Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Toasted at the Lean Conference

I'm in Springfield, MA, to attend the "Made Lean in America" conference organized by the GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership), a not-for-profit group whose mission is to sustain a strong and vibrant regional economy by improving the operational profitability and competitiveness of existing and emerging organizations, large and small, through training in Lean and continuous improvement principles.

This promises to be an engaging two days, and I encourage even late arrivals to head over to hear the speakers and shmooze with other Leaners.

We'll start, though, with a humorous, light touch.  GBMP's Bruce Hamilton (seen here) is famous for a short video, entitled Toast, in which he demonstrates the basic principles of Lean process improvement.  How fitting, then that the bagel toasting process at the convention center is anything but Lean!  A batch process, with poorly designed flows, leaves people waiting in line, unsure of what to do next.  Even the toaster itself is in an unstable setting, almost falling off the table!

Some of you may recall my "oatmeal chronicles," from last year's IHI Annual Forum, where the convention center in Florida likewise inadvertently provided a wonderful display of a poor service process.  Perhaps this kind of thing is intended at these kind of conferences, to offer real-time examples of how not to do things, so the attendees can think more clearly about how to do them right.

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