4. May 2010 08:56
Like most of you, I thoroughly enjoyed a long weekend celebrating Easter recently.
The extra day off gave me some time to work around the house and while I did, I got to thinking about Lean and how it applies almost everywhere.
In fact, the Lean Tools almost form a foundation that has allowed us to progress and create ever more complex technologies.
OK, I know this may be a little bit of a stretch and I’m not saying that without Lean techniques, we would still be using square wheels, BUT the core beliefs of Lean certainly align with those that have enabled us to advance. For instance, the Lean concept of Standard Work forms a foundation for improvement much like any other standard practice. Once a new idea has proven effective, it must be shared. At first, others adopt the practice and learn to apply it. Then they improve on it and the sharing of the new idea starts all over. When work is standardized, the same principle applies. Others can be trained to perform the task in the standard way, and then improvements can be made. If there is no standard method, it is impossible to tell if a change has a positive impact or a negative one.
Another foundational principal of Lean is the implementation of small improvements to our daily work. This concept is often called Kaizen: continuous change for the better. Most of us are continually seeking to improve our daily lives by reducing the amount of time different tasks take. In fact, we spend a great deal of money seeking to make tasks such as cleaning and yard work easier and faster. If we use the Lean principles such as 5S (Workplace Organization) and Waste Reduction, we can eliminate waste in our daily work both professionally and personally.
Standard Work, waste elimination, Kaizen and many other powerful tools of Lean can be applied to our everyday lives to reduce frustration, improve efficiency and increase effectiveness. Maybe in later posts, we will discuss some others. I am pondering a video post on applying Setup Reduction to our daily lives, but let’s see what you think of this concept first. Please let me know. Chime in with examples of small improvements to your daily life that fall into this thought process or ideas for future posts on this topic.