Elimination of Waste - 5S and Pull Systems in 1918

I've finished reading Installing Efficiency Methods, Knoeppel. This was published in 1918. Another post on the TWI blog highlights what may be the earliest description of a pull system.

Knoeppel describes in detail the "how-to" in implementing an efficiency and improvement program. But he goes beyond that delving into much of the change management problems Lean professionals face today. Among many other detailed steps that management staff should take, Knoeppel includes a recommended section that he says should be given to each employee.

" The success of the Company depends upon the success of each one employed by it. The success of each one depends upon the success of the Company. Our interests are therefore mutual and can receive proper attention only through co-operation.

We are undertaking the task of increasing the efficiency of out plant. By this we do not mean speeding up and driving our workers. We mean that we want to eliminate waste, whether in the form of time, energy, or materials. Our aim is not to stimulate strenuousness, for this is not efficiency.

Strenuousness means work harder and produce more. Efficiency, on the contrary, means work less hard and produce more. As an example: If you have to walk six feet to the supply of material, you can walk twice as fast and produce more through strenuousness. If, however, conditions are improved and the supply placed three feet away, you can accomplish more through efficiency, without the expenditure of additional energy.

You want steady employment at as high wages as you can get. We want as high a production at as low a cost as is possible. This condition can be brought about if we will work together in the manner that will be indicated to us by a careful and constructive investigation of the details of the business.

What we want to do is to eliminate:

  1. Waste due to faulty planning of work.
  2. Waste due to inefficient shop conditions.
  3. Lost motion in the operations themselves.

Perhaps you do not get material as you should: you are delayed through no fault of your own; machines may not be working as they should; tools supplied you may mean unnecessary work, with the result that you cannot do yourself justice.

Our efforts will first be directed towards improving the planning of the details in connection with production. In theory, we will follow the same method as is used by a railroad company in scheduling and dispatching its freight and passenger trains. In practice, it will mean working on the right thing, in the right way, at the right time. This you can see will mean better deliveries, satisfied customers, less rush and hustle in the factory, better working conditions, plenty of work, and, as a result, you will share in the success that will naturally follow.

You can assist us to a greater degree than you imagine. Look about you. Study what you are doing. Do you see a better way to do things? Can you suggest an improvement anywhere? Remember it is the little things which count, so do not hold back because the matter seems to small to talk about.

Remember this also. We want to force of well-paid, satisfied, willing and progressive workers. All we ask is that you give those assigned the task of studying our business your support and co-operation. They will help us find waste and inefficiency and assist you in eliminating it."

You could post this today in your plant and put across the same message we want withLean: elimination of waste. In one employee notice, Knoeppel touches on flow, 5S and Kaizen nearly 100 years ago.

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