Lean teaches that one of the best ways to become “leaner” is to identify where minutes leak away in the course of a day and take action to stop it.
In my experience, the greatest leakage of minutes occurs at the beginning of the shift and after a break.
The beginning of the shift can be particularly costly.
Here’s a checklist:
- Schedules must be determined.
- Machines must be set up and operational.
- Raw material for production must be on hand.
- Teams must be in place and ready to produce.
The first three steps take leadership and organization. Schedule preparation must be complete and forward looking with our customers in mind. But, they must be solid as people arrive to work.
The machine leaders and maintenance must work to make sure the systems are in working order. To do this effectively, some people will come early and some will stay late. Some will work a slightly different shift. But, the work of the few accountable for getting it done will assure that the many who produce our products don’t waste our time.
Raw material in place? If the team is on time and the raw material isn’t there, minutes leak away in multiples and pile up. The right raw materials in place follow having a firm schedule.
If leadership assures that all the right things are in place, the biggest commitment falls on the team.
Be on time. Not in the parking lot. Not in the break room. Not at the time clock. Be at your station.
If you don’t show, all the effort of getting ready is squandered as we reshuffle people and schedules to adapt.
It is just as bad to be late as it is to miss. Because if you’re 10 minutes late, the process of reshuffling has begun.
Starting on time establishes the pace of the day. A great first hour of production means you have a chance to break records and to exceed expectations. It creates confidence. It sets us apart.
If I was at your plant today, would I have seen every minute at the beginning of the shift and each startup gathered and put to use?
The great plants understand that minutes matter. And, they have the discipline and commitment to gather them.