Pegs on socks and other experiences with Lean

Martin Doeswijk

When I look back at my first experiences with Lean, my typing classes in high school come to mind. Standardizing the routine of typing consisted of endless exercises on a typewriter with blinded keys. And now? The words fluently roll out of my laptop without so much as a second thought. No more waste of finding the right letters with two fingers.


In one of my first part-time jobs on a tomato-nursery I got acquainted with the ingenuity of standardization. Stilts to keep up with the pollinating of eight to ten meters long plants! I wore a matching pair of stilts for each growth spurt. Imagine what a hassle it would have been if I had to solve this with a ladder under my arm, pollinating all those thousands tomato plants in that greenhouse ...


An example from my own household: pegs on the socks to hold them in the washing machine. No more lost socks or coming at work and to find out that I have accidentally put on two different colored socks with my sleepy head ...
The moral of this practice: make sure your daily activities go right the first time. So well that you do not have to think about them anymore. Dispose your routine of everything unnecessary and save time. Time to do it even better. Or to do more. Or to innovate.


In our company we also have a lot of activities that can be stripped of unnecessary finery. Such as procedures that we have come up with together, but of which no one knows why anymore. Or long lead times for projects that increase unnecessary stocks of work.

More than enough examples. A good one to share, deals with the procedures for requesting software. The requests always have to be approved by a supervisor. Research showed that the approval was granted in 99% of the cases, but that same research also showed that before approval, several reminders had to be to send to the manager. The waiting period for the software could increase to several weeks ... Now the request is granted automatically via a simple digital application, without intervention of a manager. Any wrongful allocations can always be reversed. In other words: the customer comes first, all waste is eliminated and the turnaround is a fraction of what it was!

I will regularly share experiences of the years of learning and improvement curve that I, together with my colleagues, customers and fellow students, will be making. I am looking forward to this adventure!

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