Lilian Gilbreth, Mother of Modern Management | Harish Jose | LinkedIn Pulse


Lilian Gilbreth: “Household tasks were divided between the children. We had three rows of hooks, one marked “Jobs to be done,” one marked “Jobs being done” and a third marked” Jobs completed” with tags which were moved from hook to hook to indicate the progress of the task. ” (1930 Speech to National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, New York)

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Michel Baudin‘s comments:

In a 2011 blog post , I pointed out that the “personal kanban” had nothing to do with Toyota’s Kanban system, and that it was eerily similar to the scancard system marketed 30 years before. As Harish Jose’s article made me realize, this particular tool is at least 50 years older than I thought, since Lilian Gilbreth used it in her household.

Her name is most often said in the same breath at her husband Frank’s, and her contributions during his lifetime are commingled with his. She did, however, live and and work for 48 years after his death, leaving a substantial legacy that is unquestionably her own.

Many of the principles of manufacturing cell design are found in modern American kitchens, such as a uniform height for counters, sinks, and stoves, comfortable for working while standing and moving, and short distances between frequently-used equipment.

What I learned from Harish Jose’s article is that these concepts are due to Lilian Gilbreth, working for GE in the 1920s, including details like shelves in refrigerator doors and foot-pedal trash cans.

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