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Find Waste, 2 Second Lean – Paul Akers – Orlando Growth Summit

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Tue, May 26, 2015

describe the imageEver received your airline boarding pass and been puzzled on how to decipher what it all means? 

Paul Akers, author of 2 Second Lean and founder and president of Fastcap, a manufacturing company that not only makes woodworking tools, but innovates it systems daily to become leaner offers a solution.  boardingpass resized 600Look at the example Akers provided, taking a Delta Boarding Pass and applying lean principles to it.  The boarding pass on the right is Paul’s taken directly from the airlines. 

Akers asked his Fastcap graphic arts department , a 25 and 26 year old, if they could design a better boarding pass.  They quickly turned it around in less than 30 minutes and shared this new graphic of a revised Boarding Pass.  LeanAirlineTicket transparent resized 600You tell me if this version isn’t easier to read and follow than the previous model?

But his graphic engineers didn’t stop there.  They continued to work on it and their last effort looked like this.

lean boarding pass resized 600Wouldn’t it be great if the airlines could just adopt this simple boarding pass for us? 

Lean is about fixing what bugs you.  Everything is a process Akers explained.

Is work an obstacle course for you and your employees?  When you struggle with something it should trigger a need to improve.  That’s what 2 Second Lean is all about. 

Here’s a powerful thought about why adopting the lean practice in your business makes so much practical sense. 

An improvement of 1/10th of 1% each day results in doubling your productivity in 3 years.  Ask yourself if you could look ahead three years and see your business doubling its productivity?  Would you be pleased with that type of growth?  Certainly most business would be impressed with even 25% improvement and certainly 50%, but double? 

Isn’t that incentive enough to get started?

The Goal of 2 Second Lean is to have every employee participating in discovering lean ideas.

At 7 AM every morning at Fastcap their team begins with the 3 S’s:  Sweep, Polish, and Sort.  They’re looking for nothing more than 2 second improvements.  It’s a focus on “Building Our People.”  The first 90 to one hour and 45 minutes of every day begins this way.  It’s to create standardization. 

The Goal is to see waste.  Everyone in the organization is to find and implement a lean solution for their job area.

Waste, Akers noted, is like getting punched in the face.  In most businesses we’re being pummeled by it.  Lean thinking fights back.  We’re all blind to how much waste is costing us in our business. 

If you’ve seen this test on awareness disqualify yourself.  Akers asked everyone to watch this one minute video, and count the number of passes the team in white makes.

Watch the video.

How many?  If you counted 14 or 15 you missed the point.  Did you see the gorilla?  If not watch the video again.  

The point?  Akers says until you begin to truly look for waste you don’t see it.  When you actively look for it you will see it like you’ve never see it before.

Akers shared this graphic of the 8 Deadly Sins of Waste. 8 deadly sins resized 600

How do you know it is better when you implement a lean idea?  You measure improvements on Safety, Quality, Simplicity, and Speed.  Most important, does it provide more value to the customer?  In order to achieve this you need to create a clear standard process.  Only then can you measure it. 

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of 2 Second Lean is its ability to empower employees to take ownership of their work place and implement lean ideas daily.

Akers offered that lean is not about being organized, you can organize waste. 

The idea is to use our wits not our wallets.  

Finally “lean isn’t about you.”  Akers recalled visiting Toyota when he started his lean implementation at Fastcap.  The president of Toyota, Ritsuo Shingo, spent the first 3-4 hours of his visit with the group he was with cleaning the floor of their offices.  They were on their knees cleaning the floor. 

The lesson – humility.  You need to be humble to implement lean.  From the top of the organization on down, you need to accept you are wrong and someone may have a better idea.  Total System Development is as Shingo describes, “accumulation of small ideas by everybody.”   50% of what they do at Fastcap is failure.  You need to adopt a attitude of allowing your people to fail.  It’s okay to fail.  It’s about realizing everyone is allowed to make their jobs better!

Finally Akers offered this quick 15 second clip from Saturday Night Live on the simplicity of Lean!  FIX IT 

Lean is fun.  The government invested $5 Million to discover why students learn in school.   The answer: Show up in class, sit in the front row.

It’s that simple.  Lean is See Waste – Fix it!

Bill Gates calls Christine Comaford, “super high bandwidth.”  A leadership and culture coach, she’s helped leaders navigate growth and change for 30 years helping business achieve 67-100% greater engagement and even more significant improvements in productivity.  We explore her ideas on “Smart Tribes” next Monday.

Verne Harnish interview each presenter at the Leadership Growth Summit.  Below is Verne's 5 minute interview with Paul Akers:

Next blog I would like to provide an update on my recovery from AML and my bone marrow transplant after a “beautiful” checkup this past week.  That’s coming Thursday. 



Topics: Growth Summit, Growth Summit. Learning, Leadership Summit, Paul Akers, 2 Second Lean

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