We talk a lot about minimizing waste, improving processes, and implementing best practices. Lean and five-S are common words in our collective vocabulary. What is an Example of Process Improvement in the Home?
How Can Process Improvement Ideas Be Used At Home?
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?
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):
1. Assemble Furniture at Point of Use
Assemble the furniture as close as possible to where it finally will reside. (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. Assembling it at the Point of Use will save you unforeseen trouble.
2. Inventory All Part Before Start
Make sure you have all the parts BEFORE you begin the assembly (Plan well before you begin the project). This is a fundamental part of lean thinking and is known as 5-S, to sort the needed items. 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.
This is a golden rule for making a dish in the kitchen too. Always organize recipe ingredients before the start of cooking.
3. Organize Tools Before Start
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. Then, 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. Remember to keep everything close (Don’t deviate from your plan). This is another fundamental part of lean thinking and 5-S, to set in order what you need, in the order you will need them.
Yes, this also works well in the kitchen. Organize the pots, pans, and utensils needed before you start to cook.
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. Do you ever wonder why people don’t follow procedures?
It is the same for cooking. Read the whole recipe before you begin to cook.
5. Look for Improvement
Look for ways to improve (Look for continual improvement opportunities). Learn to find improvement opportunities constantly. If you think of a better way to do something, by all means, use that learning.
Is Process Improvement Common Sense?
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! It is all a part of the lean journey and making your company lean. Practice it at home too.
Do you bring home tips and process improvement ideas from work? If so, please share them. We’d love to hear your stories!