Monthly Archives: January 2016
The Most Important Lean Tool
Your eyes. Plain and simple. Without them you can’t go and see what is actually happening.
There are stories about Taiichi Ohno leaving engineers in a circle for hours to observe the process. The engineer was to discover the waste in the process. What was not creating value? Then address it.
Organizations have instituted a policy stating that a person can’t talk about a problem unless they have seen it. The goal is to get everyone to understand what actually is the problem and not what they hear is the problem or jump to solutions.
A person can walk out their doors and onto the production floor in order to observe what is happening. But observation may not always be easy. What if it is an order entry person that does all their work in a computer? Sit with that person and actually watch them enter orders. Ask questions. Use tools like process or value stream maps to create a visual of the work to see.
Even leadership work can be made visible in order to observe what is actually happening. I put my scheduled on a white board so the area could see when I was going to be there to look for waste. Every Tuesday at 2:30. If I didn’t show up, people knew it and asked about it.
Are you using your most important lean tool as often as you should?
I have to thank my manager for this one. Before Christmas she handed out a few blog posts from Seth Godin. One was called “Finding inspiration instead of it finding you.”
It is a short quick read that I recommend for everyone. In it Seth talks about trying ideas and seeing what works. It may not be the first or second idea but soon one will create inspiration and success.
This is great for problem solving. Find the root cause. Then try an idea. Check the results and if it doesn’t work DON’T go back to the old way. Try something different.
Quick example: I new my old ways of gathering tasks and prioritizing wasn’t working. So, I tried a kanban board. The first try didn’t work, so I tried something different. The same thing happened when I went to an electronic kanban board as well.
I want to post 51 blogs in 2016, so I am going to use Seth’s example and every day until the end of February I am writing a topic in my notebook. Some may never get written about. Others will end up here on Beyond Lean.
If you have topics you want to hear about leave them in the comments.
Where do you need inspiration?
It has been quite a while since I have posted here at the blog. 2015 was a crazy year and I didn’t get to post as much as I would have liked. Part of the reason was time. Part of the reason was content.
I don’t want to post content for the sake of posting. I want to post content that is meaningful and helps people. New insights. Different approaches.
My goal is at least on post per week for the entire year. That would be 51 posts (already missed a week) which would be double what I did last year.
Bring on 2016!!