Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is going deep not going farther?

Last week, we did process training using the now-famous Toast Kaizen Video.  I've watched this video six or seven times now; it never ceases to amaze me with the adequate and oh-so-accessible approach to understanding waste. 
In particular, it struck me this time how important it is to make actual observations of the process in action.  There is no substitute to watching, with my own eyes, if I expect to make a contribution myself.  I learned something new.  It helped. A lot. 
This process of reviewing and going deeper is central.  The more I learn about Lean, the more I realize I don't know.  I have to catch myself, therefore, when I speak with others who have, perhaps, participated in one or two kaizen events and then moan about wanting to "move on" to the next topic.  I want to respect those people and accept their questions politely.  Yet a part of me has a tendency to say "NO" and then give an unrequested lecture on going deep, learning a single subject in all its substance rather than lightly skimming many subjects. 
I'll do my best to not do this to you.  so long as you remember going deeper IS going farther. 
Keep learning. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just in time Discount for Just in Time Shoppers for Just in Time Books

Our good friends at the Lean Enterprise Institute passed along a nice discount offer to me today.  . 
All you need to do is head for the Lean Enterprise Institute's online Store at  and enter THANKYOU09 in the discount code field at checkout. Their offer is good through Jan 31, 2010. 
Just think of the romance and sparkle this will bring your special someone on Christmas morning!  "Oh, honey, you got me that book on Hosin Kanri!  And just in time for my strategic planning for next Christmas!"  Remember folks, nothing says "I love you" quite like a new X-Chart template on a CD in the back of a book.  
OK, so I exaggerate.  Yet maybe not...forward this post to that same someone who is completely stuck on what to get YOU this year.  Explain that this is simply an effective pull system for gift giving. 
Keep learning, keep smiling. 

Monday, December 07, 2009

Simple Inventory Control Example

We talk about limiting the amount of Work In Process (WIP) inventory, especially inventory at the point of use.  Here's an example which helped bring that home for me.
Mick is a friend and pays attention to Lean principles.  He described to me his method of keeping his file drawers both organized and under control. 
It seems he has about a drawer and a half which he can use in his cubicle for filing.  Company policy prohibits additional storage space in the cube.  While some whine about it, Mick adapted to it.  His system is simple:
  • All his files are labeled and placed alphabetically.  So, the file for "Kaizen Events" comes just ahead of the file for "Logistic Planning".  He does not try to put subjects together, unless he names them as such (so, he told me, "Vendors-Critical" would be next to "Vendors-Potential")
  • He creates new files as needed, such as when a new project comes up or a large file needs to be subdivided
  • When he creates a new file, he removes an old file.  He usually shreds or recycles the old file.   Thus, he never takes up more space in the file drawers.  And never needs to add space.  Knowing him, I suspect his cube is neater than others as well.
"What about the old files?" I asked.  "Don't you lose that stuff you pitch?"
"Ha!" said Mick, anticipating my question.  He described for me, at some length, how inevitably he'll find a file in the general alphabetical neighborhood of his new file which is irrelevant, old, or otherwise serving no purpose.  "It feels good to pitch the content and recycle the file folder." 
And he limits inventory in a very simple way.
Helped me...hope hit helps you as well.
Keep learning.