Take a Lean Tour of FastCap

Are you interested in Lean Manufacturing? Well take a trip to the shop floor and see a lean factory tour at FastCap in Ferndale, Washington. Paul Akers is the founder and president of FastCap, based in Bellingham, WA. FastCap is an international product development company founded in 1997 with over 2000 distributors worldwide. A prolific inventor, Paul holds US and international patents. FastCap, launches approximately 20 new innovative products per year and has won business of the year multiple times. Paul and his wife, Leanne, have built FastCap from their garage into a multi-million dollar company. At its core, FastCap is a Lean company, determined to continuously improve everything, everyday. Our products reflect the idea that things can be improved and the best ideas come from the shop floor.

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  1. Good Morning
    I am the Continuous Improvement Manager for an Australia Terex Company and will be travelling to the US early last week of May – early June and was hopeful that you have a factory tour opportunity for me to attend.
    Kind Regards
    Karen Wherry

    • Because we are inundated with tour requests from around the world, we have established tour requirements (see below). We have very large companies tour FastCap (e.g., Boeing, Toyota, Bombardier, the U.S. Navy, etc.) and every one of them have to meet these requirements.  Other companies will charge $1000 a person for a similar tour. We don’t charge, but we do judge the seriousness of your lean efforts before we accept you for our tour. The tour is not for the curious…it is for people who seriously want to learn Lean and have made a commitment to take what they learn and implement it.   We only have so much time for facility tours, so we have to be very careful how we use it.  We now limit ourselves to 8 tours a year. 

      We are not teaching how to do Lean, we are teaching how to build a Lean culture.  With so much demand to learn, we had to come up with a Lean way to reach as many people as possible, so I took my video camera and Razor scooter and 4 hours of time and produced this video (over 105,00 views). No film crew, no professionals, just me and my people .  It was simple, fast and easy. It is not perfect! Perfection is for people who want to tell you all the reasons they can’t get things done.

      Another important video for you to watch is my talk to the LCI group in San Francisco a few years back call Lean Is Simple (over 143,000 views). It is an hour and a half presentation.

      We have 1,500 videos (with over 3 million views ) that are free and go into details on many Lean subjects. Click here to go directly to our Lean Video Library or go directly to our YouTube Channels: FastCap & Paul Akers.

      There are so many companies around the world that are doing a fantastic job of building a Lean culture. I interviewed the leaders of some of those companies at the MAPP conference in Indiana. Click here to watch the Lean Roundtable (over 1,900 views). 

      Below are videos from 6 companies building a Lean culture:
      Walters & WolfHauling the Mail Video & Where is Shop B Video
      Xylem DesignXylem Design Tour Video
      Klime-EzeeOne Year Lean Update Video
      YellotoolsBreaking Down a Process Video 
      Viking PlasticsSeal Feeder Improvement Video
      OmniductWeekly Video Blog Video

      We have also built a Lean Hub, which provides contact information for a Lean organization by location.  Many of them provide tours (they have their own criteria).

      FastCap Tour Requirements: 
      CEO must attend. We understand that some organizations are huge and it is not likely that the CEO would attend the tour, however, you should know that we have had companies with 70,000 employees globally and the president, as well as the board members, have attended the tour. We have made a few exceptions to this stipulation, but only if we are convinced that the leader s attending have the power to build a Lean culture successfully.
      Attendees must read my book, 2 Second Lean (digital/audio versions available at no costs).
      Attendees must watch at least 10 of our Lean videos in advance of your FastCap tour.
      Attendees must be committed to transform ing to a Lean culture and company within 1 year or your FastCap tour.
      Your organization must make 50 improvement videos (before/after) prior to your FastCap tour.
      Your organization must set up a public YouTube channel to share lean videos with the world.
      Your organization must allow other businesses to tour your facility within 1 year of your FastCap tour.  Your organization is highly encouraged to participate in the Lean Hub.
      Attendees must have a Skype interview with me for final approval. With this interview, I will be able to determine your sincerity. In lieu of this, each member attending can make a 60 second video telling me why they want to tour FastCap and what they expect to get out of it. You can post these videos your YouTube channel, make them unlisted, and send me the links.

      If you can meet the above criteria these, please send me with the names/contact information of all attendees (indicate the primary contact). 

      Tour details and prep work:
      We start at 7:00 a.m.sharp and end around 9:00 a.m. 
      We work in a manufacturing facility so warm clothes on cold days are encouraged; our plant is usually around 64 degrees.
      The first thing you will do on the tour is clean our bathrooms.  This teaches humility, and demonstrates effective processes…two of the cornerstones of Lean.
      Attendees should come with one clear goal of what they want to achieve.
      Please watch these videos so you will all have a good point of reference to maximize your visit.  You can also visit my website where you will find many more videos and resources that you can use as training tools for your team.

      Why FastCap gives lean tours?: 
      We have benefited so much from learning the Toyota Production System…this is our way of giving back. Toyota taught us from their 50 years of experience, so we are paying it forward.
      We want others to receive the same benefits we have in building a strong business climate in America.
      We get better at Lean when we teach it.
      It is rewarding and we feel very satisfied when others want to see and experience what we are doing to build a Lean culture.

      Common questions people ask after the tour:
      How do I start lean?
      Identify what bugs you and fix it. Learn to see waste; it is everywhere…seen easily by looking in the mirror.
      Make one small change or 2 second improvement every day for the rest of your life.
      Create a Lean bathroom and let it spread from there to the rest of your organization.

      Can I learn this without consultants and spending lots of money?:
      First of all, Lean is easy.  Approach it with this mind set and you will succeed.
      Stop making excuses why you can’t do it (i.e., my boss doesn’t get it, my wife doesn’t get it, etc.) If you make excuses, you will never learn or experience Lean. Change yourself, change your family, change your street, change your city, and change the world.
      Experience a Lean culture by touring Lean companies like FastCap. Become part of the Lean Hub.  Get connected.  We are all here to help one another.
      Experience it first, see the benefits with your own eyes, then begin to read and learn about it.
      Watch all the Lean videos FastCap provides and use them as training tools in your company.
      Subscribe to my weekly emails:  2 Second Lean…a brief video regarding Lean; and The American Innovator…a show about my travels and Lean adventures.
      Read The Toyota Way (select Business from the right sidebar).
      Read 2 Second Lean

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