“Win”-dow Washing: Standardized Work or Kaizen?

I try to keep things light here on Saturdays… one of my favorite sites is failblog.org and their related blogs. Although they normally document problems and bad designs and mishaps that would constitute a “FAIL,” they often have something that might be considered a “WIN,” such as this airport window washer in the video below.

As one of the YouTube commenters asked, “how else is he supposed to wash it?”

Good point. I’m curious if this is the standard practice (probably) or is it an example of “kaizen” from employee creativity.

Either way, have some fun watching the video and others over on FailBlog.

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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. Simon Ellberger says

    Question: How does he clean the outside? Answer: Lean.

    Moving on…

  2. Jamie Flinchbaugh

    Maybe I haven’t had my morning coffee, but I don’t get Simon’s joke.

    This seems pretty creative to me. I’m not sure why it makes the cut on failblog. The fail would be if this just isn’t safe, at least as you reach the end of the conveyor.

  3. Mark Graban

    It was categorized as a “WIN,” the opposite of a FAIL.

    The thing that got me was the dead look on the guy’s face. Not really funny, just bizarre.

  4. Simon Ellberger says

    Jamie: It’s a pun on lean. Maybe I should have phrased it as “What does he do to clean the outside? Answer: Lean.” In other words, he leans over the panel to reach the outside portion of the window. Which, in the spirit of a pun, is also a lean approach, by reducing waste (waste of motion?).

    Of course, if he has a big waist, then I guess that he can’t reduce that waste… :)

  5. Harish says

    The other side could be washed at the same time if he had two cleaning brushes joined together on the top so that he does not have to lean. :)

    I have a feeling this was kaizen done by the employee.


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