Floor Tape Store

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Lean Moonshine – A Powerful Improvement Method


No this is not what you’re thinking if you’ve seen the show Moonshiners or tried some moonshine before. During prohibition in the United States, individuals illegally produced liquor mostly at night under the light of the moon. Raw materials used to make the liquor (called Moonshine) were varied, some poisonous, and the equipment was most likely constructed of re-used bits and pieces of copper and other metals. No two stills were identical, and the moonshiners used a bit of creativity to create a working system.

At Wiremold (where I worked) we used the Shingjiutsu Consulting Company to transform the business and teach us kaizen. Mr. Chihiro Nakao, founder Shingijutsu, transformed the Moonshine concept into a tool and method to innovate and create new ideas and solutions with a focus on production processes. This kaizen (continuous improvement) tool is a practical method to use your critical thinking skills to drive to a solution. Traditional methods, creating a project task force, analyzing/evaluating the problem are tedious and ineffective. Instead, pursue a “no excuse” attitude and create a solution to the problem. Moonshine enables the team to create prototypes through “trystorming” and as referred to by some as “cardboard engineering” using examples from nature as input.

Employees use simple and inexpensive materials to find solutions to problems they encounter in their day-to-day work. Using affordable materials means fewer budget constraints and lets employees give free rein to their creativity.

Focus of the Moonshine

  • Emphasis on creativity, using only materials that are directly available. ‘Doing a lot with a little.’
  • Encourage experimentation, using simulations, prototyping, and trials to explore and inspire. ‘Try-storming.’
  • Collaboration and observation of how peers work.
  • Get out of the typical workspace. A change of scenery can help stimulate new ideas.
  • Little to no structure helps the flow of creativity flowing smoothly.
  • Leader enabled, but not directed.

What’s more, that fear of failure doesn’t hinder creativity. Quite the opposite—failure is a normal part of the creative process. You just roll up their sleeves and find a way to make it better. They use ingenuity to create simple physical prototypes quickly.

At Wiremold we had a Moonshine shop that focused on rapid prototyping and design solutions that aided in many trial-and-error testing iterations. This team was used in all kaizen activities and was big asset in our trystorming culture.

I think all companies can benefit from space and where they tinker and make mistakes. It should contain all sorts of tools, old equipment and machinery at a minimum. And management needs to trust them enough that they can be left to figure things out in there. Otherwise where does creativity come from.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

No comments:

Post a Comment