The other day I quoted Mike Hoseus from CQPO. He is co-author of the Toyota Culture book. There is a another story that he shares in the book about the importance of a continuous improvement mindset throughout an organization. So without further ado, here is the quote:
On a visit to Japan, I was touring through an office at a Toyota plant and the supervisor wanted to show me an example of a suggestion that an administrative assistant had just implemented. He took me to her desk and grabbed a Number Two wooden pencil. He asked me, “What do you do with the pencil after you work your way down and there is only a couple of inches left?” Being quick on my feet and showing my “knowledge of waste elimination,” I responded, “I use it all the way down to where I can no longer hold it with my fingers, and then I throw it away.” He said, “Exactly. That is what most do.” But then he opened the drawer and had the assistant proudly display the collection of pencils that had two of the “no-longer-usable” pencils taped together in order to get the use of another couple of inches of lead. I was impressed. Here was one of the richest companies in the world taping pencils together for another inch of lead. On the way out, my trainer commented, “think of the power of your organization when you have all the members thinking like this.”
That final quote really impacted me.
“think of the power of your organization when you have all the members thinking like this.”
Our organization is about 85k strong. We are making some headway in creating a culture of waste elmination but I’m afraid we still haven’t started taping pencils together. The real problem is that most of our population uses mechanical pencils :-P