Lean Manufacturing: Get Lean in 2 Seconds a Day (Part 1)
Do you want to decrease you inventory, costs, and increase. Your profit margins, how, about decreasing waste and, improving. The quality of your products lean. Manufacturing is, the key to, achieving all, those things and Paul Akers well. He's the expert in all things lean. In. This. Interview Paul Akers shares principles. Concepts. And routines, for a lean business. Culture, and lifestyle. And it will change your life. An. Author. Innovator. TEDx, talker international. Speaker award-winning. Business owner the list goes on and on for Fall acres in his life in business is lean, yours. Can be too so, stay tuned for. This amazing episode. It. Cost us 2.2, million dollars to build it it would cost anybody else a 5 million dollars to build it but because we applied rethinking, to the way we did it we. Did it for a fraction, of the cost the, bank president he, comes in and says Paul I've never seen a business so well-run in my entire life particularly. Like that guy just one business of the year I was making a ton of money and things, were rocking and everybody wanted to work for me everything was going right that's. Why 3se, is the. Most important, activity, anyone. Will ever do to learn lean, manufacturing become. A leading thinker lean. Thinkers, can see waste and. Systematically. Eliminate. It in every. Process, in everything. They do every day. My. Favorite improvement the year it's got to be this magic. Magnet, dispenser, that Lucas, made and, look how fast this is eliminate. A bunch of motion, that's, looming, tax rate that's Lean Thinking. So. First of all this is fastcap, welcome to bass gap and the. Interesting, thing about this company is there's, no walls so. This is the office and there is the shipping and receiving and, manufacturing. Everything, which is very unusual I don't know of a company in the world that it's like that so we deliberately, did that because we want to connect everybody together we, want to connect all the work together so they process, an invoice and boom, it goes right to the shipping department right there they don't have to walk through a door or tap on a glass or, anything like that everybody's in direct communication so. It's very unusual the, next thing you'll notice is it's, a beautiful, building very open, tons of Windows 140. Windows here which, lets lots of natural light in so it's a really pleasant, place to work the, floors are immaculate, it's all polished concrete we don't have any custom, floor. Coverings, anywhere, everything's, just very simple, very lean and this. Building is a miracle. To be honestly because it's, 50,000, square feet and it cost us 2.2, million dollars to build it it would cost anybody else five million dollars to build this but because we applied Lean Thinking to, the way we did it we. Did it for a fraction of the cost most people can't get their head around a building this size building. For that much. Tell, us about what, lean manufacturing is. What are the basic principles. The. Most basic, one is the ability for these two eyeballs, to be able to see waste. If. You can identify all. The. Things that are going on in your life both at home and at work, that. Are not changing, anything that, aren't adding any value and, then you do something about it by eliminating, that. That's. Mean I'll. Give you another example.
When. You make, this coffee let's just we'll take this coffee right here okay so the woods had to make this coffee and. The, first thing you had to do was, get. A cup so, they had to walk two steps and grab a cup, then. They put the cup underneath there then they took the puck thing out and then they slammed it down and got all the coffee out of it and then, they had to walk over one step and wash it out maybe and then walk back well. Guess. What no coffee has been made yet that's. Waste that's. Non-value-added. Activity. It. Isn't, until that they push that button and the copy is actually coming out. That. Value is being added it's only at that moment only, for, the 30 seconds, or 15 seconds, of that copy came out was, value, being at the rest of it was always so. The main principle, is. To. Get to the value taking, that value added, activity, and to be able to identify all the things that are really not changing, anything, you're. Not paying, for, someone, to walk and take one step or two steps to get a cup to. Get a lid you're not paying for that that's not what you came there for you came there to drink coffee to nourish, your body with coffee to get a caffeine, but you. Know this whole idea the, Japanese word it's called mu de mu, da Buddha. Means waste it's, this little tiny word with four letters and it is so, powerful. But, most people in their lifetime will never, understand. It that's. Me manufacturing. That's lean thinking now, in the front of all of our inventory racks, are build so we have about 700, product and there's, about 50 build cells where we actually build the products, and we've done really in just a 4x8, section, that's very flexible, we, can change it for whatever product we need to build we, have a little station set up with jigs and it, just really works well we have the inventory down below we, build the product up above just. The great system, allows for a lot of flexibility, now we have an automatic, shrink, wrapper which, allows our people to build power loads because we ship a couple semis, a day and what, happens is they just drive that on to their, push. A bus on the floor clip and then it automatically, starts to spin around now the operator, can go away do, something else when it's done it automatically, cuts itself, and. Then the operator comes back and retrieves the pallet puts. The label on it and it's off into, the truck it's a very, efficient, system and again relieves the burden off, our people, but, we don't want our people that work hard to learn them to work smart, the bank comes, in a week before the Japanese come into my company the bank president he. Comes in and says Paul I've never seen a business so well-run in my entire life, the best-run company, I've ever seen best well-organized. Managing, everything cuz I'm OCD, everything. Looks perfect and he, said he was willing to give me any amount of money I want to know no you don't give money to, small startup companies I didn't have an MBA so.
