This is an unusual headline! But this engagement transformed my belief in Lean forever! They were contract laborers who didn’t want to appreciate company’s turnaround time commitments to the client”, Give me my money, I am outta here”… was their way.

# 1 – Identify and address ‘what’s in it for me’.

“On an average, how much money do you make per day?” I asked the supervisor.

“Why do you ask? Are you in the same Business?”, replied the supervisor.

Oh no, ‘I don’t do this Business’, but I thought you could double your income! I said.

“How ??? Came the reply, in a flash ! I smiled and said, want to try?

# 2 – Know what you are looking for! – The demand

If you are looking for 300+ per man-hour, it is not about, will it be achieved or not, the question is how to achieve it? If this is the target per man-hour to comply with client’s turnaround time, what options do you have? There are no options but one – figure how to achieve it? I calculated the demand in terms of TAKT time and worked backwards to tie it up with production per man-hour to achieve the given turnaround time.

# 3 – Time and motion study – Compare Cycle time vs. TAKT time

Man-hours required = Cycle time / TAKT time. I estimated man-hours required using this formula, and converted the result to number of people necessary to accomplish desired work load in given time limit.

# 4 – From batch to flow

Before – Everyone in the team would do ‘end to end’ completion of one work unit, After – I created a ‘assembly line’ for them – Call it a cell. Contrary to the belief, I used a batch size of 50 work units between two operation steps. Single piece flow is good but, you cannot have ‘one size fit all’ solution.

# 5 – Discipline to follow the SOP

This was a difficult implementation – “I asked them, while assembly line is at work” on one uses cell phone, no calls encouraged during work. Supervisor and his people were angry on me! I said, you have to make a choice – double income or phone call. Both can’t happen at the same time!

When the cell ran – from start to finish – no one had even a minute to look here and there, let alone attending to phone calls. When they finished, and looked at the watch, they were astonished! There was a glow on their faces, one could see a sense of accomplishment on their faces!

Ah, what a day it was, I can never forget.. I congratulated them and left the place submerged in my own sense of accomplishment, this was the first time, I could see Lean helping double productivity!

I have added this story in great detail in my upcoming book – Lean Made Simple, click the link below to pre order the book to get the ‘exclusive offer’. Click on the link below to know more.

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