"Bubble Busters" Busted


El Paso Times – Bubble Busters say farewell

Here's what would otherwise be a nice story about employees working together on kaizen (continuous improvement). The team is being rewarded with a trip to Japan:

“In December, the group, who call themselves the Bubble Busters, will visit their parent company, Yazaki Corp. in Japan and will represent North America in the company's worldwide quality competition.”

Wait, hold on…. let me go back to the first paragraph of the article…. enough skimming, did that say… oh NO!

“By the end of the year, the 200 employees of Elcom in El Paso will leave the 18-year-old plant, their company having relocated to Mexico.”

Sigh (shaking head). How sad. What a ridiculous juxtaposition of ideas in the same article. On the one hand, the company talks about how professional their problem solvers are, that they didn't have to bring a team from Japan to solve their production problems. Then they are going to turn around and throw those people out into the street so they can save a few bucks on labor by moving Mexico.

They are throwing away that investment in their people. What a shame.

“We wanted to contribute as much as we can,” said Xochitl Stukes, the Bubble Busters coordinator.

Thanks. Now get out.

At least Elcom is not saying that it is “Lean” to move their factory to Mexico.

What a depressing story for a Friday. Sorry. I know what will perk me up… let's all go do something productive — who can we help today? What can we improve? What do we have control over? I'm going to be talking with hospital leaders about Lean, which is always exciting. They're not going to move their hospitals to Mexico!

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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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