They Don't really like to give money to people like me but he said any amount of money you wanted because this place was so dialed in a week. Later the Japanese walked, into my plant and they, delivered the message you're, clueless you don't know what you're doing I asked him can you help me said well I don't know you're clueless you don't know how to manufacture so, the bank sees. What I'm doing says it's unbelievable, right but the Japanese, who, can see waste and understand. Value versus, non value, say you're out of you maybe I don't know what I'm doing and so. What, an interesting contrast very, interesting, Congress particularly when in fact I just went business of the year, right. That was the same year I was making a ton of money right. And things. Were rocking and everybody wanted to work for me I had this young hip crew everybody wanted to work for me everything was going right, but. I had a couple inventory, problems that's why I hired the Japanese and, demands a couple inventory problems so, then they came in in and one week they took processes. That were taking me 45. Minutes on, those. Machines right over there, 45. Minutes, - five minutes so, every time we did an operation it took us 45 minutes and, they in one, week through, small little improvements. Got. It - five minutes and at. That point I said I don't know what I'm doing so I started listening I actually, got in a plane and immediately, went to Japan to Lexus, and Toyota to see what they were doing and then when I saw the, contrast. Of what Lexus and Toyota compared. To all the other American, manufactures I go oh my, gosh I'm not even on the right planet I don't even have a clue and that's when I became crazy, about, leaving. But. All these cells are all the different products that we make so as we. Get an order so, these are called Kanban, cards, so if there's a Kanban someone, grabs the Kanban card goes into a production cell and then, builds the product and that's. What all these cells are they're all they're. All work, cells right here these are all the different con bonds the whole company's run on a paper card just, like this so they would bring their Kanban, and they would drop it into here and then they would start building the product right here so everything's set up in Nice manufacturing. Cells so, they can work really really effectively. And efficiently so. It's really the, whole everything we do here is very simple, yeah but most people don't realize the importance, of great processes. I see all these red lights on every island no they because. We have this massive, forklift. Which is down there being charged which. Is called a turret forklift, that the man up the man goes way up in the in the unit and we, don't want anybody down, that aisle when that forklifts, in there cuz it's massive, so the red light goes on and it tells everybody visually, don't, go down an aisle, exactly. Yeah you've got kind of been a merchandise, going all the way to that when we moved through a lot of it we ship two, or three containers, sometimes, every day could. You imagine that that's. That's, a lot of stuff down here I'm, trying to quantify it either in dollars or in, between, 100, and 200 thousand, dollars a day Wow. What. Tools can be implemented, to. Have. Lean manufacturing, there's. Just a few simple tools, and here they are, the. Most important, one is something called. 3fc. It. Means, to. Sweep, to. Clean, everything. So the first thing you do when you start your work the, first thing they do when they walk into their studio the first thing you do when you sit down to your office and, you don't open up your phone look at your email you, don't turn on your computer right. You look at your office you say what. Can be cleaned here and you. Start to clean you clean the dust you'll clean the windowsill, you realize the cables are all bunched up in the back of your computer and, you. You sweet, that means to clean you, sort, you, take all the papers around your desks like if you go down to my desk right now you'll see there's hardly anything on it right. And I'm a busy guy there's. Nothing on because I've sorted, I've taken all the crap that's piled up on most people's deaths and work area and I got rid of it so, you sweep, your. Sort. Get. Rid of the things you don't need and you, standardize, you create standards, on how you do works we, tell people to do that for 10-15 minutes a day max no longer that we do it for a half hour here the.
