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Friday, September 8, 2017

Lean Quote: Lean Is About Constant Ticking, Not Occasional Kicking

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Lean is about constant ticking, not occasional kicking." — Alex Miller, Professor of Management at The University of Tennessee

Continuous improvement is taking an established production process and looking for ways to incrementally improve the production process. Although individual changes may not seem to have a major impact, the aggregate means significant change and improvement to the manufacturing process. By taking small measured steps, as a course of every day action, it also allows for improvement while eliminating risk of making one massive leap to try to achieve the same effect.

Employees tend to focus on small changes that can be accomplished without a lot of expense. In fact, many ideas from employees involve eliminating processes, rather than adding them, which is an excellent way to be sure that every activity adds some value to the customer and reduces wasted effort.

Lean is the continuous improvement of processes and the constant questioning of the status quo. It’s always striving for an ideal. Do not expect your Lean efforts to be perfect from the start, but do not ignore the obvious requirements you need to meet and plan for. Go for simple solutions, without over-engineering the principles of the program.

By focusing on just the dollars and cents vs. the bigger picture, organizations can miss the bigger vision of their manufacturing environment. Incorporating a focus on company culture by adopting the continuous improvement philosophy allows organizations to incorporate both costs and people in their vision. Continuous improvement stimulates employees to achieve for the greater good of the organization.

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