"Made in America" via Mass Production

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I love the show “Made in America” with John Ratzenberger (of Cheers fame) that airs on the Travel Channel. Ratzenberger tours the country visiting factories and American-made products and you get to see a sincere sense of pride and wonder for what the workers do.

But, it's frustrating to often see textbook examples of mass production! In one episode, they visit the Kitchen Aid factory in Ohio. I was pleasantly surprised to see these appliances, the heavy mixers at least, are still made in America. But, in the picture below, you see a “process island”, a worker doing nothing but grinding the edges of cast metal pieces. He takes a piece from the large pallet bin and then places it back into that same bin. Look at all the muda!

Imagine the savings and improvement that could be made if this grinder was tied into the flow of the final mixer assembly area (which did seem to flow, at a 26 second cycle time).

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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