Hansei and Building

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It’s the end of the year and a time when many businesses and people reflect on the previous year or years.  This reflection or hansei as known in the lean world is critical to walking down the path of success.  I inadvertently did some hansei last weekend as I was building some shelves in our basement closets.

My wife and I planned the layout we wanted to organize all our kids games which were becoming a huge mess.  I dare to call it 5S but learned a long time ago not to apply, at least fully, the tools from work in the home.  I recommend against putting together a performance plan and review for your spouse!

I made the trip to Home Depot and purchased the required supplies I didn’t already have and then settled in for a Sunday afternoon of shelf building.  As I measured the shelves to be cut I remembered the little book “All I Need to Know About Manufacturing I Learned in Joe’s Garage” by William Miller and Vicki Schenk. (Joe’s Garage here) If you haven’t read it, it’s a great book to introduce the basics lean concepts and especially the evils of batching.  It can be effectively used to teach others at the beginning of a transformation.

In the book they are building shelves in Joe’s garage and they do about as much batching as possible when cutting supports and shelves and assembling.  Of course when it’s all finished it doesn’t fit right and there are multiple reworks throughout the process.

So remembering the pain from this fictional story I stopped my table saw after one cut.  I proceeded to build the 1st shelf supports and when I placed the first shelf in guess what….it didn’t fit.  Turns out my house isn’t a perfect square and the front of the shelf area was longer than the rear where I measured.  I had to carry the shelf back upstairs and out to the garage to perform some “rework!

I not sure what triggered my memory to the little book from many years ago, but it saved me at least 6 cuts on the table saw and more importantly 6 trips up and down the stairs!  If you’re beginning a lean journey and need a quick little book to help people with the initial concepts of the evils of batching and the beauty of flow I recommend you hand out a few copies of “Joe’s Garage” supplemented later with some more detailed teachings.


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2 Responses

  1. Nice point on the evils of batching, as well as how you’ve made a personal habit of your lean thinking.

    And, as a married man myself (27 years) I can’t say enough about not taking lean too far into the household. I learned long ago to be very subtle about my Lean suggestions in the kitchen and to rave about the changes when she makes them, and to just shut up most of the time! I concede to her that at home it’s style over Lean if there is ever a conflict between the two, but there are some changes that have been both!

    Enjoyed your post.

  2. I bet your wife appreciates you not trying to 5S the kids and house….but the closet looks great.

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