by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

The month of August marks a summer break for both of our Lean Together™ working groups. A good time to reflect and plan for the company visits in the coming months. Since initiating Lean Together™ , we have spoken with many companies about their journey in 2 Second Lean (a book by Paul Akers)…some participating in our working groups and some not. One of the companies, American Turned Products (ATP), has been into 2 Second Lean for 3 years and they have some great insights. Scott Eighmy, ATP CEO, said, “the hardest part is getting started and there are a few basic and critically important things that must be in place to be successful.” Here are the three things he advised:

1) Top management must be ‘all in’! Sounds simple, but 2 Second Lean will not work without it.

2) Managers must read the 2 Second Lean book and have a basic understanding of the process.

3) Commit to having daily communication meetings. Understanding the book and the 2 Second Lean process is very simple. The ‘buy-in’ and commitment are tough, but 100% necessary to make it work.

ATP noted that their biggest success in going through this process is a change in culture and improvement in overall communications within the company. Their daily meetings evolved from 30-40 minutes to 10 minutes or less, and are very productive. Scott says they have a long way to go, but all they need to do is get better every day.

Many of the companies we spoke with mentioned the daily meetings as a key to getting started and that the key challenge is employee attitudes and participation. The team at Viking Plastics has been an inspiration to many companies starting to implement 2 Second Lean. CEO, Kelly Goodsel, and Engineering Manager, Shawn Gross, have spoken for our Lean Together™ kick-off meetings and have also opened their doors for a session. Their team is proud of their continuous improvement accomplishments to the extent of posting successes on social media. Recently they posted, “We have a ‘fix what bugs us’ mentality. Working together and keeping our team on the same page is important to the success of our lean journey”. This post included a video of employees fixing a cart that was very difficult to push. This demonstrates that 2 Second Lean really is about the small wins.

We are excited about the 2 Second Lean discussions and ‘Go to See’ visits at companies in the coming months. A new Lean Together™ working group is now forming for Elk and Clearfield counties, so manufacturers in those areas…start thinking about ‘What bugs you?’ and contact us to get involved.


Read more about Lean Together™.