Yesterday we had the greatest lean moment. We needed to modify a component, and that modification required a special small tool. This modification is rarely needed and the guy that usually did the modification left the company three months ago. This is how it went…
The guy that needed the tool came to me and said, “Don’t we have a special tool to do this modification?”
I told him we did and then went to help him look for it, not really remembering myself what it looked like. I checked all the places it should have been, hoping I would remember it when I saw it, but not really knowing what I was looking for. I finally went to the CAD files and pulled up a drawing of the tool and printed it out.
We showed the drawing to several people asking them if they had seen it. No one remembered seeing it but everyone joined in the hunt. We checked and rechecked everywhere in the production area. At some point I looked up and realized that there were now eight of us looking for this tool.
I had everyone stop. I asked them to look around the room to see all the resources that were being committed to finding something that we shouldn’t have had to look for in the first place. I asked them, “How lean do we look right now?” In the end we stopped looking, printed another one on our 3D Printer, and then of course immediately found the original one. Waste, waste, waste.
I am certain that this scenario has played out exactly as I have described it in countless companies for ages, and for no reason at all. Everything in its place and a place for everything.
Everyone in our company has read your book. We are preparing to move into our new lean facility in two months’ time. We look forward to improving our new lean lifestyle.
I just wanted to share this story with you. Thank you for your teachings and motivation.
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