Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wild Rose 3

Last 2 pictures from Wild Rose

This is the tool board on a normal day, not pre or post 5S check.  People have set up a system that works for them and because it works they use.  Note the Orange and Yellow tags per yesterdays post.

No arguing where this goes back.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wild Rose 2

As I have said I had the good fortune to work with Wild Rose Brewery.  I had the even greater fortune to meet up with Richard at Wild Rose and see they were continuing their own 3S.  These guys Sort, Set and Shine as they need to.  The culture is such that there is no need to do any Standardize and Sustain.  These steps are built in, in their own special way.  And the truth is that Sort, Set and Shine are the steps that make the difference, most companies need the last 2 S's to keep themselves on track.
Below is an example of good consistent visual management.

Yellow is for BREWING use ONLY
Blue is for FILTRATION use ONLY
Orange is for PACKAGING use ONLY

 Again nothing overdone (over processing), a good simple approach.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Marginal gains

If you are regular reader you will have noticed a number of cycling related posts.  One because I'm a cyclist from the UK and the success of British cyclists excites me.  And two because of the kaizen approach that British cycling takes to winning, this approach is know as "Aggregation of marginal gains".  Sound familiar?

Generally I've been able to read about the tech and training approach of the team.  Today I got a chance to read a little more about the overall approach of the team.
  • “Firstly, you need a team with the skills and motivation to succeed”
  • “Secondly, you need to understand what you want to achieve”
  • “Thirdly, you need to understand where you are now”
  • “Then, you need to put a plan in place to see how you can get from where you are now to what you want to achieve”
  • “Also, it’s important to understand the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’.  Put simply….how small improvements in a number of different aspects of what we do can have a huge impact to the overall performance of the team.”
These 5 points are a great combination of Lean thinking and also many of the lessons from Jim Collins book Good to Great. 
Full article over here  -

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wild Rose 1 - The point is not to touch

One of the odd things about companies as they start their Lean journey is they think that everything has to be perfect.  It does not need to be perfect, it needs to be better.  One company I worked with that did not fall into that trap is the wonderful Wild Rose Brewery here in Calgary.
Label printers are nice but the message will still be the same.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


“Impossible Is Not a Fact. It’s an Opinion.”

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing." ~ Muhammad Ali

In Lean we have to do the impossible.  Shortening lead times, increasing productivity and improving quality are the easy parts.  The part that can fill me with trepidation, because I can never know if I can do it is to take the people with me on the journey.   What part of Lean is the 'impossible' part for you?

For an alternative view on impossible:
"The impossible often has a kind of integrity the merely improbable lacks." ~Douglas Adams

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Check list listening

Check lists are an often overlooked tool.  They can be both simple and effective if they are used correctly.  The classic check list we can all think of is one used by an airline pilot to check his/her plane before a flight.  And not many of us would be comfortable being on a flights if we knew the pilot had skipped the pre-flight checklist.
Too often checklists are used solely as a downstream tool to ensure that x is doing their job correctly.  Or they are used by a manger in the hope that if they put one in place then the problem will go away and the manager's job is done.
I was shopping recently and as I exited the changing room I noticed the checklist shown below.  The other white marks are where paint has peeled from the wall.
Oops I thought, couple of things wrong here.  First the checklist is not being used and second even if it is no one is listening.  It is one thing to hold people accountable for their work and give them the tools and responsibility and to their work.  It is another thing to supposedly hold people accountable and not give them the resources to maintain the standards you expect of them.Checklists like most lean tools (I'm trying to think of an exception) have 2 parts to them.  The 'Do' part and the 'Check/Feedback/Communication' part
In this situation it is obvious that the feedback part of the deal is not happening.  And I do mean DEAL.  The implicit DEAL with a check list is - You follow the procedure and sign off that you are doing it and I or the Company will give you the tools and resources to make sure you can do your job and when things are out of specification corrective action will happen. 
As a Lean practitioner I see a lot of generic process waste happening as people go through the motions which must be disheartening.  As the customer I can only say I'd have like to have entered a nicer changing room.  Had I done so I'd have been in a better mood and would have been more likely to have spent longer in the store and spent more.