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Thursday, February 20, 2014

From the Eyes of a Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt: First Day of Florida Benchmarking Tour

About Lean Sensei's Florida Benchmarking Tour

Not many people know that there is a Lean City right here on our continent. This unassuming city is none other than Jacksonville, Florida. Lean Sensei has specifically chosen to showcase six organizations for the Florida Benchmarking Tour. These companies demonstrate the possibilities when companies make the investment to pursue lean. Attendees of this tour have the opportunity to see first-hand how lean is applied in a wide array of industries.
Below is a post written by one of the attendees of Lean Sensei's Florida Benchmarking Tour, Andrea MacIntosh of Alpha Technologies.
We finished up day one of our Lean tour in Jacksonville with a pool-side hansei – and asked the question: “What did everyone take away from our visits today?” “Was there any one thing that stood out, perhaps as something to try at your workplace?” 

We had visited Dr. Bahri, an area dentist who spent many years learning about Lean before trying it in his practice.  After 13 years of reading and learning about Lean processes, he starts with...



Yes, SMED - or single minute exchange of die - where one tries to minimize the changeover time between jobs - or in the case of our dentist friend, the setup and changeover time between patients and even multiple operations on a single patient. Not an easy place to start.
In the world of Lean, we are used to newcomers starting with 5S, maybe basic value stream mapping, even heijunka or load leveling. But SMED? Not a typical starting point on the Lean journey due to its sophistication. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to see what he and his staff had done to make significant improvements in a dental practice. Customers were happier; less chairs had to be filled; the waiting room was empty. The doctor had real passion for continuous improvements, particularly those that made his customers happier.


For the second half of the day, we visited Saft Batteries, which is housed in an awesome new building.
While this is still a pretty new facility, the team has made huge improvements since ramping up production in 2011.  They have put a very strong Lean people development system in place and they know what to work on next so it looks like Lean will continue to be further entrenched at Saft.

My takeaways from today? Sometimes simpler is better - it is always about the customer - and it is most definitely about the worker and respect for people. 

Andrea MacIntosh is the Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement for Alpha Technologies Ltd., a Burnaby, B.C. Organization that provides power system solutions to the information and communication technology, traffic, security, and smart grid/utility  sectors. Andrea has been with Alpha since 2011, before which time she spent ten years in the defence supply sector (subsea technologies, electronics) in various management roles including quality, manufacturing, supply chain and materials, regulatory compliance, industrial security, information technology, and contracts. Prior to that she was a business owner in the software services sector. Her educational background includes a B.Sc. In Physics from the University of British Columbia, and she is currently working on her Master Black Belt in Lean Management.

The Florida Lean Tour is one of four Lean Benchmarking Tours you can take to complete Lean Sensei Executive Lean Certification. The Executive Leanbelt program allows you to take one to five day workshops on specific lean topics.
Upcoming Executive courses:
Back by popular demand: Europe Benchmarking Tour - September 8-12, 2014
Visit the Executive Certification page on our website or contact us at:
(604) 264-1000

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