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Blame my MOM please !!!

Ever since i became exposed to TPS and Lean Methodologies I was hooked. Absolutely everything is a process and wherever you have a process there is always a way to do it better, easier and more efficiently.

But as i reflect on my Lean Career i now realize that I really need to blame my MOM for providing me with that LEAN DNA marker.

My MOM did not know the term Lean, it had not yet been invented, she had not been exposed to any of the methodologies (5S, TPM, SMED and the plethora of others, but she got it !!! And how do in know? I was the victim and let me share with you some of the situations ....

From a 5S perspective my MOM was organized, extremely organized and she constantly scolded us that everything had a place and everything needed to be in place. Which also meant that the kitchen sink was not a storage place for dishes and beds when not occupied had to be properly made and presentable.

A fond memory of my MOM was definitely her cooking and with our family having some Indonesia heritage I always enjoyed our traditional dishes. But my MOM had a problem she was definitely not an efficient chef ... still to this day she is the only person that I have encountered that needed every pot and pan in the kitchen to boil a pot of water. So you can just imagine the mess in our kitchen after any meal or snack ... now multiply it by 100 and you get the picture. Of course my Dad and I were tagged to do the dishes, because the sink is not the proper storage location ...

I Begged, Prayed, Pleaded that we get a dishwasher. I even offered to donate my paper route earnings towards the purchase of a dishwasher. No matter what I tried a dishwasher was not to be in my future while i was living at home. My Mom's explanation was simple ... NO need for CAPEX when she had us at her disposal to do dishes as a "Value Add" activity after she had slaved to feed us. In hind-sight, the ability to obtain a dishwasher may have been a key motivator to move on my own, even my Dad insisted on having a dishwasher installed on his sailboat.

Most people hate doing laundry, but none more than my MOM. Mom was beyond hate, she truly dispised the process. Unfortunately we could not afford to purchase new clothes, so doing laundry was a necessary chore ... but MOM had a solution. All of us were assigned enough washable clothes to last at minimum 22 days (socks, underwear, shirts, pants). Every 21 days Laundry Night was announced ... with all the dirty clothes loaded into the station wagon our adventure would start at the local coin operated laundry mat. MOM would command an entire bank of wash machines, load the laundry, load the coins and set them into action. I seem to recall MOM using 5-10 machines at once. Washing complete a quick transfer to a bank of dryers and the process continued. Then all of us were forced to fold and stack the clean laundry and load the car again. Once home we put our clean laundry away and start the next cycle. You cannot even begin to imagine the Joy and exhilaration in my MOM's life once she found a laundry that would do wash and fold. As much as I hated that batch mentality and sometimes wish it was still in my life instead of having to constantly hear our washer and dryer operating in the background like a never-ending process. Why 22 days? we needed to wear at least 1 set of clothes while the others were being cleaned silly!

Our weekdays were pretty hectic with both my parents working and me attending school. So the preparation of daily lunches was a requirement ... or so you may think but not to my Super LEAN MOM, she had a solution for that ... and this became a team effort. Once a month my MOM would purchase several loaves of day old bread (it was cheaper) along with a case of canned Tuna. MOM would proceed to make a VAT of Tuna Salad and then she created a single-piece-flow line. Bread was greased with margarine, Tuna salad added and sandwich cut in half and stuffed into a plastic bag and then tossed into the empty laundry basket. Once the VAT of Tuna salad was depleted and we had a months' worth of sandwiches made, they were transferred to the freezer for storage. Then our daily lunch process was enabled, grab a frozen sandwich add an apple and you had your lunch and oh by the time noon arrived your frozen sandwich should be thawed. Indeed a Lean process with a negative consequence ... I hate Tuna sandwiches !!

Finally, one day during dinner my parents were discussing building us a new home. Of course my Dad was in favor of a larger home with more space and of course a garage to store the car but my MOM was in charge of the finances. As she became more frustrated she eventually commanded my Dad to stand-up. Now the Chemist (MOM) said to the Engineer (DAD) how many square feet was he occupying while standing? 4 square feet was the response ... MOM then explained to Dad that he could only occupy that space in a single time and since he mainly spent his spare time in the living room there was absolutely no need for a larger house ... but what about the garage? MOM said she had a person who cleaned off the car for her when it snowed and it got cleaned on a regular basis so no need for covered storage ... so we moved into a small house with NO Dishwasher and NO Laundry hook-ups and of course NO Garage.

Perhaps If MOM was more emotionally attached to the process of doing dishes and car care perhaps she would have been more open to improvement than CAPEX avoidance.

So if you don't like my LEAN method deployment don't blame me, blame my MOM please?


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