Lean Is In the Simplest Things

Workplace organization is fundamental to any lean manufacturing implementation.

Some time ago, I was having a discussion with an operator about workplace organization.  During our conversation, the operator pointed to a fixture that was stored on the floor under a piece of equipment.  He told me that the fixture was heavy but there was no other place to store it.  The circumstance was an ergonomic injury waiting to happen.

The solution was actually pretty easy:  buy a small lift table to keep the fixture on.

Read any text about lean and you’ll get to the chapters about takt time, kanban, poke yoke, maybe even heijunka.  You won’t often find the chapter that tells you to make certain that all tooling and fixtures are easy to get to, easy to maneuver,  easy to put away.  But until you listen to your operators and help them eliminate or, at least, reduce the frustrations they deal with every day, they aren’t going to be interested in anything else you say about lean.