Friday, September 20, 2002

Settings vs. Measurements

Going to Gemba seldom disappoints. Yesterday was no exception. I came away with a list of seven clear assessments, accompanied with conversations on how to improve our performance.

One was a marvelously and elegantly simple set of clamps that three of our foremen had dreamed up and had fabricated. They were steel rods about 17’ long with a bracket on each end and a vise grip tool (yes, the kind you buy in a store to clamp things together) welded onto each bracket. Funny looking but very effective. They used them to quickly and accurately clamp two trusses together while they fabricated them on the ground. The clamps held the two trusses at precisely the correct distance from each other while the 2x8s that were the final product were inserted. Safety was enhanced (they worked on the ground, not 25 feet in the air), quality was improved (all spacings were perfect) and speed was tripled.

Why? They employed the lean principle of "settings are better than measurements). The correct measurement was embedded in the spacing on the rod. Normally, they would use a measuring tape on these trusses. Not so here.

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