NUMMI Tour Tales #5: Nobody is Perfect

NUMMI Tour Tale #4: The Pull Gift Shop

nummiWhile the NUMMI plant would score very highly on any measure of “Visual Management” standards, you can see on a tour that the plant is not 100% perfect in their 5S compliance. In passing, one can see many items that appear to be out of place or shadowed items on the floor that appear to be missing.. Not that the plant was messy, by any means, but it wasn’t the “perfection” that you might expect to see.

Our host told a story about how the plant had “gotten away from” doing regular Standard Work audits and that they had to re-implement that (at the urging of a GM person, they said). In discussing their backsliding or problems, the NUMMI people seemed to be quite open in admitting that they are always striving to get better. Good lessons, I think – although you should set goals of perfection, it’s very tough to be 100% there. Be open about your problems and be sincere in your desire to do better, without being defensive. That seems to be a good lesson from NUMMI.

NUMMI Tour Tales #6: “You Get What You Inspect”

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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.


  1. Anonymous says

    I thank you for your post and thoughts, they are working on me already. I am constantly striving to be the best at anything and everything to such extremes that I never get to finish any project that I start. I am not perfect I am a humang bean. Good day to you sir.

  2. Anonymous says

    Thanks for this post.

    Did you see what happens at the end of the line? Do they have a single driver doing one-piece-flow driving a car to a parking area (and running back) every minute or so? =)

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