Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Using Lean to get Lean

We all use kaizen techiniques to get our factories, our administrative processes and hospitals lean, but what about ourselves?

I found this slide share presentation on the lean.org forums, submitted by Sam Xia. He decided to use lean in his personal life, to reduce weight. The following is his documentation of the process.

Losing weight is one of the more difficult aspects of our lives. It's incredibly hard to sustain due to our natural desire for pizza, ice cream and Dr. Pepper! That's why weight loss is a billion dollar industry. Sam's figured out his own way to kick the fat, using kaizen.
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All the lean tools are present in Sam's Personal Management system. He uses the PDCA cycle to Plan, Do, Check and Adjust his process. Starting with an A3, he develops the problem statement and background. He clearly identifies the current condition (191 pounds) and drills down to the root cause using 5 whys.

He sets his target, to lose 31 pounds in 90 days, and then develops a list of countermeasures, including standardizing his meal portions and exercise routines.

The best part about this process is how well-documented it is. Sam includes pictures of all his countermeasures and has a beautiful A3 completed for this project. The results are clear! He looks like a different person. Check out the 26-slide presentation below:


Self Kaizen case study-How I lose 29lb weight in 90 days! from samxia

I'm know I could never be this meticulous with Lean in my personal life. In fact, I've been blessed with a super-metabolism and I can't gain weight if I wanted to. I just attribute this to the purveyance of lean throughout my whole life. I'm the "leanest" person I know.

But I do love Sam's approach. I also try to standardize things at home. Our home is small, so we naturally don't keep a lot of extra "inventory" of anything. I do use a two-bin system for BBQ propane. When one tank runs out, I have another one lined up ready to go. I find that when you create systems, it removes stress from your life, since you have less to worry about.

How have you used Lean in your personal life?

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