Reason Why you three, us is, to find problems, so. It isn't to keep a neat clean place we don't clean this places it's incredible, right as a factory, yeah so you can eat off the floor we don't do it for that reason we. Do it to find problems, interesting. Because, when we clean we go oh why is that dirt accumulating. There where is that dirt coming from that dirts coming from the seal in the door that's that's, faulty so, then we go and fix the seal on the prop in the door and then we don't have the dirt there anymore so we saw the problem then we create a standard, that alleviated. The problem we call it a countermeasure, that's. Why you three, us that's, why three se is the. Most important. Activity, anyone. Will ever do to, learn lean, manufacturing become, a leading thinker so. What you're watching is a process, that was taking us three days to make all these custom, parts for a customer, so, I went down to the shop because I love being in the shop and came up with some ideas on how to eliminate wasted. Motion and transfer, tation and we. Have to drill these little aluminum parts, we have to drill them twice, so number, one as I was noticing I was reaching up to this handle all the time and taking, my hands away from the work and then it was having more. Set-up, time so I said how can I change that so I simply took a bungee cord and then. Put a bungee cord to act as a spring, and then. Put a piece of webbing on there and I hit it with my hands and away you go and then, as we were doing the improvement, with our team somebody noticed hey if we make the stop on the outside, parameters, of both sides we don't even have to pick the part up and flip it around so you can see I drill, one side push it over the other side then, we have an air nozzle, on there blowing all the debris away which we learned from Walters and wolf which is really cool we took a process, that was taking us even as long as three days to make these parts and now. We cut, them and drill. Them in eight hours. Gigantic. Improvement, I. Show. Up in the morning my first task is to make an improvement help other people make improvements, and make sure that we're cleaning and looking for things that are out of place and I spend half an hour doing. That I go to the morning meeting after. The morning meeting first. Thing I jump into is making sure everybody's trained on what they're doing so I'll flit around for the first hour from, person to person just, watching them making, sure they got all the processes, down making sure they remember, everything making sure they're doing it right answering, any questions, once, I'm sure everybody's, got everything going then I'll jump into it and I'll start working on stuff and finding, improvements, coming up with improvements jumping. Out to check on people again and then I do a lot of running around figuring, out where everybody. Should be at certain times kind of balancing, the workload around the facility, so, I talked with Alisha. The production, leader and Lauren the shipping leader and kind of judged their burden where they're at and move, people around between them a little bit and. That's due day yeah awesome. Big. Circle of all that and it's, fun I get to make a lot of things build a lot of jigs help a lot of people learn to run, a lot of tools and make a lot of things and we, kind of call it the school of fastcap and I really like how much I get to teach everybody all day nice yeah there's always changed man it's cool to see that yeah. What. Do you call people that are just overly. Obsessive about little details OCD, OCD, but, this is this is different this is a different principle concept, wall whoa. I don't. Think I've ever had, anybody ever in my life ever interview, me and get, what you just said ever people. Think because they're OCD, they leave right where. We're going again thinking. Here you nobody's. Ever said, that congratulations. Man good, job it is not being OCD and everybody, thinks oh I'm OCD I'm already super organized, I'm already leave you.
