Applying 'Lean Thinking' to processes in the workplace is necessary to reduce waste which when translated into dollars can mean the difference of keeping your customers happy who are constantly squeezing you for price reductions. Lean saves time and makes work & your personal life so much easier. There are lots of examples of Continuous Improvement (CI) our members are doing that they don't label as CI or Lean - it is just common sense and I have seen hundreds of examples in my 14 years here at EMC. Call me if you ever want to chat about Lean / CI. But, please don't ask if you can come along with us to Tennis Canada. Thanks to Cori Hanna here at EMC for pushing me to do this blog.
August 6th was the day my 15 tennis pals and myself were heading to our private box in the 44' customized Prevost coach - but it turned into a Kaizen Event.
It all started in September 2013 when I ordered the tickets for this year. One would think my 15th year of scheduling this outing would mean it went smoothly because I am supposed to know about Lean / Continuous Improvement - wrong. My perfected Value Stream Map collapsed - we just had to follow the yellow brick road. Meet at 7:00 am at the Collingwood Airport, breakfast in Barrie, park @ Black Creek Pioneer Village (across from Rexall Tennis Centre @ York University), The Keg in Barrie for a wonderful meal (Lobsterfest) and back home.
But, just like production schedules at our valued EMC member's facilities, Murphy shows up and it all goes funky (Effective Problem Solving).
The marvelous coach owned by our very good friend Wilf Stemmle who passed away suddenly in early February, so I was in the midst of changing how we travel - 4 of us would drive and take 3 passengers each. I was leaving it up to my pals to figure out who would drive. (Creating Continuous Flow).
Then a couple of the boys asked if I could get their wives a ticket to join us in the box which meant we had to invite all the wives to keep the peace (WW3 if all of them weren't asked). We ended up with 3 wanting to attend, so I ordered the extra tickets. That brings us up to 19 (the box holds up to 22) and the ladies drove themselves so as not to mess with the still unorganized who the other 3 drivers were.
My tennis pals and Wilf Stemmle's customized Prevost coach
Then on July 30th, a week ahead of our big day and still not knowing how the others were getting there, my nightmare begins. Karen (Wilf's daughter) calls & insists she keeps the tradition alive by driving us on our special day in the coach. Now I was scrambling to contact everyone and change all the travel arrangements back to what they used to be (Setup Time Reduction / SMED). Oops, that won't work - the capacity on the bus is only 16 and Wilf's son Brian (in one of Wilf's old blue jump suits) also wants to be part of this special day which makes it 18 on the bus. Now I had to select which of my unsuspecting 2 pals would be told they are off the bus. I carefully used the history of who had missed the most tennis days with our group who play every Tuesday & Thursdays on the clay courts in the summer and indoors in the winter. That made the decision very easy and they both agreed to drive on their own and they accepted their fate since I had the historical data to show why they were voluntold (Six Sigma).
Then I ordered the 5 tickets needed and called Black Creek Pioneer Village to set up the parking which we previously arranged in early May. Guess what - no parking spots available for the big coach thanks to a large increase in bus tours which meant we were now in the parking lot far enough away that we needed to take the shuttle bus. The only good thing that happened is I got The Keg organized for the 16 of us from the coach for outdoor dining at 8:00 pm.
We arrive at the hanger where Karen lets us know Wilf never got around to doing his normal Total Productive Maintenance which means the restroom, fridge and interior lights are out of order. Worst of all, so is the backup camera for this oversized monster of a vehicle. We offered to then drive ourselves but Karen insisted we get on board and go. We got her '5S' instructions on storing our coolers & backpacks since nothing can go into the fridge as in previous years since it is out of order, take our shoes off as usual and off we go.
The rest of the day was great, easy drive with a lovely lady as the chauffeur who when she dropped us off at the front gates of the Rexall Tennis Centre had 2 police officers all over her about stopping to drop us off - they couldn't believe the little lady who said 'This is my coach and I will move it in a moment after I drop of some very special gentlemen'.
Lots of stories about Wilf and we watched 3 great tennis matches on centre court. Then we topped it off with a great meal at the The Keg.
I offered the job of coordinating this annual event to anyone of my tennis bum pals, but they said nobody could do better than me. Karen also said if she still has the coach next year, she will play chauffeur because she had a lot of fun and enjoyed being the only girl with her dad's old pals. No matter if we go by coach or car pool, I will have to add FMEA to the game plan.