Back in the days when I was working in Ecuador, I had a lot of time on my hands during weekends. With no family and very little friends around, I spend those days between two of my favorite hobbies: photography and reading. I do not remember exactly how it was, but the book Gemba Kaizen from Masaaki Imai was on my hands and I start reading it. I was wondering if such a thing as lean manufacturing exists or if it was just another pitfall to take money from companies already in trouble.
I was not looking for a job but when I received a call from my hometown in Puerto Rico to work as Process Engineer just fifteen minutes away from my house, I could not believe how lucky I was. After a phone interview, I was invited to the company for an interview in person and it was right there when all my enthusiasm for coming back home was smashed with a simple question: What is Lean Manufacturing?
I was trying to squeeze my brain to remember the exact words from the book I was reading two weeks ago to be able to give a firm answer that would make my interviewer believe that I knew something about it. I am not a good liar so I decided to tell the truth, that I start reading about it but I never work with it and I have no idea how to implement it. Being an industrial engineer and quality practitioner, I had strong ideas and skills about continuous improvement so I talked about how all those skills, my taste for challenges and being autodidact would help me to learn and implement Lean. I got the job, I guess that the mix between my passion for learn new things and make a difference along with my honesty impressed my former boss enough to give me the chance.
That happened a little more than ten years ago, the minute I signed my acceptance letter, my lean manufacturing journey begun. Still, I have no clue how each new training or event would be if I will be successful in changing people’s way of thinking and act; but I keep doing it with more or less success. I do not pretend to be a teacher to nobody, through this posts I just want to share my experiences hoping that I will help somebody; and also my questions and doubts hoping that somebody out there helps me.