top of page

Absurd Micro Lean Kaizen Tricks

Lean Practitioners are always looking for ways to improve process, reduce inventory and perhaps save money. All processes and categories are not immune to Kaizen and sometimes people even provoke Kaizen by launching a campaign to focus on. Here are some Kaizen results looking at office consumables.

We determined that we were consuming too many staples and paper clips in the office (around $500.00 per year) so after a bit of research we found that we could bind papers without using a staple or a paperclip ...

1. Align the papers.

2. Fold a triangle on the left-hand corner and crease. The fold (the longest part) is about 5.2cm long, however measuring is not necessary.

3. Make a 1cm-long slit, about 2cm from the edge, then cut another about 1cm away from the first one.

4. Fold and crease the flap as shown.

You could stop at Step 4, which is officially the end. The next 3 steps seek to hold the flap down.

5. Lift up the flap from Step 4 and create that little hollow space.

6. At the top of the flap, press it down to flatten.

7. Fold down the 2 halves.

Tips: The heavier the paper, the bigger the triangle fold and the deeper the slits.

The maximum I’ve gone is 15 sheets.

Elimination of Coffee Stir Sticks

We went through several boxes of those plastic coffee stir sticks every month and we found that just a simple change in process would allow us not to have to use them any longer saving us around $300.00 per year.

1. Add desired amount of sugar to an empty coffee cup

2. Add desired amount of creamer (wet or dry) into the cup.

3. Fill cup 1/3 full with coffee

4. Gently swirl coffee in cup until sugar and creamer are fully mixed and dissolved (around 3-5 seconds)

5. Fill cup with coffee until full (beverage will be fully mixed.


When doing the final fill suggest that you pour the contents using a gentle motion to agitate the base liquid.

Fill the Coffee Pot --- or how to make coffee

Nothing is more infuriating than going to the lunchroom for a cup of coffee only to find the urn empty and you have to brew the next batch and wait ... because heaven forbid that you walk away while it brews other office gremlins will steal your fresh brew. Here a simple visual Kanban supported with a work instruction may bring ease to my mind ... or these days replace the device with a Keurig or Nespresso.

Stop Greeting Each other in the morning

The logic was sound but trust me this is one Kaizen that did not fly into implementation ... Thankfully.

Our Team member determined that everyday we greet at least 10 people with a "Good Morning, How are You?" without actually truly caring and this verbal transaction was simply a courtesy that could be eliminated. He determined that each exchange took about 1 second to conduct ... so here was the logic;

1 second transaction multiplied 10 times on average equals 10 seconds

We had 2700 Team Members on site assembling vehicles so i n total we consumed 27,000 seconds.

Which equates to 450 minutes or 7.5 hours ... really

At that time it took us around 15 labour hours to assemble a vehicle and if we stopped our greetings logic seemed to indicate would be able to assemble an additional 1/2 car per shift or an addition 127 vehicles per year.

Nope !!! Not going to happen since our Lean Philosophy is built on the basic premise of Respect for people.

Related Posts

See All


We do more than just blog. We're active Lean practitioners who would love to help you achieve your productivity goals.

bottom of page