Haven't Got a freaking clue about yeah what let's because I'm the most OCD, person in the world and when the Japanese came into my company this company they. Said you're clueless I was. The neatest cleanest, guy you've ever seen everything had to be put away and he said you're clueless interesting. Because OCD. Is not, lean. Being, organized, is not, lean. Lean. Thinkers, can see waste and. Systematically. Eliminate. It in every, process, in everything. They do everyday. But, then. There's one step further the real, great, lean, thinkers, and the lean leaders, get. Everyone. To do it mm-hmm, total. Participation. In. An organism, where, everyone. Is. Working. Together towards, the same target, of eliminating. Waste out of every. Process, they do I can now live, more. Peacefully thinking. Yeah that OCD. Has nothing to do it has nothing. To do with it and that's it for anything because that's what lean does it does make you peaceful, because you're not struggling, with. Things you're enjoying, the fact that you're effortlessly. Going, through the day and the minute it's not effortless. You. Stop, and. You fix. So. What top, three problems can a lean culture solve, for business owners, well. The biggest one is hair on fire, your. Hair sound Empire I mean. Most most business owners walk in and there's just they're just the master firefighter they're just walking, around putting out fires I'm the savior I'm the smart one well where's the next problem let me solve it I don't. Have that with clean yeah because you don't have that would leave everybody. Solving, problem, so the fires are like like little tiny oh. And. Look we can let's tweak that instead, of these big, problems and chaos that's going on all the time so the number one thing is hair on fire right. Maybe, number two is happy, employees. People. Don't want to work people, don't want to stay people. Don't want to invest their life in an organization. That it's functioning, at a high level so just those two things right there do I need to say anymore no, I mean and these dogs here are just. Everyone's. Just an incredible, little. Addition. To this business everywhere, what, do you what do you think about lean yeah it's. A family, and we want people to feel good about work and you don't mind if they stop and pet the dogs and everything because if they're happy and they feel good at work they're gonna they're gonna work absolutely. If. You ask anyone here at fastcap i was, the quietest, and the, shyest kid here you're the second person let's say do not talk to anybody now. I'm talking to sales reps I'm talking on the phone with other people, I'm, talking to customers I'm. Talking to sorts, to all different types of drivers that come in here deliver. Who receive, everyone. Just a it's, wonderful and I mean I could customer, could walk in through here and I. Know okay I could take him there I could show them this I could show him that and it, just my communication, skill has gotten a whole lot better that's cool and I think one of the biggest things that help that is the morning meeting we. Do morning meeting every single day and every day and everyone takes turns doing it so, every not month, month and a half or so no, option gonna do it no return well, it's fun right it's fun, it's it's part of the, lean culture so, I. Love. Doing it it, brings out the. Brings. Me out of the nine, and comfortable, zone like you know it's, really uncomfortable and me I hate, it you, know stand out there but I love it at the same time because it. Pushes, me to, be a better person, to focus, on things that I'm not good at and and, lately. I've noticed it from when I first did it - now it's improved a lot but, there's still tons and tons of room for improvement that's great. Over. Here all the, all the paper for. Every day of the orders is color-coded Monday, Tuesday so today's Monday all the orders were put on pink paper today now, the. Entire company, is managed. Through this one little board here that's made out of OSB, and painted, with brown paint so. If you look up here you can see the burden of the company is there any burden on this company right now there's nothing everything ship everything. Ships two hours backs of trucks at the time we get the order to the time we make it package. It and ship it two hours so, the end of every day we, go home completely, finished you. Can sleep that night and we sleep at night and so the next day everything's, gonna be printed on this color and if this whole board is filled with tons of colors we know there's a burden, on, the company so we can allocate the resources get.
More People over the shipping department to, ship so, wherever the burden is that's where everyone moves, very flexible. Environment and, it's based on all these simple, visual, controls, so, look at me visually, this is incredible, clipboards, so these are clipboards, for next day or second day air UPS. FEDEX, all the different ones so a customer, calls and says I need something next there we're, not just going to put it in the queue we're gonna put it on a clipboard nice because it needs to get special. Care right, as if we missed that and they don't get the job done right so, at four o'clock before. The cutoff for next day err if all, the clipboards, are not back in here what does that tell us Oh something. Didn't get done go find that clipboard get that job done but, as soon as all those are back in. Wanna. We know everything. Got shipped so. This is hair on fire no one's hair is on fire right. Because we have a process. To make sure there's nobody running around but oh crap, we, didn't get it out I don't. I don't see how businesses, operate any, other way the other way I know that's we still make it well that's why I laugh that people don't get this when people don't get this is just like what you don't get this yeah. It's so simple it's unbelievable, and all these ideas came from our people just making these improvements all, the time. So. All the waste is just falling down there, and the real product is coming out right here that is very cool Maitland my favorite improvement of the year has got to be a new, magic magnet, dispenser, that Lucas. Made and so. Before we. Had one like this where you have to manually just, pull it every time slow. It's a lot of movement the magnets are inserted, the magnets are inserted, now, we. Have this pneumatic, device which down here we, have our petal on. It, and what's. The pokey okay Sonia makes us remember. That we have something down there so, nothing gets run over it nothing yeah so, it's in with the Kanban. So. When you put the Kanban, back with the finished product it the pokey okay says hey don't forget the foot pedal yeah and put it back well that's a great improvement right there Mac strips here and this, nice little holder that attaches under the table look at that look how clever that is okay so that just plugs it so, it's a quick change build, station, so as you need to build it you go and.
