Working from Home – Lean at Home
By: Nicola Balloch
We hope you are all safe and well!
This week’s blog is slightly different to the others in our WFM series. Instead of focusing on benefits to your work life, we are going to cover some of ways that lean tools and techniques can be used to improve your home life!
Not only can they make things at home run a little smoother, but some even make neat craft-projects that can keep (big or little) kids entertained for a while. So, lets get straight to it!
Big kids making a mess with all of their DIY tools, or little kids making a mess with their toys? Shadow boards are a great solution to keep things in their rightful place!
Quite simply, they are a board (or piece of paper) that shows the outlines and locations of all the items that should be in that area. This makes tidying up more efficient and means you can quickly see if anything is missing. They have a variety of uses, from organising utensils in a kitchen drawer to straightening up a messy toolbox. As a craft idea to entertain the kids, have them trace round a few of their toys then colour in the shapes to create a fun shadow board that helps with tidying up!
Photo credit: Instructables ‘How to Make a Shadow Board for Your Tools‘ Guide
Visual management allows for quick communication and recognition of information. This can be really useful in a household setting, and is something many people may do already. For example, if you have a family calendar on display so that everyone can keep track of what is going on that week, that is visual management.
Another way you can make your home life more lean is by using visual management to track what groceries you have in the freezer and what you need to buy. On a dry-erase board on laminated sheet of paper, simply list all of the frozen items you usually buy. In the space next to those names, note how much of each item you currently have. Store this list as close to the freezer as possible, and update it whenever you use different items. When it comes time to do your next food shop, you can easily see what you need without having to dig around in the freezer!
Poka-yoke is a Japanese term that means ‘mistake proofing’. Basically, we want to prevent human errors before they actually occur. For instance, many modern cars require the driver to have their foot on the clutch before starting the engine. This prevents them from accidentally starting the car in gear and having an accident.
However, poka-yoke around the home can be something much simpler! You could put labels or coloured stickers onto your cables so that you don’t accidentally unplug the wrong thing. Or put a marker in your driveway so, when a certain part of the car (e.g. drivers window) lines up with it, you know to stop.
There are also lots of great ways to use poka-yoke with kids. For example, create a ‘toilet roll marker’ so that little ones know how much to take when potty training, or cut a sticker in half and place one side in each of their shoes so they can easily tell their left from their right.
Photo credits: Today’s The Best Day blog.
What other ways do you use Lean tools and techniques at home? We’d love to hear from you!
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If you have any questions about what we do and how we can help you on your Lean journey, you can contact us here.