"Made in America" via Mass Production


I love the show “Made in America” with John Ratzenberger (of Cheers fame) that airs on the Travel Channel. Ratzenberger tours the country visiting factories and American-made products and you get to see a sincere sense of pride and wonder for what the workers do.

But, it’s frustrating to often see textbook examples of mass production! In one episode, they visit the Kitchen Aid factory in Ohio. I was pleasantly surprised to see these appliances, the heavy mixers at least, are still made in America. But, in the picture below, you see a “process island”, a worker doing nothing but grinding the edges of cast metal pieces. He takes a piece from the large pallet bin and then places it back into that same bin. Look at all the muda!

Imagine the savings and improvement that could be made if this grinder was tied into the flow of the final mixer assembly area (which did seem to flow, at a 26 second cycle time).

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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1 Comment

  1. Ultimate Factories — Fire Trucks — Lean Blog

    […] to the other shows like this, the show features interviews with employees and supervisors (like the John Ratzenberger show and unlike the “How It’s Made” show that just features a narrator and views of […]

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