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. The winner gets a free copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean. The guantlet has been thrown down with this submittal, from an individual who canvassed every corner he could find for Everyday Lean. I think you’ll find, in the spirit of one of these ideas, that mothers practice lean in many ways because the rest of their process can be pure chaos.

My current reading of Henry Ford’s “Today and Tomorrow” inspires the first two ideas:

  • The location of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery near a spring that provided the best source of water for their production and leaving it there. (There are many non-lean things about the distillery, but this aspect is pretty smart).
  • Many micro-brew pub/restaurants sell bread products made from spent grains from the brewing process. (Pizza crusts, rolls, etc.)
  • The evolution from the pull tab to the pop top cans reducing the waste of disposing the tabs and cleaning up tabs that didn’t make it to the trash.
  • Pull tab tops on canned goods that don’t require the use of a can opener.
  • Maternity wards offering pre-registration so that all of the paperwork can be filled out before the woman shows up to the hospital in labor.
  •  Also for pregnant women, the “rubber band” trick of looping a rubber band through the button hole of pants and around the button to create an elastic waist in pants that are not for maternity.
  • Shampoo and conditioner in one saves time and space in the shower.
  • Integration of radio controls in to a steering wheel so that one doesn’t have to reach or lose sight of the road to change music.
  • The rental car club (Emerald Aisle, Club Gold, etc.) that allows you to skip the counter, hop in a car and leave through the gate. Not perfect, but much better than waiting in line for a rental car.
  • During a recent trip to Mexico, I noticed a couple of Everyday Lean items. 
  • A farmer had eructed a brick fence around the land, presumably to keep the animals in and other people out. Instead of putting barbed wire at the top of the fence, he put pieces of broken glass (which, unfortunately was in abundance in and around this area) at the top of the fence and mortared it in place spiking up.
  • There were also several roadside eateries that were basically just tents with cooking areas and chairs. To construct walls and roofs for these establishments, people used old billboards and banner signs as material.

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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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