Paul Akers discusses how he applies lean principles to keep things organized, making one small improvement each day. Look for Paul’s book called 2 Second Lean which will be out in a few weeks!
I want to tell you what I did today, just because I would never have done it without meeting you and reading the Toyota Way.
I have a 1993 Saturn SC2, wonderful little car, but on Friday the water pump went boom on me, so I had to have it towed home.
Being unemployed, there is no way that I could afford a mechanic, who would have charged me close to $700 to replace the water pump and Thermostat.
I had to do it myself, I have worked on this car before, as a matter of fact, I replaced the water pump, and I went “by the book”, the Chiltons manual. I was NOT looking forward to it.
The Chilton manual tells me that in order to replace the water pump and thermostat, I must jack up the passenger side of the car, remove the tire, and then remove the plastic insert inside the wheel well for acces to these components, then I have to get UNDER the car, (very dangerous, as far as I am concerned) and remove the water pump with 3 inches of clearance between it and the side of the car, this is a real pain, and takes HOURS…. to say the least, with a little 10MM open end wrench, which you have to turn, over, and over, and over again, to get the bolts out, and there are 6 of them, all around the water pump, with minimum clearance, especially from the bottom of the car. The thermostat must also be removed this way, but from the front of the car, so slide under the car from the front, take your 10mm wrench, break them loose, and turn them over and over and over again. Only 2 bolts, but still a pain, because the air conditioning unit is in the way. And it is in the way of the water pump as well, which makes thing even tougher there.
OK, you say, Richard, where are you going with this….
I read the manual, then took a very close look at the engine, and realized, that if I remove the 6 bolts from the air conditioner unit, removed it, and placed it on top of the valve cover, still connected to it’s hoses, that I would have full access to BOTH the water pump, and the Thermostat, and I could use a ratchet, instead of turning the bolts over and over and over again with a 10mm wrench.
I took 20-30 minutes to figure this out, but once I did, it probably saved me close to 4 hours, and a LOT of muscle work..
I would NEVER have thought of this before meeting you, I took a risk, by doing it this way, and it saved me 4 hours labor, and a lot of backache, and it was less dangerous, because I did it from the TOP of the engine, instead of having to be underneath the car for that long a time.
So, instead of “doing it by the book”, I did it the “Toyota Way”, look at the problem, ask why 5 times, figure out the process( what I need to accomplish), look at the process(how I am going to accomplish it), and then implement it.
I saved at least 4 hours, I was safer, because I was not underneath the car, it was more comfortable, because I had much more room to work, and I was not on my back, and last but not least, I could actually see what I was doing.
And I have you to thank for it.