Monday Morning Message on Lean – Kaizen – Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

“Your first solution is not your last.” – Joe Denler

While facilitating a TPM Kaizen Event last week I was trying to get the point across that we need to find better solutions when we are trying to fix problems. I kept saying “Your first solution is probably wrong.” What I was trying to say is that – don’t just jump to your first solution and think you are done. The first solution is probably just a band-aid solution that really doesn’t get to the real root cause.

During the event we carefully spent time to get the root cause of several issues that were causing less than optimal availability and performance in a cell. We did some basic TPM training, tagged items that needed attention, performed a clean & inspect, reviewed PM & maintenance logs and then determined the areas of most concern. The team really focused on getting to the root cause of the issues.

I challenged the team to come up with five solutions to the different areas we were going to attack. By asking them to think of multiple solutions I figured that an overall better solution would emerge than the first ‘gut feel’ answer. To nudge them along I keep saying “Your first solution is probably wrong, so keep going.” That’s when Joe told me “Why would any of my solutions be wrong. Don’t you think I am trying to solve the problem?” He wasn’t angry or upset with me. That’s when he told me “I don’t think you should say it that way. Maybe you should say ‘Your first solution is not your last.’” He was right. Even an experienced Lean facilitator can learn something each event.

So, thank you Joe, from now on I will remind people that “Your first solution is not your last’ to help spur them on to greater thinking and better solutions.

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