While the article talks about the specifics of 5S, I like how they mention that it isn’t just about putting tape around garbage cans.
“To stay competitive, the company brought in Colby Associates to teach employees how to implement lean techniques – basically a systematic approach of empowering workers to continually eliminate waste and improve productivity of their jobs.”
I’ve found that 5S is a good way of teaching people that it’s “OK” to make changes.
The article also talks about respecting all employees’ abilities:
“He said some managers assume that because an employee works in the shop he’s not capable of organizing his work area or operating it more efficiently.
What they overlook, he said, “is at the end of the work day, those same workers go home and organize their children’s soccer league or softball team, or they run a school PTA or other community activity.”
The lesson for U.S. manufacturing, he said, is: “We have the most productive workers in the world but we’re never going to beat the Chinese on labor rates. There will always be somebody with cheaper labor, so we’ve got to operate smarter.”
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