A Year of LEAN

Tarquin Evans's photo
Written by Tarquin Evans

When asked to write some thoughts on LEAN through 2017, it’s a little difficult to know where to start! However, I can think of a few key things that have worked very well, and some that haven’t, so here goes…

What went well:

1. We endorsed Paul Akers 2 Second Lean (2SL) methodology

Whilst we have always had a very simplistic approach to LEAN, 2SL takes this to the next level. 2SL focuses on making small 2 second improvements every day, to everything, by everyone. Whilst this may seem too simplistic for some, the by-product of this approach is that you automatically start focusing on waste and finding things to improve. Hence, a culture of continuous improvement starts being built without you even realising it!

2. Keep simple

I can’t emphasise the ‘simple’ thing enough. We so often overcomplicate things (especially when we want to sound clever). LEAN flies in the face of all that. You have to be prepared for the moments when you are shown an improvement which is so simple, yet so effective, you wonder why on earth it has alluded EVERYONE up to this point!

3. Fix what bugs you

The educated meaning of this is ‘challenge the status quo’. This is actually a lot more difficult than it seems. We get so used to ‘the way things are’ we often forget to ask ‘why?’… By drumming this into one another constantly, things that have been bugging you for months (sometimes years) start getting sorted out!


What didn’t go so well:

1. Don’t rush

LEAN is a journey, and a never-ending one at that! It is not going to all be perfect in 2 weeks’ time. And yes, it is frustrating when you see videos/pictures of other companies that are so LEAN it’s almost unbelievable. But – everyone started somewhere! We have tended to get disheartened when things haven’t happened as quickly as we would have liked, and then you start thinking that perhaps LEAN isn’t right for you, and you are different to everyone else that it works for, and you never thought it would work anyway, and, and, and!! Be patient – the results will come!

2. Don’t hold back from accountability

2SL is massively down to accountability. We have shied away from it and have paid the price of complacency. You need to set the expectation (one 2 second improvement per day) and then INSPECT the expectation. This means that you make sure it is being done! What we have found is it’s very hard to hold colleagues accountable when you haven’t done a 2-second improvement yourself! So, make sure you’ve done yours, then go and ask someone else. Can you imagine the success if everyone did that in the organisation?

Please understand, we are by no means guru’s when it comes to LEAN. We are committed to making LEAN work here in Decorquip, and we are happy to share our experiences along the way. We have also benefited so much from the sharing of others, this is our small way of giving back. If someone gets some help from the above – that is a bonus! Please feel free to comment and share your experience!

Here’s to 2018, and to another year of continually improving everything, everybody, every day!