All too often, this aspect of lean is missed. Most people are looking for the BIG savings. They don’t deem 2 seconds worth the savings. People miss the value of a bunch of 2 second savings adding up quickly and creating a lot of capacity and savings.
Recently, I was working with a group that found several 2 second savings in their area and it added up to over 200 hrs of gained productivity over the year.
The picture below is an example of a 2 second savings they found.
The box on the right shows where the label was outlined to be placed. The label is low and is blocked by the lip of the shelf. Every time a person has to put something in the box they have go scan the label, so they have to push it back to scan the label and then pull it forward to put the item in the box. Several people doing this over 300 boxes with upwards to 20 items per box.
The box on the left shows where they moved the label. Now a person does not have to push the box back and pull it forward saving about 2 seconds per box per item. This alone saved over 28 hours of time during a year. That is over a full day’s worth of worked that can gained from this simple change.
All savings are important. Seconds matter. Save them every chance you get.
Today’s guest blogger is Joe Wilson. Joe is a great lean thinker that worked for an automotive supplier for several years. Developing his lean thinking by diving into the deep end. Joe now works for Tyson Chicken working within their Industrial Engineering group. I am happy to post his writing here. Joe is a great lean thinker.
A few days ago, I had one of those random day-dreaming thoughts that spurred me to go look up something in a book that I haven’t read in a few years. When I opened the book, the bookmark was a heavily scribbled on piece of notepaper from a series of Lean classes I took. Among a handful of otherwise barely readable comments was these three words, underlined and circled: “PACE…NOT SPEED”.
Those 3 words stood out as a turning point for me in my lean education. Those words drove an understanding of what the huge pile of lean phrases and tools I had bouncing around my head really were all about.
You really can’t implement things like pull systems/kanbans/heijunka, standard work, or even 5-S programs until you can define what your customers want and when and how they want it. It is extremely difficult to determine how many people should be doing the work in your workplace or how much equipment you need to do the work if you don’t have a true understanding of how much work needs to be done. What this also means is that your distribution, purchasing, and planning/scheduling functions are absolutely critical to the success of your success in lean.
Where do you take this from here? Start by getting as deep as you can in what the market is for your plant/company’s output and what your customers need. Get as deep as you can in how your suppliers bring things to your door and how you handle those. Those things aren’t exactly the most interesting or flashy pieces of the pie to work on, but without a clear understanding of what you need to do, you can’t solve the problem of how you get there.