Random iPad Thoughts and Questions


Yesterday was iPad debut day – the new product was in stores and was supposed to arrive to those who pre-ordered it via UPS. UPS… on a Saturday? Doesn't that cost a shipper (Apple) more for Saturday? I wonder why launch day wasn't a Tuesday? Then again, more people are home on Saturdays, of course, so maybe it makes sense if customers value Saturday, even if costs are higher.

That's the first of a number of random thoughts about the iPad, not all about shipping. I had a chance to play with an iPad for about 10 minutes at the Apple Store. I resisted the urge to buy one… did any of you get one?

Francine Hardaway (@hardaway) was waiting for her iPad at home in Phoenix and she posted the UPS tracking data, which shows the crazy circuitous route that it took from the factory in China.

The map of the supply chain looks like this, visually.

That's quite a circuitous route! Not the most Lean in terms of minimizing transportation distances and the shipping industry uses big “batch and queue” shipment modes. That iPad traveled 10,000 miles in a day.

As documented by Gizmodo, those who pre-ordered had two different shipping options:

If you ordered your iPad by March 27th with expedited shipping, you should receive your iPad by April 3rd. If you ordered your iPad by March 27th with normal shipping, you should receive your iPad by April 3rd. Wait, what??

So some customers voluntarily paid more for “rush” shipping that didn't get the product to you any faster? Gizmodo, and others, felt ripped off. But, to Apple's credit, they did the right thing – again, according to Gizmodo:

UPDATE: Apple has since refunded all expedited shipping charges. If you paid extra for shipping and haven't received an email from Apple, you may want to look into the refund.

Good for Apple on that note, doing the right thing for the customer. I've found, as an Apple customer (iPhone and MacBook) that the company and the stores will bend over backward to make you happy when you have product problems (your experience may vary).

Has anyone given any thought to what you might do with an iPad to support your lean efforts, in a factory or a hospital? There are two iPhone apps for Lean – basic takt time calculators, real simple calculations like OEE, etc. How could you use one to support management standardized work? Process observation? What could you do with an iPad that you couldn't do with a Palm-based application for time study? Any thoughts? Share them in the comments below.

I took a few pictures at the store (with my “iPad 3G Nano” aka iPhone 3GS)… maybe the first time anyone loaded my blog on an iPad:

Here's our friend Karl Wadensten, from VIBCO, and his YouTube video that's the intro to the “Learning to See for Healthcare” video Q&A series.

I found my intro video for my Key Concepts of Lean in Healthcare class that's on YouTube:

And here's what “Wii Lean” or “JIT Blasters!” would look like as iPad games :-)

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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. From a Facebook friend:

    The iPad looks easier to clean, so in this sense may better than a laptop in a clean environment. Also, the wireless iPad (not yet available) could be used to broadcast information, e.g. Customer or production status, across barriers, e.g. Long distances or extra clean spaces where getting to gemba is otherwise awkward or risky. Apps, spreadsheets, and PDFs could be built to take advantage of mathematical capabilities, time stamping, paper revisin control, and other advanced standardized work error proofing. These are just initial thoughts to use the power, portability, size (small but also big enough to see at a glance from afar), “visualness” of iPad.

  2. I use an app called “List Wrangler” to create management Standardized Work for myself both at home and at work. It’s a process that’s been working great for me the past few months.



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