Mark Graban's - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System


For the rest of May, we are accepting submissions of Everyday Lean, examples from our daily lives of how lean can make stuff easier, simpler and more effective. Here is the original post and contest details. Here are two of our early submissions:

1. Here’s one I can certainly appreciate:
Here is an example I refer to as SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Diapers). I realize that the name isn’t mine. New parents learn quickly that in order to change a diaper quickly, it is necessary to get all of the items prepared before removing the diaper and find faster ways to change the diapers. (Separating internal and external changeover tasks and kaizening remaining tasks).

2. Here is another submission, with multiple ideas:
Poka-yoke: Input masks in forms you fill out.
Waste of motion: auto-tabbing to the next field when you complete the input mask
Poka-yoke: the unbelievable pocket protector
Jidoka: the light on your dash that tells you the fuel is low or the light and sound you sense when your seatbelt is not fastened
Waste of overproduction: solar sensors on street lamps that switch the lamps on when the ambient light meets certain critera
Waste of waiting: HOV lanes?
Poka-yoke: in the US, filler nozzles and are sized so you can’t put diesel in your unleaded fuel tank
Waste of poor quality: displays that show you what you ordered at the drive-thru

Those are good. There are, however, some social consequences to wearing a pocket protector. On the spirit of error proofing, here’s a couple more:
1. Can’t pull open more than one drawer of a file cabinet
2. ATMs that have you swipe the card so you don’t leave it behind (second choice: loud beeps if you do leave it in)
3. Opening your electric bill and not finding someone elses bill? This actually happened to me once. That handy ‘window’ in the envelope prevents the mixup.
4. On the theme of gas tanks, leaving your tank cap on your car is prevented by that handy tether.

Keep those ideas coming. Remember, a free copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road goes to the winner. Submit your ideas here.

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Jamie Flinchbaugh is a lean advisor, speaker, and author. In addition to co-founding the Lean Learning Center, he has helped build nearly 20 companies as either a co-founder, board member, advisor, or angel investor. These companies range from high-performance motorcycles to SaaS tools for continuous improvement. He has advised over 300 companies around the world in lean transformation, including Intel, Harley-Davidson, Crayola, BMW, and Amazon. Jamie co-authored the popular book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, and continues to share his experiences as a Contributing Editor forIndustryWeek and as a blogger at He holds degrees from Lehigh University, University of Michigan, and MIT, and continues to teach and mentor on campus. Jamie is best known for helping to transform how we think about lean from a tools-centric model to one based on principles and behaviors. His passion for lean transformation comes from seeking to unlock the great potential that people possess to build inspiring organizations.

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  1. […] Diapers, Poka Yoke Examples […]

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