About a year or so ago, Imprint Plus began to investigate the concept of “lean” and how it applies to our company. I made a decision to jump in and educate myself, reading a ton of books, obtaining a lean Blackbelt certification along the way, visiting several lean factories in Japan such as Nissan and Toyota, and seeing for myself the tools and results generated by truly lean organizations. One year in, I can see that many of the concepts of lean are simple life lessons taught to most of us as children. Lessons that we instinctively already know such as:
- Do your best every time! Make it better! In lean, we look to continuously improve our jobs, process and companies. Small, incremental improvements are what make the difference.
- Don’t be wasteful! Reduce waste wherever you can. Learn to see processes with your lean lens.
- Clean up your mess! Be organized. A clean and organized work space saves time and reduces waste.
- Do what matters! Focus on value added activity. Make sure you make what matters to your customer your focus.
Do you hear your mother’s voice? These are basic concepts that don’t require extensive training, just an open mind and a willingness to let your employees to do the right thing. Over the next several weeks, I will share some of the simple exercises we have undertaken to apply lean tools and to improve our business. What has worked and where we have had challenges.