It's fun to hear about people and businesses that succeed using Lean and Six Sigma. They practice the tools because of the value.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a former colleague, Iver Frøsli, who combines a full-time job with farming.
He has about 120 sheep in total: 70 of them are lambs. To save time, Iver practice Lean at his farm. This means he removed time-thieves, performs standardized work and asks "Does this increase value?" when performing activities.
He also learns from the mistakes he makes so that they are not repeated. Continuous improvement in practice.
Me, and the kids I had with me, got a look at the labeling of newborn lambs. The equipment was easily accessible, the performance was the same every time and it went quickly and efficiently.
By introducing standardized work processes, Iver saves time in the morning before he goes to his full-time job in the city. Standardization results in shorter time usage and more consistent results.
"Manual work with pitchfork in the silo is heavy and takes time." If I roll the ball of hay all the way to the feed board, it's obviously more efficient, "explains Iver.
"To combine a full-time job with farming, I have to focus on time efficiency and stop doing activities which do not add value. If you do not waste time on unnecessary things, the economy will be better." It is not easy to create profit of a farm of this size.
There can be many time-thieves at a farm; Large distances, mess and storage of equipment at different location can lead to time spend on searching and movement. Iver has placed the equipment to find it easily with minimum distances.
To avoid standing up repeatedly during the night during lambing, a wifi camera is installed to monitor the pregnant ewes.
Before we leave, Iver says with a smile: "Even the bucks apply lean, they have chalk and mark where they have been."
Great fun to get out and see how lean principles also apply for farming. Perhaps it gives you some ideas for applying Lean to your everyday life.