Then We load it up follow. Mad scripts when, we're ready to go place. It in here. And, that magnetizes, right to the front and keep going keep building them keep going when we keep building them. So. This tells you how many you have to build through the red and. Look how fast this is eliminating. A bunch of motion, right. Wow. And look at this is all stacking, up right here very, cool. How. Did you first discover the idea of being lean and what prompted you did incorporate it into your own business in, a nutshell well it's a great it's a great story how I first discovered, the concept although I didn't get it I was. In San Diego, and this, would be this, was about three years before the Japanese came to my company, and I. Some, a friend of mine said you got to come see this business it's, incredible. And so. I went and saw this business and it was a cabinet making company, with about maybe 20 employees and, when I went in there there, was no activity there was they, weren't building any cabinets, and there was no inventory, there was no lumber racks there was nothing and lo what the heck is going on here and I'm a cabinet, maker I run this is a craziest, thing I've ever seen in my life somebody's, tender folia yeah somebody's trying to pull me and I said what's going on goes well we have a slow day today so, I don't have anybody building, cabinets, they're all doing maintenance they're all doing 3s seen on all the equipment, so nobody was making a cabbage but everyone was going around polishing, and cleaning you. Know making everything perfect, the machines doing all that stuff and he was not there was no stress, and I walked out I said that is the stupidest, thing I've ever seen, in my entire life because I'm used to inventory, all activity, people building stuff loading trucks getting, everything up so, at that time you didn't get the lesson oh I didn't get the lesson at all no I walked out thought it was the stupidest guy in the whole world it was unbelievable, because, what he realized is, there was no demand the customer was not asking, for anything so why should you make something because if you make something then, you got to store it then you got to build an inventory rack then you got to manage it you got to count the inventory, and then if you ding it with a forklift, then you got to rebuild it so he understood waste so, he only turned his machines on when there was a demand, from the customer, but.
It Was also foreign to me I didn't get it at all and it wasn't three years late it wasn't till three years later that the Japanese, came in and started explaining me the concept of just-in-time only making what the customer wants when the customer wants it that the light came I go that's that company I saw in San Diego that I thought was crazy and, I'm. The crazy one and he's the smart one. This. Is a task Piper this is where we we, make this, is called a fast pipe cart so we make everything every, we make the work benches, we make everything but, then people see this and they all want it so they want to buy it so this is where we process the orders, for. A fast bike so, check this out, so there's, no orders, for fast pipe right now why do we know that because of this right here see. This thing. When the order gets there the light goes on so. If the office, brings back an order puts it on the clipboard. The. Light lights up and and. Saeed, who's over in a whole other department. Can see oh that's an order and it'll come over and he'll build it just in time but. We don't build anything unless, there's. A man and, now look at javis another important principle this is called respect for people so, I can diffuse that piece of paper and I got a bear I'll just put it back in there and they'll figure to cram no no no no it's, kind of go back I need to make sure I put it back exactly in. The, right place, lean. Office desk in exactly, the right direction because that's called respect for people just because I'm the boss that doesn't get me right to come in and destroy someone's work area, right. Right and this is the way everyone operates here everybody, operates with this high level of respect for people and for. Resources. You. Would just save 20. Seconds for somebody trying to figure out how to get that paper better or worse put. The wrong paper send, it to the customer the customer cut make the bungle I got the wrong instruction, we're talking hours by the time it's all done just cuz Paul misbehave, Paul didn't respect, the core issue was respect, okay, that's, important is respect, lack of respect, for people and for resources I wasn't respecting, the, worker mmm-hmm, I wasn't respecting, my customer, I wasn't respecting, the resource, of the diesel truck to ship the item all the way there and then have to reship it again so, lean thinkers, have a deep respect with people. To. Fit the time of my customer, the time of my worker and for. The resources, that are required to, make everything happen so I'm gonna stop I'm gonna pause I'm, gonna make sure everything's bad, and, then I'm gonna move on. Once. You implement it lean manufacturing how. Much does your inventory cost decrease, how, much did your profit, margin increase okay, loaded question I'm not gonna be able to figure out and calculate all the numbers to what you just asked me but I'm gonna tell your listeners and you numbers, that will do nothing but astound, you okay, all right so, number one the first thing with lean is if you do it for money you're gonna completely, blow the thing out it has nothing, to do, with money it, has to do with improving the quality of people's lives, your process-oriented.
