Lean Office

Standard Work Needed for Use of Windows

By Jon Miller Updated on May 29th, 2017

In chapter 32 of Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management, Ohno said, “There is a correct sequence to kaizen.” We must first study and improve the work itself (manual work) then improve the process (sequence, steps) and then improve the machine. The idea is that you should not buy a machine without first considering the process and building it around the people and the work that they do. Yet this is not at all how the world works, unfortunately.
A few years ago when my laptop broke, my company purchased me a new one. At that time, no consideration whatsoever was given the the manual work I would do with this machine, the process itself, or the sequence of steps needed to perform my work. We simply bought the a mid-range Wintel machine and it was back to work.
Recently, I learned by accident that I have probably wasted thousands and thousands of seconds over the years in how I rename files. If you select (click on) a document and press F2 it lets you rename the file.
Did you know this? All of these years I have been right clicking, holding down the clicker and dragging mouse down to “Rename”, nervously navigating past “Delete”.
How many more things like this are there? I need to spend more time looking over other people’s shoulders while they work at their computers.
This is certainly not the most important work element in a typical day of working at the computer, but it is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If an Industrial Engineer had first studied and kaizened my manual work, my laptop keyboard would be a lot bigger, possibly with color-coded keys, and my mouse a lot smaller.
I understand that Microsoft did a similar study of user behavior, and added a “slide show” button to the Vista operating system that allows you to turn off anything that might interrupt your slide show during a presentation. This is another small example of building the machine around the process of how people work. There is a correct sequence to kaizen.
Taiichi Ohno also said the fastest motion is the easiest method. Never accept equipment as it is given to you by the manufacturer, never accept the process method as it is today, never accept the average time as the correct time. Be dissatisfied and do kaizen.

  1. Matt Meyers

    February 14, 2007 - 12:01 pm

    There are a lot more things like this. Look at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/126449
    A lot of old unix-users I know (myself included) only use keyboard commands, because its faster than reaching for the mouse.
    But, is it worth everyone’s time to memorize all of these esoteric commands if you don’t work at the computer all day long?

  2. J

    February 14, 2007 - 4:13 pm

    Being in one of those companies that use an ERP package (withhold flames please) it’s interesting to watch how people use the system. Most often they take many steps (keystrokes) to look something up that can be done faster another way and worse yet print it out just to throw away.

  3. Mark Graban

    February 14, 2007 - 6:40 pm

    At least that scary “delete” command has a “are you sure you want to do this?” step and recent operating systems allow you to “undo” a mistaken delete pretty easy… are those workarounds or lean design principles??

  4. kevin

    February 14, 2007 - 7:40 pm

    I hate to give you another jolt, but if you click on the file name twice… just slowly enough so it doesn’t think it’s a double-click to open, it will highlight the file name and let you change it right there… no F2 needed!

  5. Anonymous

    February 15, 2007 - 2:07 am

    Hi Jon
    How very interesting to know other people like Kev have gone through and learnt all these little short cuts I also found by practice. A great advertisement for sharing kaizen and horizontal deployment of know how as a continuous improvement tool.
    I found the click twice to highlight the file name in order to rename it by accident. It’s a small world really.
    Best wishes

  6. Tom

    February 15, 2007 - 7:37 am

    There’s an interesting aspect to ths: which is actually faster?
    It is well documented that keyboard shortcuts almost always feel faster than using the mouse, but timing studies show that the mouse is generally faster.
    The difference between perception and reality results from the added cognitive overhead of using keyboard shortcuts.
    Which leads me to wonder, in developing standard work, whether it’s more important to be faster or to be more engaged (and, hence, to feel faster).

  7. Josef

    February 16, 2007 - 4:49 am

    Sorry for turning this blog into “Windows-Kaizen”, but I want to mention this one:
    Usually, You create directories on Your hard-drive and save Your files in them in order to maintain a structure.
    If You want to structure the flood of incoming mails and refind the important ones, You also start setting up directories in Your mail program.
    The problem is, that if You look for information, You have now 2 sources: hard-drive directories and mail directories.
    Now, I copy all important mails from the inbox (and even some that I sent myself) into the hard-drive directories, which is now the unique place to save and search for information.
    It is a very simple idea, but for me, it already saved several hours of searching for old files.
    And it´s very easy: just drag&drop the mail from Your inbox into the directory shown in Windows Explorer… 2 seconds! Who can do that faster with a keyboard?

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