Although my wife may roll her eyes when I point out lean principles in everyday life, it must be starting to sink in because while traveling last month, she noticed this sign and figured I’d like a picture of it. And as is typically the case, she was right!
I love the simplicity in this visual tool at Target Optical. You don’t need to wait in line to talk with someone just to find out if they have an appointment available for you today. You just look on the sign for a green dot and decide if that time slot works for you.
I love seeing a tool like this. It makes me reflect on the complexity of tools we have developed and how we might be able to get to a simpler state, and still obtain an outcome satisfactory to the customer.
During a recent trip to Atlanta, our Continuous Improvement group had set up two benchmarking trips near the area to companies who had been practicing lean for far longer than us. I really enjoy these benchmarking trips because they can open your mind up beyond the limits of your current thinking to see what is possible when you stick with lean thinking for several years, or decades. The team originally asked us to choose between the two groups (HON and WIKA) for planning purposes. I decided to take a few minutes and see what each company was about, and whether or not Lean thinking was prominent on their company websites.
As I visited the WIKA website, I found several mentions of their lean journey on their Company News page. What I really liked though, was the visual management they used in their press release area. Once I knew that the “Six Sigma” style logo tended to be associated with stories of lean, it was really easy for me to skim through and find exactly what I was looking for without having to read all the titles or search around in various articles. The only thing that would have been easier would be the ability to “filter” based on the logo, or category type.
While reading one of their lean themed releases, I found that their Continuous Improvement and Quality Director, Rick Reed, was featured on the “Lean Nation” Radio Program in 2011. Overall I came away impressed that within their corporate website WIKA celebrated how much their lean and six sigma culture contributes to their success.
I ended up assigned to the group visiting the HON corporation (which was a WONDERFUL visit and might be the subject of an article at a later date) so I didn’t get to see WIKA in action. I’ll be very interested in hearing the report from my colleagues though, because if they’ve applied lean thinking to their press release page, imagine what they’ve done in areas where they create real value for their customers.