• Bill Greider

Divorce Lawyers LOVE When People Do LEAN at Home

Everybody knows Lean Rule #1. It is the first rule we learn as young kids working on our white belts in kindergarten. If we ever waiver and break Rule #1, we lean zealots fully understand the consequences. The friends will go. The marriage will probably go. You get the picture.


Leave it at work. Things you find exciting, stimulating and challenging at work will serve to peeve people off at home. Dinner time conversations about flow quickly seem to be a signal to put your dishes in the sink. Family members don't seem to care if there are eight wastes or 1000. When I say heijunka, they say God bless you.

Then I got an idea!! What if I not only bring lean home, but apply it like some companies do? Stealth lean!! Can you imagine my face when, after 6 months or a year, I call together a family meeting and let everyone in on the fact that we have been practicing full-blown LEAN and they didn't even know it!?!

So here's the plan. How about if I begin to use Kanban for a few items around the house to show how cool it is to never run out of stuff you don't want to run out of? I started with a couple of items only I use just to practice. (slow and steady wins the lean race, right?)

I start with underarm deodorant. Instead of buying a six-pack at Walmart, we'll start with 2 underarm deodorants. Use one. Use, use, use, use. When it is gone, start the other one. But KEEP the empty one as a signal to pick up another one next time we're out shopping. (You could put the empty one on the dashboard of your car to help you remember). That implementation when strikingly well. nobody seemed to notice other than the questions about why do I have an underarm deodorant on my car dashboard. No harm, no foul, went seamlessly.

Next I did the oil filter for my tractor. Same idea. Use one, buy one. Same ho-hum response. Nobody in my family seemed to care. More stupid questions about why do I have an oil filter on my dashboard.

Ever run out of propane in the middle of a picnic? Propane tanks were next. Use one. Use, use, use it. Then when it is empty, simply install the full one and now the empty one is our signal to re-fill at our next shopping opportunity. People actually liked this one! "That is really smart Dad! Thanks to you, we'll never find ourselves short of propane!"

Similar positive feedback and accolades about printer ink cartridges. Use one. Use it, use it use it. When empty, pop in the second one, go on-line and buy the replacement. No more searching through drawers or having 6 Magentas on hand but no black.

Toilet paper was my Waterloo. Not sure if this is the case at your house, but my wife likes to go to Sam's Club and buy the 500 pack. All of you lean people know that the more you keep of something, the more likely you will run out. The less you keep, the less likely (this is called respect for materials). I was doing good, my wife was nodding her head when I told her we would keep go out and buy 2 rolls for each bathroom. One on the holder, and one in the vanity. Use, use, use. When the roll on the holder was empty, replace it with the one in the vanity, and immediately get in the car and go buy 1 roll. In fact, I explained, since the lead time for the replacement roll is only 10 minutes, we should never keep more than 10 minutes worth of toilet paper on hand. (Ever say something when you're really, really excited but as soon as you say it you want to grab the words and put them back into your own mouth?)

Well, that is where everything blew up in may face and the s%$t hit the fan. "You and your stupid lean", "that's why people never invite us over", etc. etc.


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