Are you searching for simple improvement ideas?

Sometimes the best improvements are the simplest ones, the ones that are often sitting under our noses.

Simple ideas get implemented.

Simple ideas stick.

I recall having a conversation in a factory where a particular machine was running slowly because the tooling wasn't angled correctly.

I asked what the plan was for the machine and was told that production were waiting for engineering to get prices for an angled tool.

The crude sketch below shows you the issue:

In the first box (1) they had a flat tool, a resin injecting head would move over the mounted components and inject a pre-determined amount of resin. The resin didn't flow properly because of the components lying flat on the tool.

In the second box above (2) the engineers had proposed an angle jig / tool. This was proving to be complicated and expensive, but should improve the product's quality / reject rate.

So, as any curious person would do, I asked why they couldn't just raise the front of the machine (see box 3 above).

Yes, it worked.

Yes, the cost of improvement was pennies (they put proper legs on the machine, in place of my wooden block!).

Yes, it happened instantly.

If you are finding that your continuous improvement projects / ideas are getting too complicated then perhaps it is worth taking a second look (for a simpler solution).

Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering