Lean Virtual Collaboration

By Steve Kane Updated on November 17th, 2016


By Steve Kane

In my previous role in the medical device manufacturing industry I was involved in Job Instruction and Job Relations.  Both were incredibly valuable to the organization.  A few months ago Gemba Academy took on the project of developing a TWI course for our customers, starting with Job Instruction.

Discovering Problems

Ron and I have been researching the topic and recently started collaborating on script writing for the upcoming video series.  A small complication in our process is that I live in Michigan and Ron lives in Texas.  So, quick conversations in passing to share ideas just don’t happen between us like they might for people who work in the same facility.

Of course, we connect by phone, email, and video chat.  The writing and collaboration process was still a little problematic.  One of us would write a piece and sent it to the other in a word processing file via email.  You might imagine the issues that came up from downloading multiple copies of the same from email just to make some edits and send it back.

We quickly realized we needed share the document in the cloud and simply update revisions.  After a while this also seemed unnecessarily difficult.

Making Improvements

Our next step was to move to a cloud based word processor that allowed both of us to edit and update the same document file.  Ahhh. . . much easier.  This was great for a while.  It wasn’t long before we realized we needed, yet again, to improve.

Still Not Satisfied

Now, highlighting text and inserting suggestions seemed too labor intensive.  There had to be a better way.  After some clicking around we found an edit collaboration tool that allowed that eliminated the need for us to highlight and insert.  We could just write in suggestions and the other could just click to accept.

Now, I know that this technology is nothing new and I’m probably not telling you anything about word processing you didn’t already know.  This more important aspect of the story is the intolerance for the status quo.

Improve Some More

Neither of us was satisfied with the unnecessary key strokes, clicks, and waiting.  And, we really aren’t experts on cloud based document solutions.  We just knew there had to be a better way.

Kaizen in a virtual collaboration space can happen just as easily as in an office, hospital, or factory.  The key is to always seek a better way.

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