Preparation is part of Doing

I just saw a post on LinkedIn where a LEAN expert mentioned that 20% of implementing LEAN is having the right tools. The other 80% is the mindset. In other words, the table must be set in order for dinner to be served.

It strikes me that this is an “oft-overlooked” phase of every project.

A company we worked with was charged with writing software for an entire state’s medical insurance program. There were several hundred programmers; all of them busy all of the time. As I began my process of evaluating the workload in preparation for a schedule change I was surprised at what most of their work consisted of.

When we asked, “What do you spend your time doing every day?” The average answer came back as “I spend 80% of my time with my customers, identifying their needs. I spend the remaining 20% writing code.” Another instance of “measuring twice before cutting once”.

I recently had a deck at my house painted. It took about 20 hours. This wasn’t a large deck and I expected it to take much less time (although I wasn’t in a hurry). As I watched the painters work, I noticed that nearly all of their time was spent sanding and taping off different areas. When it comes to actually painting…that took no time at all.

Whether it’s implementing a LEAN program or writing code or painting a deck, preparation is the key to success.

In my world at Shiftwork Solutions, things are no different. Implementing a shift schedule takes preparation as well as the process. In a sense, the preparation is part of the process. Sure, you can go online and find schedules anywhere; we even put them on our website. But don’t be fooled into thinking that what you have found is the key to success – because it’s not.

My advice – Do it right the first time.

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