Go 'Lean' or Stay Unclean, Unorganized, and Unsafe

Going "lean" can change the way a business community functions, and it can also change the way you go about your everyday life. Going lean also can help you and your business to stay clean, organized, and safe.

What is the lean process or "lean manufacturing," you ask? Going lean means: getting rid of the things that bug you, getting rid of clutter, organizing, cleaning, and improving your quality of life. How or where should you start your lean journey? Paul Akers says to start in the bathroom.

At Pedestal Source, we took Paul Akers' advice to heart, and we started in the company bathroom. What was once a dirty, unsanitary, and unorganized little room has now become a source of pride. After repainting the walls and organizing the necessary bathroom appliances, we were able to come up with a clean and organized bathroom that is clean, safe, and efficient.

Every employee is required to sign an agreement that hangs on the bathroom wall, stating he or she will help to keep the bathroom clean, organized, and safe in the way that has been shown to him or her. Those who are not willing to sign the agreement must now use the outhouse bathroom, which has been placed outside for that very purpose. Pedestal Source has even had weekly classes explaining the lean model and how they can participate.

Paul Akers describes the lean process as a system that "blurs the distinction and soothes the frictions between labor and management by enlisting the brainpower of all employees from the top to the bottom."

Every employee needs to be involved in the lean process. Otherwise, things will not stay clean and organized. Everyone needs to know what is expected of him or her. People also need to be able to think, on their own, about new ways that the company can apply lean thinking into their everyday tasks.

Another suggestion on how to begin your company's lean journey is to start with something small, start with something that bugs you, then do what needs to be done in order to fix it. For example, let's say you have a messy or unorganized desk or office space. Take the time to get rid of anything you don't need. A good rule of thumb: If you haven't used it in the last six months to a year, then you do not need it. After you have de-cluttered, you can get to work on organizing and filing everything. Remember these words when organizing: "A place for everything, and everything in its place."

Posted by Greg Glebe on Mar 20, 2013