How to start a project read? Step 1
The typical question I always get asked is:

I want to apply Lean but not where to start. What do I do?

The simple answer is we have only to copy those who invented read therefore must ask:

What do they do in Toyota?

The first question in TPS (Toyota Production System) is always:

What does the customer want from this process?

Thus the value defined (what the customer wants, as desired, as long as you want and when you want).

If we know what the customer wants, we can observe a process and separate the steps that add value to those who do not.

Any activity should be subject to the question brings value to the customer ?, the customer pay more for my product after this activity?

But maybe we have many customers, how do you know that is what they value?

Focus on the most important customers and generate higher profits.

How many of these customers or customer groups generate half of sales? I bet not many. If so, how their needs differ from the rest?

Talk to them directly, and if it is not possible to ask the sales people that will tell you what they value.

Now you get to the second part, you know what the customer wants, therefore we have to eliminate the other things, the Muda.

Muda = Waste,


What is Muda? “Anything that adds time and cost without adding value”

I think this is basic, if you do not know what the customer values can not focus on eliminating what is waste. And how do you do that?

Very simply, start writing down all the errors found in production and preparing orders, and identifies the causes.

Mapping production processes and look at the stages that do not add value to eliminate them.

Sort each step of the process as:

1-creator of value (usually a 5%)

2-No value creator but necessary for the company to work (35%)

3-No value creator and unnecessary (60%)


Focus on eliminating type 3, you will see improvements dramatically.

Perhaps some say it is a very laborious process, and it is true but I think I have explained ever read is a like finding gold process is laborious, heavy and sometimes boring, but especially need a lot of discipline, without But when you find gold, you forget everything else.

Note that reading is based on doing more with less, and that is anything but easy, however it is it really allows us to survive.

Look at things from the customer’s perspective.
A few weeks ago he appeared in the newspaper El País, this visual puzzle that tests used primary in South Korea.

The truth is that cost me guess the number is hidden under the car, I started trying to find a mathematical relationship, as were several numbers 6 and 8 thought there came the answer, but could not find it.

And what more to me not understand why not solved, it is that it was a problem for primary school children, so I started thinking that Korean children were to be geniuses.

The answer could not be simpler. What would a child primary to know the answer?

Get in the car seat that is parked, and then, voila the answer is more than simple, if we look at the numbers from the driver’s perspective, the number is 87.

problema coreano 2

What we learn from this example?

Often unnecessarily we complicate our life without asking the customer what he wants, and that’s the first question of any lean implementation. What does the customer want?

And now delves into the question, how do you want ?, when? What amount? how often? With that packaging? And so on.

But do not make the mistake of Korean children example, do not assume what you want, go see the customer and ask directly.

It is that sometimes are not very commercial departments agree that ask customers, because it seems to go over them, which are usually treated with the client.

Well no problem, ask the sales manager permission to visit customers with their delegates, sure that’s not going to look bad.

Now when you know that, you have to adjust your processes to provide customers what they really want.

Entirely logical, right?

Well you will be amazed to know that the vast majority of companies never do.

The process is more or less this:

The business visit customer who tells him what he wants, the commercial makes its interpretation and says his sales manager. If you’re lucky the sales manager will discuss it with the production manager or logistics which will do two things:

1 not make or case, that’s why I’m an engineer and I know what I have to do, and no commercial I will teach how to produce or deliver.

2nd Take note that whenever possible, do something. In other words if I have nothing else to do, and I’ll look.

And the weeks, months and years, and the client continues to complain and the circuit continues to operate the same, until one of two, or the client mounts a scandal because nobody pays any attention and the manager has to fix it, or the client stop buying and goes to the competition, which will be a problem of the commercial department that has failed to serve the customer.

If you do not believe I leave a true story of a client in a hotel, I hope you like.


Dear Mrs. cleaning.:

Please do not leave more of these soaps again in my bathroom. I have my own soap normal size and not use those little bars of soap. Please remove the 6 soaps which are by the sink faucet and the other three in the soap in the shower, only serve to annoy.
Very thankful. Antonio Rodriguez
Dear Customer:

I’m not the cleaning lady serving his room regularly, today is your holiday and tomorrow she can help you. However, following his instructions I have removed 6 Camay your sink and the other 3 of the shower soap dish and I put up Kleenex dispenser in case you change your mind. So just you observe the 3 complimentary soaps that have left today orders of the head of service of the Hotel. I hope that is satisfactory to you.
Kathy, maid support.

