Have you been down the rabbit hole lately? Maybe this happens to you, too.  You look for information on one topic or fact on the internet and it leads to . . . while maybe we need to Lean Up our business this summer.

Well, I was reading local news article called the Last Straw at Maumee Bay State Park.  Susan Pollock talked about the resort no longer providing a straw with your drink because of the actions of Milo Cress.  He got the world to know that all the plastic straws used in the USA in one year could fill 46,400 large school buses.  His mom calls him an instigator, but he is working one straw at a time to make a better world.  Oh yes, you can still have a straw if you ask, but it does make you think about waste.

Thinking about waste and I go straight to how can we Lean Up what we are doing.   This summer, I’m going to spend time getting lean in many parts of my business – reduce the size of my book collection, implement the expense system, create tools for standard work, and finally clean out that supply closet.

Often, as a consultant at a small businesses when we start talking about getting the business lean, the employees often think “Well, there goes my job” but  true lean has been defined by Mark Graban as

  1. Elimination of waste – waste is the opposite of value-added.
  2. The Practice of respecting people – beyond being nice.

Getting your business lean often will mean holding people accountable to the system, following it and improving it.  Many employees have the ideas and knowledge but the act of respect will give us the ability to maximize their production though empowerment and accountability.

Back to young Milo Cress, his idea is now housed at Eco-Cycle®.  You can learn about his challenge and how one person can make a difference.  This summer, Eco-Cycle is offering the Summer Challenge called “I choose to Reuse Summer Challenge” and the purpose is to get many people each doing small simple steps to make a difference.  In many ways, this is a global “lean” project with the elimination of waste.

Helping our teams, staff, family and friends realize that we can all make a difference in small incremental changes and continuous improvement is the hallmark of a lean business.

Leave us a comment on how you will Lean Up your business this summer.