When you hear the word "lean," most think of slim body shapes, but our team took on another kind of "lean" and went through a process called "Lean Week!"
We were not working out physically in the gym, but we were working hard to change our thinking regarding waste. The lean process trained our team and our trades to see our world with new eyes for waste. Lean is about running the most efficient operation, being good stewards of the time, talent and resources we have been blessed with. During Lean Week, we realized that much of what we think is normal or business as usual or simply unavoidable, are things we can change if we work together with great communication, systems and processes.
We realized, along with our trades, that we can see with different eyes and effect the cost of doing business for all of us, which translates into a better product at the lowest possible price. Together we realize we can make a huge difference that results in a win for all, including our customers!
We worked with True North Development who increased our awareness in so many ways. When we are made aware of something that can be improved, it makes it difficult to return to our old way of doing things. We now see extra phone calls, extra road trips, excess material usage that is unnecessary to accomplish a desired effect, and many other things with new eyes. We are creating a culture of people with an eye for and intolerance for waste of any kind. Inefficient practices are plentiful because of old habits, traditions, processes and how we are raised and trained. We see these things as normal and we have very limited ideas of waste. Our goal was to begin to learn to spot waste and begin to see with Lean eyes!
I wonder what our lives would look like if we applied these same practices to our personal lives. As I contemplate how to apply the lean principles to everyday life, I think I could make some major changes. When I think about how many separate errands I make instead of thinking through how to combine them into a single trip, my head spins. For instance, visiting the grocery store, cleaners, picking up cash at the bank and dropping off alterations all in one trip vs many trips. My husband is great at this. His travel from A to B is a science based on traffic, quickest route, etc. Not only would I save time, but gasoline, too!
There are so many ways we can use Lean thinking to enhance our lives. For instance, asking for help when someone is going the way of one of your errands, organizing your kitchen for easy flow, decluttering your closet for timely assembly of outfits, and spending a little extra time thinking through tasks for the day can help tremendously. Spend a few minutes going through your refrigerator and pantry, thinking of what you will cook for the week before you head to the store. Just a few Lean principles brought into our lives and work can lead to great payoffs! Sometimes a simple pause to plan well can translate to tremendous profit in time.
"Awareness is the greatest agent of change." - Eckart Tolle
-Written by Co-Owner, Missy Manuel