By Jon Miller | Post Date: March 23, 2008 11:12 PM | Comments: 4
The article 50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls on the The Life Hackery website complies a list of dozens of creative things you can do with tennis balls. I carry a tennis ball in my computer bag as a stress relieving tool. If you see a man in an airport with his back against the wall squirming against the wall with a tennis ball on his back, that might be me rubbing out the tension from long flights.
These 50 ideas are great as a way to help people see how creative you can be when doing kaizen. A tennis ball is an everyday thing that is not hard to come by, yet we can find many unexpected uses for them. Most of these 50 uses are cheaper and arguably just as effective as the standard engineered solution. They may be "quick and dirty" fixes but they work. The added benefits of the tennis-ball-as-masseuse are immediate availability, zero cost after initial investment and no funny looks from clients for having "massage" on your hotel bill.
Reading this list a number of Toyota Production System applications of tennis balls came to mind. First is the tennis ball andon. Instead of a fancy system of lights to indicate problems with equipment or production lines, how about raising a pole (broom stick?) with a tennis ball attached to one end? It's a visual, unambiguous sign that there is a problem (unless of course you happen to be in a tennis ball factory...). Another idea is to experiment with tennis ball kanban. For simple signaling from upstream and downstream within a process you could use two colors to indicate withdrawal or production kanban. Tennis balls could be used as simple guards on sharp edges or corners, on a temporary basis. The bright yellow color could also be a visual alert for a temporary safety measure. For quick equipment moves of tables or light equipment without wheels, cutting tennis balls in half and using them as feet might reduce friction and help them slide into position. This is a hypothesis and merits some trying.
What other ways can you think of to use tennis balls to help your TPS implementation?
I recommend taking a copy of the Life Hackery article and a couple of tubes of tennis balls to your next kaizen or team-based problem solving exercise and challenging people to come up with 50 practical every day uses of tennis balls that are cheaper and better. Then study the thinking behind these ideas and apply the same thought process to making improvements in your workplace or your life.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.