Whoever got people started using the phrase “steal shamelessly” in regards to lean ideas and practices should be ashamed. I am quietly offended when people say this to me because it shows a certain lack of respect for the act of teaching. I am sure that most people do not mean this in a malicious way, or to deprive others wrongfully by their act of stealing. But we should be careful in the words we use, as they do condition our mindsets and therefore our behaviors. We at Gemba are strong believers in the power of sharing, and that giving creates wealth. Another benefit of giving is that it prevents stealing. You can’t steal what is shared freely.
I would like to express my thanks to all of the readers who visit this blog and contribute their comments and share their experiences, thereby helping to keep this a lively place for discussion. In particular a few kind readers and friends who have recently sent articles or ideas to post on this blog have helped to keep the conversation going while I have fallen behind.
Ron Pereira’s takt time calculation contest has generated some interesting discussion, and I encourage you to add your thoughts or comments. To commenters who post their responses and ideas between now and May 1, we will happily award another two copies (for a total of four) of The Illustrated Toyota Production System, at random. The takt time calculation part of the discussion has already been largely addressed in the comments section, but there are other issues we can explore related to Ron’s challenge.
I would like to make a correction to the article about Marathon Coach and their many brilliant kaizen ideas using tennis balls. I stated that these were Chris Carson’s kaizen ideas, but he clarified that the credit is due not to him but to the strong buy-in for kaizen that exists from the leadership at Marathon Coach, and to the high level of involvement from across the organization.
And today Chris Nicholls asks, “Never mind tennis balls, how about golf balls?” Here is his latest contribution about “golf ball kaizen” at Ricoh UK. Chris Nicholls writes:
Following your blog about tennis balls, we had a suggestion yesterday regarding the use of golf balls. A particularly difficult problem was solved very simply and quickly using two golf balls to separate o ring seals in a bowl feeder.
Our Engineering Dept had developed a fantastic automatic assembly machine for the assembly of toner bottle shutters. This machine eliminated a very difficult manual process and gave almost perfect quality. Unfortunately its downfall was feeding o rings which stuck together in the feeder mechanism. This problem caused constant operator intervention and line stops to clear jam ups.
Our Engineers pondered long and hard to come up with a solution most of their solutions involved robots, high expense and asking our o ring supplier to change his standard process.
The operator, who had to continuously fix the jam up problem or ensure every single o ring was separated by hand before tipping them into the bowl feeder, came up with the idea of placing two golf balls in the bowl. So far this has eliminated to jamming problem see pictures attached.
O Ring Bowl Feeder
On the lower left side of this picture there is an O ring bowl feeder, to which this “golf ball kaizen” has been applied.
Simple but brilliant kaizen ideas. Thanks for sharing, everybody.