What is Lean?

Everyone enjoys working with a well run company, whether it is Southwest Airlines or Harley Davidson. People enjoy efficient, effective organizations. The enemy is waste! It exists in all of our lives, everyday, in everything we do.  To get a humorous, yet revealing look at how waste surrounds us, watch this 2-minute Lean Burrito video:

At FastCap, we have been able to build a strong culture of lean thinkers by implementing a daily morning meeting. To learn more watch this quick 5-minute video.  During the meeting, team members will be taught what waste looks like, how to eliminate it, and what continuous improvement looks like. To learn more about continuous improvement, watch this quick 5-minute video on the FastCap morning improvement walk. The key is to teach team members to improve and eliminate waste in small increments each and everyday. Each team member will be asked to find waste and to implement solutions for them. The goal is to turn every team member into a world class problem solver who seeks and destroys waste everyday.

What is Kaizen?

Wondering where I got the concept for the 2 Second Lean? Well, I am fanatical about the principles of Kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese word which translates closely to “continuous improvement” in English. In the Japanese culture Kaizen has been around for thousands of years. The reaches of Kaizen extend not just to manufacturing, but also to healthcare, government and other industries. Kaizen can be applied to all parts of the workplace, and at my company, FastCap, I have challenged the people to make at least one 2-second improvement each day. From the shop floor, to the warehouse, to the office, we are continually striving to eliminate waste (lean manufacturing) and thereby improve everything we do. By making daily, continuous improvements we make our workplace and our lives better. Small improvements made continually yield large results.

The ideals of kaizen and lean are embodied by the FastCap principles:

  1. The purpose of FastCap is to Grow People. (Uncover your hidden potential) Become the Best Problem Solvers in the World
  2. FastCap is always looking for ways to make things Faster, Simpler and Safer.
  3. Whenever we walk away from something, we should ‘Leave It Better Than You Found It’
  4. Your job title is Process Engineer. Your key responsibility is to Improve the Process.
  5. Each of us has an immediate goal by the end of the day to ‘Make Two Seconds Worth of Improvements in everything thing you do’.
  6. We always use a Person’s Name when addressing each other in our facility and at least 2x in the first minute in every phone conversation.
  7. Enjoy your day to the fullest by ‘Doing the Hard Things First’.
  8. If you want to know what the real issue is, we must ‘Ask Why 5x’.
  9. When there is a problem, we should always ‘Go and See” don’t just talk about the problem, experience and look at it–Action This Day!
  10. Your success at Fastcap will be determined by the fact that you are Never Satisfied with the state of your performance and are Relentless About Improvement.
  11. We have learned that Toyota’s success is the result of the relentless pursuit of ‘Building a Culture’ and that’s what applying these principles will achieve.
  12. Hold each other accountable.