If you’ve spent any time online recently, it should be no surprise that Internet Memes of all shapes and sizes are taking social media by storm. I’m always impressed by the creativity and humor of these memes; wishing I could tap my inner comedian to develop the next big thing. Well, lightning struck one night as I was reheating leftovers in the microwave. In the tradition of #FirstWorldPains and #WhiteGirlProblems, I took to Twitter to share my new idea of (drumroll) #LeanProblems.
@ChristinaKach: For 1 minute in the microwave I type 60 instead of 1:00. Same result, less motion, more efficient. #LeanProblems
Coworkers and career coaches will tell you that at the end of the day: leave work at work. For Industrial Engineers and Lean practitioners – no can do! Discovering opportunities for improvement and being bothered by waste everywhere we go is part of who we are and how we think, even after we’ve technically left work. These are what I mean by #LeanProblems.
As I mentioned in my last guest post, when I was in the 4th grade I mapped out the best route around Walt Disney World. Years later, with my fellow Industrial Engineering classmates in college, no queue line or facility layout was safe from our scrutiny. I specifically remember a time when catering had dropped off food for an IE club meeting, which we promptly reorganized to create a better flow. We complained about roommates who didn’t store the pots & pans in the cabinet next to the stove (the horror!) and a common joke was “I need to put ‘make To-Do list’ on my To-Do list.” And now, close to three years out of college, I still find things that I am itching to fix, even when I’ve left my Lean job for the day. It is how Lean minds see our surroundings. We just can’t help it.
I want to share with you some of my personal #LeanProblems. I’m sure you can relate:
- You watch the bartender fix your drink. And make a mental spaghetti diagram as he travels behind the bar
- The “top shelf” liquor is located higher than the suggested ergonomic height
- We don’t window shop, we window strategically plan
- A trip to the mall includes printing out a floor layout and highlighting the stores you need – then drawing your intended path
- We Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain our desks
- We don’t clean the house. We 5S the house.
- Your favorite movie is “Toast Kaizen” starring Bruce Hamilton from GBMP
- I suffered through learning about “exponential” distributions all through college, please don’t use it as an adjective (no the fleece pajamas are not exponentially more comfortable than the cotton pajamas)
- You’ve been working in Lean for years and still haven’t quite figured out how to explain your job to family and friends.
- Your habits are starting to rub off on your family…. case in point, the next example is from my little sister:
You battle with the dilemma of wasting time circling the parking lot to reduce motion walking to the door versus wasting motion walking to the door to save time by parking in the first spot you see (I say go for time savings)
- The coffee flavorings are not located next to the coffee pots at my local coffee shop. I want to move them.
- When someone says to you “we are doing Lean” – a little piece of you dies
- You don’t count calories, you calculate Return on Investment of the calories
- Other than the Super Bowl, you haven’t watched a commercial since the invention of the DVR. I can watch a 60 minute show in 42 minutes? Cycle time reduction = 18 minutes
- Out of the 1 million products produced…you took home one of the 3.4 defects #SixSigmaProblems
- When no one is looking, you move things to where “they should be”
- You catch yourself saying “But I’ve always…” and feel guilty
- You level load the chores. While water boils for pasta you can make the salad, chop the onions, set the table, check Twitter and email your Mom.
A few weeks back I was watching a favorite show of mine, Modern Family on ABC, and Cam remarked to Gloria “As a thank you, I took some time to rearrange your kitchen so it makes sense.” Looks like no one is safe from #LeanProblems!
So, what are your #LeanProblems at work or in everyday life? Share them with Mark and me here through the blog comments or reach out to me on Twitter at @ChristinaKach.
Christina Kach is a Continuous Improvement Lead for a Government Defense Company based in Massachusetts, focusing on Lean implementation and process improvement in a manufacturing environment. Christina held her first Lean position as in intern in 2006. Since then she has continued to seek out varied roles of increasing responsibility and actively pursues further Lean education. Christina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University and is SME Lean Certified.
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