The Project Box [Guest Post]

by Donald Sweigart on 11-22-11

Guest Post: Donald Sweigart worked with “The Body Shop @” which developed the “Star-Link Certified” Lean business model improving Profitability, CSI, and Cycle Time in the Collision Repair Industry. This model is now licensed by a Fortune 100 in it’s Industry-wide Lean Training. His passion is implementing Lean solutions in industry.

A project box is a great tool that you can use to help get projects done quickly,safely and without interrupting other peoples work.

Have you ever been to Home Depot on a Saturday? Of course you have, and how many times were you back there on Sunday to get something you forgot so you can finish the project? I know I have done that more than once, sometimes I even see the same people in line that were there Saturday. After I thought about that I started to use my own project box whenever I am doing any project now.

There are a lot of times that you need to go out to the Gemba and do something. Sometimes we get in a hurry and think we can just go out and do something quick and that’s one more thing off my to do list. Sometimes though this can cause a great deal of problems if you do not plan ahead. Interruptions and distractions affect people especially if they have a complex operation to perform. Interruptions can cause a loss of focus which can lead to mistakes or errors or injuries. You have to be mindful of this before starting your project. Thinking through all of the things that you will be doing and also making sure you will have all the tools to get the job done will help you be successful. It’s also a good idea to go to anyone in the area first and ask if you can get in there now and also explain everything that you will be doing quickly.

A project box fills many needs. It assures safety because you won’t leave anything on the floor when you are done. It helps you focus on gathering the required tools and supplies to complete your project. It keeps all your supplies out of the way of any workers so that they are not interrupted. It maintains safety by assuring that nothing gets into any machines that it shouldn’t get into. It sets a great example that shows people that you respect what they are doing and are really aware that no one likes to be interrupted when they are focused on a task. It makes it easy to keep track of your supplies and tools so that you don’t lose any of them and create an un-safe workplace. The box itself should not create any hazards either. Make sure it isn’t in anyone’s way while you are working.

What makes a good project box?

Anything that carries everything you need will work just fine. It can be a 2 x 3 cardboard box or a rolling cart. If it can keep all your tools and supplies in one place then it will work.

What should be in it? You have to have everything you need for your project obviously. A backup marker or paper supply is good to have. You also want to have anything you need to clean up after yourself. You can use the box to store your waste while you are working so you don’t have to get into anyone else’s way while you are out on the floor.

The project box itself is just a tool but as you can see there are so many more things that it actually does. It show’s respect for people through safety and by having everything you need without bothering anyone. It helps you focus on the task at hand. It will save you time. It guides you to think deeply about what you are doing. It shows everyone a good way to approach any task, even home repair. It can also become part of your standard work which means it will be improved at some point.