We talk a lot about minimizing waste, improving processes, and implementing best practices. Lean and five-S are common words in our collective vocabulary. Everyone at the office is usually on the lookout for improvement opportunities and we document small improvements as Kaizens. How do you use process improvement ideas at home?
How Can Process Improvement Ideas Be Used At Home?
Take assembling furniture for example. This can involve several different items to make in a short period of time, and who wouldn’t want to save time and be better prepared to finish a piece of furniture?
There are several learning points to bringing process improvement ideas home. When assembling furniture (the work lessons are in parentheses):
- Assemble the furniture as close as possible to where it finally sits (Don’t deviate from your goals). Obvious as it sounds, I have suffered in the past by having to move large pieces of finished furniture from one side of the room to the other.
- Make sure you have all the parts BEFORE you begin the assembly (Plan well before you begin the project). What if you are 70% done and realize that you are missing a cam screw or a specialized screw? It’s better to know that in advance so that you’re not waiting for replacements to arrive via mail next week.
- If any additional tools will save you time, get them (Look for tools and methods to increase efficiency). Those Allen wrenches work great, but if you have scores of screws to tighten, an electric drill with the appropriate bit will come in very handy.
- Read the instructions. Visualize in your mind how the final piece will look like (Use the procedures in place and understand your final state). Don’t skip steps. That could mean rework, unscrewing, unfastening and lots of wasted time and energy. Understand how these steps will lead to the finished product.
- Keep everything close (Don’t deviate from your plan). Arrange your tools, parts, screws, nuts and bolts close so that you are not wasting time running around to get what you need. Also don’t be in a position where you are searching for things that might have gone under the packaging or containers.
- Look for ways to improve (Look for continual improvement opportunities). Learn constantly. If you think of a better way to do something, by all means, use that learning.
Granted, some of the things above might be derived from pure common sense, but, as the saying goes, common sense is not always very common. Bringing process improvement ideas home may not be exciting, but bringing ideas from work may not be a bad idea after all!
Do you bring home tips and process improvement ideas from work? If so, please share them. We’d love to hear your stories!