Tuesday, September 17, 2002

5,000 Apple Pies – Initial Introduction to Lean

Tonight, I did the demonstration with Legos of how a container kanban system could work to make all these apple pies. With a committee of 9 people, I divvied them up into roles as material sorters, a material handler and assemblers. By varying how many were doing each, I visibly shifted the constraint of the system and showed the visual clues that will tell us how to balance production.
What did I learn about training and acting as a change agent?
1. The demonstration was worth far more than any write up, memo or diagram. When I was done, the group was sold and didn’t want or need to see anything more.
2. The concept of small containers, delivered frequently, hit home.
3. In the ensuing discussion, I learned of a few more wrinkles to the process than I had known before. Had we not done the demonstration, I would have missed some important facts.
4. Labels on containers will be crucial. The visual workplace concepts work.
Two weeks from tonight we finalize the plans. We’ll make 5,000 pies on October 15-16. Stay tuned.

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