There’s nothing like the facts!

Hello everyone, for my February article I would like to tell you about one of my current projects. I made another diagnosis in a company that makes food products in a traditional way. Everything is done on site, in their industrial kitchen. There are different workstations, such as sandwiches and pastries.  ? I must confess that I enjoyed the tastings!

The purpose of a diagnosis is to help the company identify improvement opportunities and prioritize them. One of the steps through which I go is to make observations of what is happening. To understand why and how things are going.

These observations are either static or dynamic. For the static observation, I stand in a corner and I observe. In fact, this method is well known in Lean philosophy. It is called the Ohno Circle in honour of Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System. It’s pretty simple, you go to a determined and observe what happens. It is interesting to take time to see what is around us. We see a lot of things to improve. You should try it in your business.

In these observations, I note the different wastes that I see. There are 8 according to the Lean philosophy, waitings, transports, motions, inventories, non-quality, overproduction, misused resources and useless operations.

So what came out as the biggest waste was transports! There were so many that I stopped counting at one point. I discussed it with the owner. Of course he suspected that his team was moving often, but not that much.

To illustrate my point, I decided to make 3 spaghetti diagrams, to analyze the movements of 3 of his employees. What is a spaghetti diagram? It’s an illustration of the travels that a person makes during a period of time. The name comes from the fact that the diagrams look like spaghetti.

Here is one of the 3 diagrams I made. The duration was 15 minutes. I counted each travel. There were 50 during my 15 minutes of observations. For fun, if I extrapolate this number on 7 hours of work (50 x 4 x 7) = 1400!

There’s nothing like the facts! Imagine, 1400 trips a day! Do you think it’s effective? These figures are unfortunately very real.

I always say that when your nose is stuck on the tree, you don’t see the forest. Hence the interest of hiring a consultant to help you!

Following these diagrams, I made various recommendations to limit all these trips, such as training and a 5S.

Do not hesitate to use these 2 simple tools, Ohno’s circle and spaghetti diagrams. You may have facts to help you improve your operations.

Did you know that business diagnoses can be subsidized in part by Emploi Québec? What are you waiting for to identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement in your company?

If you think this story might inspire other Business Owners to improve their processes, I invite you to forward them this email.  Thank you!

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