The Secret of 2 Second Lean

Recently I had the unique and amazing experience of spending a few days with Paul Akers at a client site – to both learn and understand how to implement 2-Second Lean.

Paul Akers is an amazing high intensity individual, passionate about what he does, his life and business is all about lean – and it’s a fantastic story. Paul is an author, innovator, TEDx talker, international speaker and award-winning business owner. His business Fastcap has been implementing 2-Second Lean for over 10 years.

More importantly is what he has achieved in business. From a 4,500 sqm factory in Washington state implementing 2 -second lean and just-in-time manufacturing to give a 2 x hr ‘fax-to-truck’ delivery time, and increasing productivity year on year to deliver only 3 price increases in 20 years – delivering exceptional value to the customer (a distinctive competitive advantage).

If you are serious about increasing profits by reducing inventory, reducing waste and increasing quality, then read on – it will change your life.


Lean Implementation

Traditional lean as taught in industry tends to be very technical and complex. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject and thousands of consultants pitch their own angle on “implementing lean” successfully.

But what I have found with clients that have hired some of these so called “experts” in lean implementation, is that it is too slow, too complex and too dry, and generally coupled with a fly-in, fly out visit every month from the consultant. It just does not get traction in the workplace and people lose interest. As a result many if not most companies attempting to become lean fail to make the transition.

Paul takes another angle in 2-Second Lean. It’s the perfect solution for companies looking for a simple and fun way to become lean and grow people. The following is an outline of the 2-Second lean operating system that delivers continuous improvement (Kaizen) practiced at Paul’s company FastCap.

The whole idea of lean fails and has zero power to transform an organisation when the front-line operator is denied empowerment. But Paul found a way to do it. And for the small- to mid-sized organizations with a DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude, 2-Second Lean is awesome.

“You can make one small, tiny improvement every day for the rest of your life, and completely transform your life, and your organisation and everybody in it”. Paul Akers 

Instead of complicated jargon, flowcharts, and teachings, Paul made lean simple.

  • He makes everything about waste–muda (and the 8 wastes), muri, and mura–as simple as “fix what bugs you.”
  • He took 5S–a workplace organisation and efficiency strategy–and reduced it down to just 3S’s.
  • He ditched “kaizen events” and taught his people to make a 2-second improvement every day (hence 2 Second Lean).
  • He made it all sustainable and easy with an engaging daily morning meeting.
  • And on top of all that, he discovered the surprising effectiveness of using video to empower employees and massively accelerate results.

The 1st Step is to Teach Everyone To See Waste

Traditional lean teaches waste in the form of three Japanese words: muri, mura, and muda. Muda then breaks down into the “eight wastes of lean” that you may already be familiar with.

  1. Over-production
  2. Over-processing
  3. Transportation
  4. Motion
  5. Inventory
  6. Defects
  7. Waiting
  8. Unused employee genius

Lean thinkers can see waste and systematically eliminate it in every process, in everything they do every day.

FastCap reviews and reinforces each of the eight wastes every day in the daily meeting. There’s not a single employee in the company that doesn’t know each of the wastes by heart.

Paul teaches that learning to see waste is so important because you can’t eliminate waste if you can’t see it.

So everyone learns and understands the eight wastes. Employees even take turns in each daily meeting to tell a story incorporating the wastes.

The lean operating system practiced at Paul’s company FastCap and preached in his book 2-Second Lean follows these 5 Steps:

  1. Start Daily Meetings To Grow People and Build Culture
  2. Perform 3S Everyday
  3. Teach Everyone To See Waste
  4. Make Before & After Videos Of Improvements
  5. Give Tours and Practice Generosity Towards Others

2-Second Lean is perhaps the best thing that ever happened for the small business owner or leader that just wants to grow people and run a healthy and profitable organization.

Need more information on 2-Second lean or implementing 2-Second lean in your business, give us a call.

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