At PlastiCert, we practice many of the aspects of Lean we just don’t call it that. With one-half the company a tooling shop and the other engineering based processing, we try to avoid the stigma of “change,” opting for “improvement” as that is the ultimate goal. I think Lean itself has an indirect negative connotation to it, i.e. you end up with less than you started.
We like to think of it as increasing efficiency, making work easier, i.e. common sense implementation. Each time we address a work center, (I honestly can never remember what the 5s’s in 5s are), we know that we are going to assess, clean, and standardize for the operation rather than the operator, which is the same thing I believe.
Telling the shop staff that we are going to Value Stream Map, learn to have a Kaizen event or go Six Sigma yields looks, which are akin to performance reviews or employee benefit reviews.
We don’t Value Stream Map, instead, we say we are going to analyze getting from A to B the most efficiently, and they get it.
We don’t have Kaizen events, a.k.a. meetings. We make sure our people know that improvement is continuous and their own environment or shared environments can always be improved, within reason. A stand-up discussion (not a meeting) may sometimes be involved and change can take place over time once the effort has been defined.
Maybe when we get much larger, we will have to be more regimented about these processes and proceedings. Until then, we will try to make our mission about servicing our customers and staying focused on that.
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