Dear maid:

I hope it’s my usual cleaning lady, Apparently Kathy did not tell you my note concerning the little bars of soap. When I returned to my room I found that you had added 3 Camay on the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I’ll be 20 days in the hotel and did not need those 6 Camays the shelf, I get upset when I shave or brush my teeth. Please take them away from there. Antonio Rodriguez.

Dear Mr. Antonio Rodriguez:

Last Wednesday was my day off, so the relief maid left 3 soaps and send the service chiefs Hotel is made daily. I took the 6 soaps shelf apparently bothered him in his toilet, and I put the soap dish in the shower where there was a bar of soap which apparently belongs. I have kept that pill in the medicine cabinet for the lack of space in the soap dish. I have not moved the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed in the medicine cabinet for entry of a new customer in the room, and apparently you do not bother you. Please tell me if I can be of further assistance.
His usual maid. Dotty

Dear Mr. Antonio Rodriguez:

The Manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this morning that you called him last night and said he was not satisfied with the care of housekeeping service. We have assigned a new girl and I hope you accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

If you have any future complaints would like to assist you personally. Call extension 1108 between 8:00 to 17:00 and most gladly will attend.
Thank you. Elaine Carmen. Reception.

Dear Miss Carmen.:

It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel each morning at 7:30 for business purposes and not return until 19:00 or so. For that reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You had finished their workday. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if I could do something with my problem Camay. The new maid you assigned to my room must have been thinking that just arrived at the hotel, and has therefore left the 3 Camay in my room kit and the other 3 that regular delivery every room. In 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap. Why do you do this to me?.
Mr. Antonio Rodriguez
Mr. Antonio Rodriguez Deeming

Her maid Kathy has been ordered to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If we can be of further assistance Call extension 1108 between 8:00 to 17:00 and most gladly will attend.
Thank you. Elaine Carmen. Reception.

Dear Mr. Kensedder:

My soap – normal size – has disappeared, have been all the soap out of my room, including my own. Last night was late and I had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 Camay and a large bottle of bath gel.
Mr. Antonio Rodriguez.

Dear Mr. Antonio Rodriguez:

I informed the receptionist Elaine Carmen your problem with soap. Honestly I can not imagine the reason for your problem since all the maidens have strict orders to distribute Daily 3 Camay per room. I have completed the necessary steps to solve your problem orders. Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience.
Martin L. Kensedder. Manager.

Dear Miss Carmen.:

Who the hell left 54 Camay in my room ?, this is what I found last night to get to my room. I do not want for anything 54 Camay, I just want my damn bar of bath-size-mill stream. I beg you give me back.
Antonio Rodriguez

Dear Mr. Antonio Rodriguez:

You complained of too much soap in your room and so I sent him withdraw everything. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing, and I personally took care of Camay restore the 24 that had been removed and the 3 that correspond daily. Nothing is a normal size soap, this hotel is not that type of soap used because it would be too wasteful, besides being unhygienic customers to share pill. In return I left three jars of shower gel I have left in your medicine cabinet. Apparently the maid Kathy did not know he had personally led the 27 Camay and she led him to the other room 24 Camay and 3 that correspond daily. I hope that no more reason for further complaint.
Elaine Carmen. Reception.

Dear Miss Carmen.:

I short note to update you on my latest soap inventory. Today I have in my possession:
On the shelf in the bathroom: 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and a pile 2.
Above the Kleenex dispenser: 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and a pile 3.
On the shelf of the closet: 3 jars of bath gel; 1 pile 4 and 3 Camay Camay.
Inside the medicine cabinet 12 Camay in 3 stacks of 4.
In the shower soap dish: 6 Camay quasi-soup turned into soap.
In the northwest corner of the tub: a bottle of bath gel medium used.
In the northeast corner of tub: 6 Camay in 2 stacks 3.
Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure to remove dust and piles of soap that leaves them well-ordered. Also tell if the stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to fall. Could I suggest that future soap deliveries stored in the window frame? In my humble opinion it is an ideal site and yet unused.

One more thing, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which daily in the hotel safe.
Mr. Antonio Rodriguez

As you see there to serve the customer you know and understand what you want, before doing anything else.

How to start a lean project? Step 1

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