A Quote to Remember
I’m a collector of quotes. A good quote captures an idea in few words. It cuts through the fog and gets to the heart of the matter. Over the next few months I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes and explaining what I take from them. I’ll start with this quote from Paul Akers, owner of FastCap (supplier of woodworking tools) and leader of the 2-second Lean approach to improvement:
'Waste is like gravity, it’s constantly dragging you down.'
What a great description of waste! Paul, who spoke at our 2015 Continuous Improvement Conference, was referring to the traditional seven wastes of Lean: transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-production, over-processing, and defects. His words help me to understand that these wastes are always present in our businesses and they are creating increases in time and costs, limiting our competitiveness. Failing to understand the continuing presence of these wastes saddles us with long lead times, higher costs, and limited product quality. In many cases, these wastes have been in our operations for so long we’re not even aware of them. They’re in plain sight, but we walk right past them. In fact, we’ve planned into our budgets the costs in time and dollars these wastes create. We’ve adapted to them, just like we have with gravity.
Everyone in your company should be familiar with these seven wastes and practice looking for them. Seeing the waste is the first step to removing it. Once employees are able to find the waste, they need help in getting rid of it. This involves training and coaching by managers and a culture that expects improvement to be a part of the work. By using the brains of the people in the gemba (the actual place where work is done) to identify and reduce these burdens, you’ll be minimizing the 8th waste of Lean as well — failure to use the brainpower of all your people.
Don’t let the gravity of waste pull you down any longer. Get it gone and keep it gone!
2020 Continuous Improvement Conference
The 2020 Continuous Improvement Conference (April 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio) is the only industry event focused on helping printing and converting companies achieve operational excellence and Lean leadership. Attendees directly link reduced costs, lowered waste, and increased profit margins to ideas gained from conference presentations and networking. The conference is presented by PIA and SGIA, with association support from FPA, FTA, and TLMI. To learn more about the event, visit ci.printing.org. Click here to register to attend.
John is owner and principal of Compton & Associates, a consulting company dedicated to improving the people, processes, and profits of its clients. He is professor emeritus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he taught quality systems and process improvement while serving as director of the Center for Quality and Productivity in the Graphic Arts. Most recently, he served as vice president of quality and training at Vertis Communications and prior to that, he served as vice president of quality and organizational development at Fort Dearborn Company. John has authored and co-authored several books dealing with quality and productivity in the printing and imaging industry. He is a Master Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt and a senior member of the American Society for Quality. John has served as a consultant to the Continuous Improvement Conference since 2010.