Does This Man Look Efficient? | Businessweek

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“…Threading the nut is waste, as are the first five turns of the wrench. Only the last quarter-turn of the nut adds value. The customer doesn’t pay you to turn the nut. The customer pays you to fix the joint. My customer—my editor—only pays me to hand in completed articles. Everything else I do up to that point is waste.

Toyota will scratch at tenths of a second to bring down “takt time,” what it takes to complete a single step in a process…”


Michel Baudin‘s insight:

The coverage of Lean in the mainstream press often turns into a collection of strange statements of this kind.

What does it mean that only the last quarter turn of the nut adds value? The gas cap on my car is fastened with just a quarter turn, but the nuts that hold the engine together are not. When you tighten a nut, force is applied to the entire length of the thread, which makes running down the nut about as “wasteful” as prepping a surface before painting it.

That Business Week’s editor only pays the author for completed articles does not mean that the work of writing them is waste. Customers, generally, are no authority on the process to make what they buy. If you sell something, it’s your job to figure it out. There is what you need to do, and what you don’t. If you need to do it, it’s not waste; if you don’t, it is.

And Takt time is not what it takes to complete a single step in a process! it is a common misconception but it completely misses the point of producing to takt. For a weekly magazine, the takt time is one week.

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