NUMMI Tour Tales #5: Nobody is Perfect


NUMMI Tour Tale #4: The Pull Gift Shop

nummiWhile the NUMMI plant would score very highly on any measure of “Visual Management” standards, you can see on a tour that the plant is not 100% perfect in their 5S compliance. In passing, one can see many items that appear to be out of place or shadowed items on the floor that appear to be missing.. Not that the plant was messy, by any means, but it wasn't the “perfection” that you might expect to see.

Our host told a story about how the plant had “gotten away from” doing regular Standard Work audits and that they had to re-implement that (at the urging of a GM person, they said). In discussing their backsliding or problems, the NUMMI people seemed to be quite open in admitting that they are always striving to get better. Good lessons, I think – although you should set goals of perfection, it's very tough to be 100% there. Be open about your problems and be sincere in your desire to do better, without being defensive. That seems to be a good lesson from NUMMI.

NUMMI Tour Tales #6: “You Get What You Inspect”

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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.


  1. I thank you for your post and thoughts, they are working on me already. I am constantly striving to be the best at anything and everything to such extremes that I never get to finish any project that I start. I am not perfect I am a humang bean. Good day to you sir.

  2. Thanks for this post.

    Did you see what happens at the end of the line? Do they have a single driver doing one-piece-flow driving a car to a parking area (and running back) every minute or so? =)


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