It all started when...
Lean manufacturing was introduced to us by one of our best customers as part of their supply chain development program. In order to learn more, we read a ton of books and were inspired by what we learned. Shortly after, we decided to visit Japan to tour factories that operate using lean business practices (an annual tradition we continue today).
True to our DNA, we returned home from our first trip and immediately took action. We trained the 7 wastes, made kaizen newspapers and "5 S'd" some work areas, but we didn't feel like we made enough of an improvement. Even worse, we soon found ourselves falling back into some of our old habits. In hindsight, we didn't understand the thinking behind the tools, and we certainly didn't know how to lead the change to this new way of thinking. So, we went back to Japan several times, bringing many of our colleagues along to see if we could figure things out together.
As our thinking started to mature, our focus started to turn away from tools and toward creating a sustainable culture. Unbeknownst to us, we were actually making significant progress in the midst of all of our stumbling through our implementation. Somehow, word got out in the world of "lean", and we started fielding tour requests from organizations from around the world on an almost daily basis. While we weren't sure why people kept coming, we were happy they did and we learned a lot from the questions and observations we encountered along the way. Due to the growth in these requests, we ultimately agreed that we could only continue tours if we found a way to standardize the tour offer and involve more Kaas team members in the process. "Waste Tours" were born of this agreement.
We have been truly blessed to serve over 30,000 guests during our "Waste tours" throughout the years and have been fortunate to meet people from all over the world in the process. We have seen, firsthand, what can happen when a leadership team "gets it" and we are inspired to continue lending a hand to those who want our help.