Thursday, April 22, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/22/2010: Checklist for a check

I have volunteered in the past to count and deposit the Sunday offering and all the counters agreed that unfolding checks is a waste of time.  We know that people do so as an act of privacy which should be respected.  I thought about how you could do both-keep the gift confidential from other church members and make it easier to count.  As a result, this is my improvement idea that I do every Sunday-imagine how much less time would be needed to tally checks if everyone did this?

Before: I folded my offering check in half before placing it in the contribution plate for privacy.

After: I place my offering check unfolded face down in the collection plate.

  • Reduce processing time by counting and deposit team
  • Eliminates unfolding time waste
  • Maintains privacy and respects the giver
What has your church improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/18/2010: The Search Party process

Before: When someone in our house would lose something, chaos would ensue because the accusations about who took it would fly.  The common refrain became, "You did something with it!" We would would argue about whom had take the missing item (OK, I was the one who usually lost things and got mad at the kids) and people got really mad.

After: We created the "search party" process.  If something was lost, we would rally everyone together, there was no blaming or finger pointing, and we would search for the object as a family with no questions asked.  We meeting in the living room and all those available would help by looking and asking the person questions to help track down the misplaced object.

  • Changed the focus from a people problem to a process problem
  • The lost item is usually found within a few minutes
  • Everyone stays calm
  • We work together as a team
  • Our family is happier
What has your family improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/17/2010: Do unto others...

Before: Didn't know sales people's name at Pep Boys and got OK service.

After: Worked on knowing staff names, introdiuced myself to the manager, took a genuine interest in the employees, and praise them to the manager when they go out of their way to help me..

  • Better relationships with sales people
  • They see me and immediately ask what I need when I come in and wait on me.
  • Reduced search time for parts and products due to improved clerk assistance.
  • They volunteer to give me coupons that I am not aware of-last time Mario gave me a $10 coupon that was not in the latest ad
What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/15/10: Canine-zen

There is no excuse for people not improving when animals find easier ways of doing things...

Before:  Our dog jumped from the seat cushion to the back of the couch to view what's going on outside.  A couple times he fell off.

After: He goes to the arm of the couch and then jumps up to the top.

  • Less energy expended to get on top of sofa
  • Improved safety and less falls when jumping up
What has your dog improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/14/10: Improved Resevoir visual

Before:  Power steering fluid resevoir level hard to see due to white on white plastic letters.

After: Outling markings with a black permanent marker makes it much easier to see.

  • Easier to see fluid level
  • Can view fluid level from a distance without bending over (less back strain)
What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Monday, April 12, 2010

April QEK Kaizen 4/12/10: Use it up, wear it out, make it do...

Before: My son wanted to wash the car but the garden hose end was "customized" by an unfriendly lawn mower.  He had to go back and forth a long way to shut the water off between scrubbing sections of the vehicle and wasted a lot of water in the process.

After: He kinked the hose and placed it under the tire and controlled the flow of water between uses.

  • Eliminated 90% of the wasted motion going back and forth to turn on and off the hose.
  • Reduced water waste
  • Used existing hose without purchasing a replacement
  • Reduce teen boredom and annoyance
What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/11/10: Ending discord in my garage

Before: Electrical plugs in a garage outlet would fall out with the slightest of pulling and it always happened when I was on the opposite end of the extension cord.   I estimate this running to plug back in the cord over and over wasted about 15 minutes/year.

After:  I replaced the outlet because I found that the problem was with a broken plastic section under the ground pin.

  • Saved 15 minutes a year
  • Less frustration
  • Improved safety
What did I wait so long??????  Some people say that Kaizen is nothing special and that it is common sense.  If that is true then why are there so many problems that people put up with when a small improvement would make it so much better?   If Kaizen is common sense, why isn't everyone doing it?

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen: Solar powered defrost

Before: Had to scrape the frost off my windshield in the morning.

After: Parked the car facing east.  When the sun comes up it melts the frost off.

  • No scraping off the winshield
  • Save time 
What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/8/2010: Is your mechanic telling the truth?

Knowledge is power.  How do you know if it's time to change the transmission fluid or do you take the word of your car guy?  Here's an easy way to check the all the fluid conditions yourself and to see if they really need to be changed!

Before:  I didn't really know what car fluids were dirty except the motor oil because I didn't have access to a reference of new clean fluids.  I was at the mercy of the mechanic because I wasn't sure about the fluid condition.

After:  I made myself five reference vials of new radiator coolant, transmission oil, power sterring fluid, brake fluid, and motor oil.  Now I can compare the condition of the fluids in the car to see if maintenance is needed and they are in the garage next to the car for easy access.


No more guessing-I know what new fluid should look like and can compare fluid in cars

Easy access to vials for comparison

Improved quality and better preventive maintenance decisions (along with following the maintenance schedule of the drivers manual)

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/5/2010: Get to the front of the bank line

Before:  I had to go to the bank when it opened today but five people were ahead of me waiting for the doors to open.

After: Both the lobby and the drive through opened at the same time-9AM.  No one was waiting in the drive-thru so I went there and it opened the same time as the bank doors.

  • First in line at the drive-thru window with one one in front of me
  • Transaction time was 3.5 minutes
  • Reduced wasted motion having to get out of the car and to the teller window
  • Saved time
What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever. Kaizeneer

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/5/2010: Keeping her car "M.I.N.T.Y." fresh...

My daughter recently purchased her first car, a light green Saturn from a friend in college.  It's a nice little vehicle that checked out well with a clean carfax, a great inspection, lots of preventive maintenance, and the service records all the way back when the car was new.  She named the car "Minty" and I decided to make an acronym out of the name so that she could have an easy checklist of things to inspect when she fills up the tank.  Since this is her first foray into auto care, I wanted her to learn from the beginning how to maintain Minty for a long time.

Before: She didn't know how to maintain and do preventative maintenance to the car.

After: Use the "M.I.N.T.Y." acronym when she stops at a gas station for an easy checklist of vehicle maintenance items.

M - Maintain the interior by removing trash and uneeded items to keep it clean
I - Inspect the fluids - check all the fluids under the hood such as wiper fluid, coolant, steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and oil. (Another Q&E Kaizen was to show her all the places to check fluids using the "clockwise" method)
N-Nose around the exterior by walking around the car looking for any damage to windows, lights, doors, etc.
T-Tire review - look for tire inflation and overall condition
Y-Your hoses and belts - quick inspection of hose and belts for cracks and wear.

  • Improved preventative car care
  • Easy way to remember checklist 
  • Confidence by knowing what to do to keep a car well maintained
What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Q&E Kaizen 4/2/2010: Save $10 fee when buying new tires

Before: Tire place charged me a $2.50 fee for tire disposal of four tires

After: I told the manager in the morning that I would take the tires and dispose of them and not to charge me for the disposal.  Indianapolis trash pick-up allows you to put used tires on the curb so there was no reason for that silly fee.  When I picked up the car, I told the guy I was ready to take the old tires but he said don't worry about it and didn't charge me!

Result:  Saved $10.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

April Q&E Kaizen 4/2/10 New tool for car work...

Before:  Couldn't remove radiator drain plug to flush coolant in my daughter's car.

After: Used laptop in shop to lookup how to remove radiator plug and successfully removed it.

Result:  Saved time, saved a trip to ask someone, able to do the radiatior flush job for $15 myself versus $99 at a auto service center for savings of $84.

Try using a laptop while working on your car-it's amazing what free repair information you can find online!

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer