[VIDEO] - Eliminating Waste

In a previous article, "Pillars of Lean, Part 1: Eliminating Waste" we talked about how to build a LEAN culture by eliminating waste. 

We said that trying to tackle the never ending mountain of waste in our shop is intimidating, but it is well worth the climb. Even being a fourth of the way up the mountain is a whole lot better, and a whole lot more profitable, than being at the bottom. We said that's why we choose to push thru and keep climbing until we reach the top. 

We also simplified how we climb our mountain and how you can get climbing on yours too with these four steps:

  1. One Step at a Time
  2. Breathe, Then Walk
  3. Pick the Next Thing
  4. No More Bandaids



We hope you've had a chance to start tackling your own mountain of waste so you can truly live the lean culture. Today, we are bringing step #3 to life with a real world example from our shop. 

Let’s review our example to highlight the picking process and then take a look at our video to see what the improvement looks like in our shop. 


Pick the Next Thing

How do you cherry pick the projects to eliminate waste when there are so many of them to choose from?

Our laundry list is no doubt ridiculously long but generally it is easy to pick our next area of improvement. We just look at where the trouble area is or bottleneck.

For example, our drawer area was starting to lag behind and we could not figure out why. After a short session it was easy to see the problem. Drawer parts were being cut on the CNC, which means they were mixed among other parts in the job. So the parts were coming off sporadically and generally toward the end of the nest. On top of that, the small parts were having a hard time staying down on the machine, resulting in defective parts that had to be recut.  

After little contemplation we (myself and the employees in the drawer cell) decided to start bringing in pre made drawer stock and taking it off the CNC all together. The result was an immediate turnaround of that cell and now schedule will no longer be an issue.

That one example was about a 3 day implementation that will require a 1 day tune up in the upcoming weeks.



time to to CLimb

So, to pick your next thing ask yourself, “What is the one process that can be improved RIGHT NOW that would have the greatest amount of impact? Pick the one you want and focus with laser intensity until it is fixed. Once you start, you will never look back. 

Do you remember reading about this idea last month and planning to use it, but just didn't have time to get to it? Trust me when I say there will never be time to work on your business instead of just in it. You have to make the time to continuously improve. If you do, the pay off personally and professionally will be huge. 

If you have started tackling waste in any capacity, be sure to comment below and let us know if how its going and what effect it has had on your shop!