A little history. Professionally, I am what's known as a Black Belt leader in Six Sigma and Lean, two approaches for improving quality and performance in organizations. For simplicity sake, a new-era efficiency expert. Since being steeped in analyzing processes for the last couple of years, I can't help but see processes everywhere, and occasionally, ways to improve them.
I mentioned the other day that Sean generally gets changed 8-10 times a day. Did I mention that he pretty much hates it? Anyway, in Lean there are five principles:
- Customer defines what's important
- Get organized around what provides value to the customer
- Streamline the delivery of that value
- Let the customer "pull" the value
- Pursue perfection continuously
My first attempts were clumsy, at best, as I figured out the process. Undress, open diaper, cover Sean with a cloth, apply baby wipe, apply clean diaper, re-dress, calm screaming infant. It took a few tries to learn that:
- Sean really only complains when he is getting undressed. Try to minimize the amount of time that he is undressed, i.e. arrange all materials before undressing him
- Sometimes the cold air has an effect on him - cover him with a cloth to prevent an unpleasant accident.
- Those baby wipes are cold! Heat them up, will ya? (Best $23 we've spent so far)
- Get that diaper closed properly (one blow-out brought this error to my attention)
I thought Lean diaper changing was pretty clever, until I Googled it and found out that others have made the connection.
Lean is fascinating, and extremely powerful. Toyota is poised to become the world's #1 car company because of it. Here's a great blog on using Lean in everyday life.