Everyday Lean: Aluminum Foil

snopes.com: Aluminum Foil Locking Tabs

Here’s an interesting example of “Everyday Lean” that I never knew about. Have you ever been frustrated by pulling on a roll of aluminum foil (or plastic wrap) and having the roll pop out of the container?

The boxes for these are actually designed with a little method for keeping the roll in the box – a physical method is more effective than “being careful.”

Click on the link above for some further explanation and a few photos. It’s not rocket science – that’s why I love this example. This is designed into the product, but we can use this to think about opportunities to error proof our processes – at work, not just in our kitchens at home.

Does saying “be careful” really work? If this were a workplace and the roll popping out of the box were a serious problem, would we post signs, cautions, and exhortations for our employees, or would we error proof it?

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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 eBook 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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