My family and I recently took a much needed vacation. One of our stops was in Chicago where my wife and daughters attended my sister-in-law’s wedding shower.
One of the party favors for the ladies that attended the wedding shower was a CD of love songs friends and family of the bride-to-be chose. Now if you are a guy you’re likely rolling your eyes at this… but I must admit it turned out pretty nice!
Anyhow, the day before the shower I was tasked with the job of putting the labels onto the CDs.
I was given the supplies, trained for a minute or two on how to use the little “fixture” and sent on my way.
The Process (Before Kaizen)
1. Peel off label from the sheet of labels.
2. Place label on the fixture. Note: this was sort of tricky as my fingers kept sticking to the back of the label. See image 1
3. Open CD case and remove disc.
4. Place disc on the top part of the fixture.
5. Press fixture/disc down which joined the disc with the label.
6. Pick up disc and place back in case.
7. Close case.
The Process (After Kaizen)
1. Open CD case and place in front of me while leaving the CD in the case.
2. Peel off label from the sheet of labels.
3. Carefully align and attach label to the disc by hand. See image 2.
4. Close case.
To be fair, it did take me a few times to practice my “fixture free” approach but after a few attempts I had it down and could perfectly place the labels onto the disc with no problems at all.
But the biggest benefit was the increased speed at which I was able to work. While I didn’t do a formal time study I’m confident I doubled the rate at which I was producing a finished product.
Plus, if I might be so bold… I’d say my quality was even better than the fixture method since there was a small amount of “play” when placing each label onto the fixture which then caused some variability in the finished product.
The thing this mini-kaizen reminded me of is how we producers of goods tend to overcomplicate things with fancy fixtures, robots, and gadgets when all that’s needed is simplification.
It also reminded me how small “tweaks” can lead to huge improvements.
What do you think? Do you agree?