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Lean From The Get-Go (Case Study)

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Feature – Lean From The Get-Go – 07/05

Note how, in this case study, the company owners decided lean was going to be their primary business strategy. Many think that lean does not apply, or it tough to apply, to a job shop, but here a great example of a job shop embracing lean from the beginning. I don't know how many “new” job shops there are these days. Most job shops I've seen are pretty old and pretty crusty (the equipment and the people), with a lot of non-lean history to work against.

I like how they are thinking about waste reduction rather than blindly following any sort of dogmatic rules, such as “remove all paper”:

Paperless systems have their merits, especially in terms of controlling documents and procedures, but Mr. Malone's desire for a visual factory overrides his desire for paperless documentation. “I can pick up a folder, for example, and look at a number of papers at once to get all the information about a job at an instant,” Mr. Malone explains. “This is much quicker than navigating through a computer and viewing a variety of documents separately—that's if the computer isn't already being used by another worker.”

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is an anthology 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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