working way harder, how could it be
getting worse? Take a much slower approach, you will discover limitations all
around you. It could be the way orders
are released to the shop, software,
machines and defiant people!
Remember we are all programmed
as batch producers, and a slow gradual
shift will be much less painful.
When people are writing and teach-
ing about lean practices, we all tend to
speak in infinite terms such as “Elimi-
nate” in the case of waste, “single-piece
flow” in the case of production. This
can cause a slight misconception and
put people into the bad situation of
too lean, too fast.
A much safer and more effective
approach is to simply benchmark
what you are doing now, and focus on
a reduction. Let’s say you are releasing cabinets to your saw or router in
batches of 60 boxes. Simply put a plan
in place to slowly reduce that each
week (or month) by 10.
With each reduction you will prob-
ably run into something that makes
it seem like a bad idea. That’s your
golden nugget of opportunity. Each
time one of those pops up, work with
your team to overcome that obstacle.
When the dust settles, reduce it again.
Lean should be a big game of elimi-
nating waste, a fun scavenger hunt.
Make it an enjoyable challenge
for your people and watch their jobs
become easier, quality go up, your
productivity soar as costs go down.
Remember, slow and steady wins the
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