1. Identify Value.
In this part, we focus on what the customer wants, and we make sure to deliver it.
Here we see your demands as a customer and focus on delivering and achieving all the imposed goals to make that happen.
Given the increase in orders, we had to find a new Atelier. Here, Danilo patiently waits for the truck to bring all the tubes to our new Atelier. July 2020
2. Identify the Value Stream and Eliminate Waste.
Here we talk about the product's journey, and it is about all the steps we take to produce our products.
Here, we have analysed the flow of the stream of the product. We have measured all the steps we follow to be as productive as possible and not work in a full of waste environment.
In this part, we have eliminated processes and waste mostly. For us, everything that interrupts the process itself, we consider it as waste. That is to say, garbage around the working space, tools we don't need to produce our products, tidiness in all senses. Here we get rid of everything that we don't need. And we cannot emphasise enough how often we do it. We do this process from how we make the slips that include the letter, stickers, and extra A4 print to how we organise files on our computers and servers. That helps us to make the stream flow, and improve the process itself.
Chiara improving the way we organise and make the slips
3. Align the process according to Customer Demands
In this part, we accommodate our offer according to the demands of our customers. That is to say, the interaction we have with you and all the feedback you give us in terms of trends, and new things you would like to see like new collections, materials, hangers, etc. We truly appreciate all that because that helps us improve every day.
4. Involve and empower employees.
Here we talk among all of us to improve steps continuously. The opinion of all people who work at Kuriosis is taking into account to enhance the everyday process. We all have a say on the way we are doing things, and any of us can give his or her opinion to make that work better.
Maryna, Danilo and Camilo checking the new distribution in our Atelier
5. Share what you learn.
Here is the moment of the process where we all share our thoughts on the process. We evaluate how everything went and whether it applies to it.
Chiara and her distribution map of the new place, July 2020
By following all these steps, we have improved significantly the way we produce in the company. We develop new strategies daily to make everyone's life better and easier during this search for perfection and constant questioning.
Lean is not a matter of producing faster but more effective. Fortunately, we have applied these processes, and they have helped us significantly improve our performance in all terms.
We started by doing too many things differently, and now we have the new ones as standard processes in the company. That has saved us time, production cost, and has helped us have more time to continue researching and finding new ways of improving.
We wanted to share these two currents of thoughts because we wanted you to know how our company works. That way, you could see where we started and where we are now.
It is a great pleasure to see all the improvements we have done, and we remember with a bit of nostalgia the good old days, but we embrace them and couldn't be happier and excited for what is coming next.
We also wanted to share this because we do believe that these two principles could be useful for you to apply them in any challenge or tasks or activities you perform. We are confident that they will be of great help.
Finally, we want to leave you a couple of photos. Here you will see a bit of the process, the improvements, where we started, and where we are now.
How we started
Trying to catch up with all the orders. June 2020
Maryna and Chiara setting up everything and working on new mock ups
The rolling station
We use to have a table to keep the prints there. Now this tray cart helps us to keep more and using the same space, but taking advantage of its height.
The organisation of the prints