Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
WIND TURBINE KAIZEN FOR CLEVELAND FOUNDATION & NEO
Submitted by Jeff Buster on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 21:46.
WIND TURBINE KAIZEN FOR CLEVELAND FOUNDATION
Kaizen is the name of the book and the name of the manufacturing philosophy developed by Masaaki Imai of Japan. Kaizen, the manufacturing philosophy, is known by names such as “lean” manufacturing and “just in time” manufacturing but only when you read the tenants of the philosophy is its simplicity recognized as its genius.
One of the tenants, as I read it, is that to understand a problem in a manufacturing process, the manager must physically go to where the problem is. For example, if a cutting tool is problematically breaking on a lathe, or dulling too quickly, the manager must go on to the floor of the shop where the lathe is operating, and view and work with the lathe problem first hand. If the problem is in another city, or in another country, the manager must travel there to engage the problem up close and personal.
When I read this directive it struck me as very similar to Joseph Bronowski’s statement in The Ascent of Man http://www.elegant-technology.com/ETfourN.html that “the hand drives the mind”. I interpret the “hand drives the mind” to mean that one of the best ways to get good ideas is to just go out and do the task that you aren’t sure how to do…as soon as you start digging your mind begins to think of other ways to do the task which are more efficient, produce better looking results, etc. For example, you can think about how you will change the flat tire on your car, but you will never think of all the steps necessary just sitting in your chair. If you just go out in the driveway, and begin the task, you will discover steps which you didn’t realize where necessary, and if you change the tire several times you will improve your performance much more rapidly than if you sat inside in your chair and attempted to intellectualize improvements.
Kaizen is the same. By physically going to the location where the challenge is, your “hands will drive your mind”.
The Cleveland Foundation’s Ron Richard is advocating installing wind turbines on Lake Erie as a first step for NEO to enter the wind business. I encourage Mr. Richard and Mr. Stuebi to go to wind farms – the one in the photo above is just west of Palm Springs - and become experienced first hand with the problems of on shore and off shore installations.
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