I’ve kept an article from Bloomberg Businessweek since April last year. It describes the work that a private equity company does in order to maximize the efficiency of a plant it bought before selling it on.
Whilst there is a great deal of emotion around what private equity firms do, that’s not what interested me about this article. The journalist went to the plant and helped in the two week boot camp, where the company applies Kaizen to the operation.
The results are startling. The on-time delivery rate increased from 72% to 96%. The time to build is a quarter of the industry average. Sales are up 19%. How did they do that? Simple things: sort, straighten, sweep, standardize, sustain. Reduction in movement that doesn’t increase value – for example, increasing the height of a keyboard so that the person standing up doesn’t have to bend over to type.
It makes me wonder what else I can do. My printer is at arms length from me, and my filing cabinet too. I have a quick note book and a few pens on my desk. My O3 notebooks are there too. Nothing else. But my phone lies on my desk, and when it’s charging, I can’t see it. Maybe a stand and charger would help. My files are on dropbox, but they’re messy and I take some time to find what I’m looking for. Maybe an hour tidying up and archiving would increase my efficiency. Every think I do could be improved. I’m thinking… are you?