Go With The (Single Piece) Flow

Working with small businesses I explain the concept of single piece flow and most of the time they don’t they need it. So I show them this example:

If you wanted to write these sentences:

See Spot. See Spot run. Run Spot run.

If you were to do a batch and process you would type this way:
1) seespotseespotrunrunspotrun – Put all the letters together
2) seespot.seespotrun.runspotrun – Add punctuation
3) see spot. see spot run. run spot run. – Add spacing
4) See Spot. See Spot run. Run Spot run. – Add capitalization

How many of you write like that? But the reality is that we run businesses this way. In manufacturing we will assemble 1 piece on 100 units then we will assemble the 2nd piece then the 3rd. In a medical clinic we bring in enough patients to fill in all the rooms. The nurse will see all of the patients then the doctor will make his/her rounds.

Single piece flow is finishing as you go. Finish 1 unit completely before moving to the next. Make the patients and products flow where you are finishing as you go. In a doctor’s office would not bring in another patient until the doctor is almost done with the previous patient and the nurse can start.

For a small business try entering expenses into your account software as soon as it occurs instead of waiting till they pile up. This way you aren’t batching all of your record keeping and you have timely information about your spending.

How you use single piece flow in your lives or businesses?

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