Leading Lean: Question Everything!



Jamie Flinchbaugh has a new “Leading Lean” column in assembly magazine. Here's a great story, an example of “because we've always done it” waste.

“One of the most remarkable examples was a manufacturing company that was finally getting rid of standard paper time cards. In examining their time cards, the question kept coming up, “What does the ARS column stand for?” For years, new employees had been taught to put a zero in the ARS column on their time cards. So week after week, every person accounted for zero hours of time in the ARS column, but no one could remember what ARS meant. It finally came out that ARS meant air raid siren. During World War II, when the air raid sirens sounded an air raid warning, the employees went into the basement for safety. The company naturally wanted to track time lost due to air raid warnings. Although time cards had been reprinted, and even redesigned, the ARS column remained because no one questioned it. If you think this kind of thing isn't happening in your company, think again.”

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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