So, Work is easier, more enjoyable so you can deliver more value to your customer, greater quality, or customer, nothing. To do with profit, if you make it about profit you lose guaranteed. A hundred percent you will lose that's number one let me just repeat that if you make it about profit. You, lose think about that first 100 percent you'll lose it will never work it. Never has work I've never seen it work once. Yeah. This is another really cool thing so all the products, are made. Down there at the end that the machine's down there at the end and then, this is the inventory and people just walk into these cells and package it just, in time and then, ship it and so, if they're out of something they're communicating with the operator, right there at the end of the end, of the aisle and then the fast caps are all over here in these. Bays so. These are all the different paths that we make every size shape you, could possibly, imagine and again, the operators, are all there at the end making it and you're in direct communication, with it so it's really really nice got screws on the cabinet to cover, this. Is like a birch or a maple right here a white maple and you know notice everything we make even the countertops everything's made out of particle board just painted and. Everything is customized, we made these bins these cardboard bins are called our Kai's Ian Binns we developed, them to design them so they're flexible, and we can move the partitions, anywhere we want I say this again why I say what I say we make everything baby we make everything we don't if. We were to buy things off the shelf, it. Wouldn't. Be. Detailed. Enough or specific, enough for our processes. So we just find ourselves making, everything. Whether it be the work benches, the, way we store our products, the. Way we manage, our our work cells everything. We just make everything, amazing. When. I went into business I. Had. A problem in front of me it was to cover a school I wanted, to make my work easier. So. I made a fast cap and it made my working it was too late lighten, the load of my work and then, when I presented it, to my, customers my goal, was to solve, a problem, for, my customers, and if I effectively. Solved, the problem, of my customer they exchanged, their hard work in time with. Dollars if, I just said to my customers, I want. Your money. Do. You think they would come to me I doubt, it no but if I said I have, something, that can solve your problems, I have something, that can make your life better. Make, your work more enjoyable make, your work higher. Raise the quality of your work when they come to me money's. Never even talked about mm-hmm. So. You first, go, into business, for the purpose of serving or providing. Something to a customer and when you do that in a high level they, exchange. They. Give you their time and, money in, exchange for it you'll never have a problem of a profit, at that point it's, impossible it's, against the laws of nature if you're adding, value you're, giving, something to someone that they need they're, more than happy to exchange your, money for a nice cup of coffee right but.
If They gave you a crappy cup of coffee would you give them the money and has, what if I said I just want money I want to open up a coffee shop and I want money are. You gonna give up too much coffee, no they're providing, something to value, and it's the value, that. You're that, you're in business for yeah to deliver, that quality product. That service, and the, profit, is a byproduct. Have. You guys heard, of lean manufacturing we'd, love to hear your comments comment. Below once you've seen this episode come, back and tell us how you've implemented, lean manufacturing in, your business in your life we'd love to hear at you guys so that we can share that with others you, guys we've had so much awesome, content with Paul acres that we want to make this part 2 so stay tuned. We're. In 40 countries tens, of millions of dollars with a business all over the world three, or four thousand, distributors worldwide and the. Entire, brainchild. The, entire brain of the company is in this little office with only six people. We've. Been in business for 21, years you, know a price increases, we've had in 29 years how, many. 3. In how. Many years 21. Years. Can. You really change a business two. Seconds, a day so, a lean thinker understands. That, all these processes, that we do every day are just terrible, processes, and they, are not satisfied, and they say how, can I just shave a couple second, well if you're shaming a couple seconds I have a 50 or 60 processes, a day you've. Got one hell of a company going on right and that's what we got going on here millions. Of improvements, we make non-stop. You.