Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Friday, January 25th, 2013
From time to time, we will have someone visit one of our plants who hasn’t previously seen a pallet operation.
After making the visit, without exception, they will say, “Until I visited your plant, I never thought much about pallets. Now I see them everywhere I go.”
That’s the same kind of experience I hope you are having with “lean.” I hope that as you receive an education on “lean,” your awareness of “lean” methods is increasing. As that awareness of “lean” increases, I hope you see opportunities to make processes and procedures “leaner” all the time. And, finally, as you see them, that you will initiate action to do something about the “lean” opportunities that you see.
Some of the things you see, you can do without asking anyone. Some of your habits aren’t “lean.” Some of the ways we do things haven’t been tweaked in a very long time. A meaningful, honest self assessment can lead you to some “lean” projects you can work on that impact directly what you do.
As a “customer” in our operations, you have a right to speak up to those who provide you products or services when you see things that aren’t “lean.” The key idea behind “lean” is the customer doesn’t want to pay for anything that doesn’t add value to the product or service received. The critical eye of the customer can be our best friend in achieving “lean” results.
As a teammate or an observer, you may not be able to impact a “lean” decision but you can initiate the conversation about it. When you see us not performing in a “lean” fashion, speak up. Ask a question. Make a suggestion. So many times, your views will be more objective than those who actually are doing the work.
“Lean” is a mindset. It is a way of life. It’s a process that continues and doesn’t end. The key is to see opportunities and do something about them.