Process improvement – Never stop asking why?

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Process improvement starts with the elimination of waste. It’s no good just seeing the waste, improvement comes when you question it and eliminate it.

This is a great story I tell to highlight to people just because the waste has always been there it does not mean it should not be questioned.

“Two newly-weds agreed to share household responsibilities. Their first conflict came about when the wife cut both ends off a ham before she cooked it. The husband asked, ‘Why do you cut both ends off the ham before you cook it?’ The wife replied, ‘That’s how you cook a ham!’ When the husband pressed for ‘why,’ the wife simply said, ‘That’s how my mother and grandmother taught me.’

“The next time they were together with the mother and grandmother, the husband asked them, ‘Why do you cut both ends off the ham?’ The mother said, ‘That’s how you cook a ham!’ When the husband pressed for more information, the mother said, ‘If you want to know more, ask Grandma.’ Then Grandma said, I always cut both ends off because I never had a pan big enough!’

How many ‘Grandma Hams’ do you have in your organisation? Remember, for every Grandma Ham, there are probably good reasons for it, and a proportional amount of resistance to change, even if you have big enough pans today.

Go see – Ask why – Show respect.


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