Lean Household

TWI Blog reader Darrint says: " I tried doing lean at home. It works well!"

See his blog post "Lean at Home" on his blog Willowbend. One of the things that struck me was how simple Lean Thinking can be applied by using the "opposite" paradox. A couple of examples:

  • Instead of having a full refrigerator ALL the time, ensure it is empty just prior to your shopping day.
  • Don't buy things on sale. Pay more for smaller items.

You can read Darrin's full list of how he applied lean to save money at this post. It's good!

A couple other examples of Lean skills/thinking in the household: my wife used Job Instruction to train my oldest son in how to make a proper place setting when setting the table for dinner. She never has to question if he does it right, just that he is doing it!

Incidentally, Lean thinking was first systematically applied in households many years ago by Lillian Gilbreth. Skilled in industrial engineering, time and motion study, she helped with the development of standards for the "triangles" used in kitchen design today. A triangle is used in the layout of the sink, refrigerator and cooking area.



At May 7, 2009 at 8:53 AM , Anonymous MatsS said...

I use lean at home:
1) inflow and processing of mail and bills are standardized
2) a place for the week planning and to do stuff. All visually displayed at a whiteboard.
3) borderline for the shoes (not the main entrance). My 3 year old got it at once!

/mats (Sweden)

At May 9, 2009 at 12:52 PM , Blogger Mark Graban said...

I left a comment there, will repeat here:

I appreciate your efforts to apply Lean principles at home.

A few questions:

To point 3, it takes more electricity to cool an empty refrigerator or freezer. Are you considering energy costs? That’s probably nit picking

To point 5, this only holds true if stores are near by. You wouldn’t drive 15 minutes to Wal-Mart to buy a single can of soda each time. Sometimes inventory is OK if it keeps total cost (including transportation cost) down. The math would work out differently if gas were $5 a gallon.

Leftovers are OK as long as you consume them. The energy cost of roasting two chickens at once might be the same as roasting one.

Just being a pest with my questions… keep us posted on your efforts!



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