Paul Akers had a very simple message for the attendees at the 2013 Washington State Government Lean Conference, “Fix What Bugs You!” Ferndale entrepreneur and Lean author Paul Akers used his keynote address to tell his personal story of going Lean. “Lean is not about being organized, because you can organize waste.” When he started his woodworking supply company, FastCap, he was having some trouble managing his inventory. He brought in a Lean expert who took one look at his facility and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” Akers was blown away and began to investigate Lean.
Since then, he has written a book, 2 Second Lean, and spoken with groups across the world about how to start going Lean. His approach to Lean is straight forward- look around at your work and see what you can do to make your work a little easier. His employees, and Akers himself, have uploaded hundreds of short youtube videos documenting their improvements at FastCap – allowing workers to share ideas and see improvements.
We can all learn from that simple question, “What bugs you?” By taking Lean down to this simple question, you are able to begin the process of continuous improvement and slowly improve your productivity.