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Resolution 2013: Kaizen

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by James Burke, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    "You can see a lot...just by observing" - Yogi Berra

    The winter months are my favorite time to take a step back and get a better look at the big picture. For the past year, I've been working out the wrinkles of a 5S program, (the buzzword in lean mfg. for good housekeeping).

    And while I'm still a one-man show, I expect to have all those details under control when it comes time to hire employees. An orderly shop is a productive shop, and I thrive in those conditions.

    The next step: Kaizen (continuous improvement)

    I've spent the better part of this week getting a handle on the basics of Kaizen, and it's a topic we can all use.

    The best thing about it is that it's a slow process...it's not supposed to be implemented all at once.

    All work is a series of processes. Each process has waste in some form or another, whether it be time, material, wasted motion, etc. The purpose of Kaizen is to identify and eliminate those areas of waste.

    Ideally, Kaizen activities should require little to no expense to implement. Just a little "thinkin' time" and observation are all that's required.


    JB
     
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  2. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    If you are truly interested in continuous improvement and cutting waste you need to delve into the world of Value Stream Mapping.
    Six Sigma is another area of study. The premise or Six Sigma is intense focus regarding a given system. It will force you to adopt the "inch wide, mile deep" attitude of problem solving.

    First things first though. Get the book by Dr. E. Goldratt called The Goal. Read it and report back to me. Seriously.

    Even though it is a novel it lays bare the fundamental tenets of business.
     
  3. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    And when you are finished with it, read everything else he wrote, Critical Chain, Theory of Constraints, It's Not Luck.

    I mentioned this in a prior thread. If you can read that stuff and step back and realize the concept and how to apply it to your business, it'll literally change the way you think for the better. If you read it and can't understand all the stuff that's happening on the shop floor in the books and don't understand how it applies to your business because you're a sign shop, not a widget making company, then you'll be wasting your money. It's the theory behind the story that is the value in these books.

    As a side note, that book "The Goal" got about 100 pages thicker over the years. I used to give those things out by the case, and recently I decided to pick up a copy again and go through it. Man, it's a FAT book now! Not sure what's different, but it's thicker :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  4. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Yep...VSM is also on my list. Thanks for the book tip, I'll check into it.

    JB
     
  5. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Took your advice and went to the book store last night. I'm on chapter 14 right now, very interesting. I'm curious to see how it plays out and how I can apply it to a non-widget industry like ours. Thanks for the suggestion!

    And BTW James Burke, thank you for this and many of your other threads. I always find the things you post extremely fascinating and thought provoking. I'm a process and business geek like you apparently, this stuff is why I'm in business in the first place, and it seems like everything you post in this regard strikes a chord with me.
     
  6. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    If you can see that, it's going to change your business. I know you have a lot going on there, with many employees, so I can only see that helping you. I really really really hope you are able to transcend it past making widgets. If you are, you're in for a real treat of a year on your business.

    As mentioned before, after that book, check out It's Not Luck and Critical Chain.
     
  7. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Yep...I picked up "The Goal" at the library yesterday and am just getting started....looks interesting.

    Insignia...I was a tool and die maker by trade and then did a short stint in education. As a perfectionist and life-long learner, I accidently stumbled into business and find that I absolutely love it...more so than my previous other careers. I do, however, rely heavily upon my previous experiences, and look forward to many years of rewarding challenges.

    JB
     
  8. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    I had a hard time getting in to the book but I found it on CD and I find I have an easier time listening to it while I work. I have 30 years of industrial / manufacturing background, and it's sure sounding familiar.


    JB
     
  9. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Well, I hate to say it...but I had to quit reading/listening to "The Goal". There was a bit to much melodrama for my tastes and the plot moves painfully slow.

    I've tried to get into other types of novels but I'm more of a technical / informational reader.

    But as far as Kaizen goes, I picked up a couple of good books from Productivity Press on the subject, and a few others that are in their lean manufacturing series. They're only about 70 pages long and contain only the hard facts...and zero fluff. That's my favorite way to learn.

    I have a strong sense of where I need to go (and what I want to do) with Kaizen and I believe this will be the most direct route.


    JB
     
  10. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    James, as difficult as it is, you NEED to finish that. His other books aren't quite like that, but it's an underlying core principle that will help you later on.

    Please take another whack at it. It does seem like so much drama, but in the end, it's going to make sense and help you later.

    I said it before, I don't know what in the world they changed, but that book now is SOOOOOO much thicker than it ever was. It used to be a quick read, not it takes some time. I wish I had the old one back.
     
  11. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    The book does have some "melodrama" but I feel it serves a purpose. To me it was the parallel decay of both home life and a business. Not for lack of desire, but lack of focus on the "correct" problems.

    If you don't finish the book you will never know how to find the Herbies in your shop.:glasses:
     
  12. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Thanks for the encouragement...I'll give it another stab.


    JB
     
  13. signworldusinc

    signworldusinc Merchant Member

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    Great books to read. We also recommend "The Goal" by Dr. E. Goldratt. Kaizen definitely pays dividends when everyone in your company practices it.

    -Signworld Team
     
  14. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Once you get through the book report back and tell us where the "Herbie's" were hiding in your shop.
     
  15. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    And to me, knowing what the goal is. That's the big one I see. I talk to family and friends every day that are all wrapped up in their jobs, telling me all the things going on, and I often wonder "Does anyone have a clue at the companies what their purpose is?".

    I think they honestly have no clue. If you asked them what their company purpose was, you'd hear things like "To make customers happy" and nonsense like that. I really believe they have no clue, from the top down, why they even exist.

    There's just so much daily activity that serves no purpose. You could eliminate it completely and it wouldn't change a thing. If they realized what their purpose for existing as a business was, and they eliminated all things that don't move them towards that purpose, they'd be a lot more profitable and successful companies.

    Some people just don't get it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  16. Dzrt1st

    Dzrt1st Member

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    I've have read all of Goldratt's books starting with The Goal about 10-15 years ago. The first time I read it I didn't get it, it didn't relate to the company I was working for (so I thought). At the urging of my boss I read it again about 3 months later and the light went on. It relates to all activities that you do both businesswise and personally.

    I would recommend reading "The Gold Mine: A Novel of Lean Turnaround" by Freddy & Michael Balle. It is a more current novel on lean transformation focusing on lean manufacturing techniques used in the TPS and how to implement them. It is an easy read.

    Todd
     
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