On July 15th, 80 local, state and regional youth of the year winners across the country attended the Advanced Leadership Institute conference at Emory University in Atlanta GA.
TFS’s Operational Excellence team held two sessions where they put the youth through a Toyota Production System (TPS) exercise that taught them the basics of TPS and kaizen, which is the philosophy of continuous improvement.
Each session consisted of teams working through three rounds of exercises where they packed food into boxes for a local food bank. In the first round, teams were asked to fill boxes but given no specific instructions. The kids were excited but disorganized; it was controlled chaos and as expected there was very little consistency or efficiency to the packing.
After the first round, teams were taught how to use kaizen methods to pack the boxes more efficiently and watched a video of TPS in action in response to Super Storm Sandy. The students were then given a second chance to pack the boxes with more instruction and time to plan. Their second try was very successful and by the third round the students were experts and extremely efficient.
At the end of the day the students learned how TPS/kaizen methods can improve a process not only for a job, but how to utilize the concepts for problem solving in real life situations.
The event wrapped up with the students loading the food boxes into a truck to be delivered to a local shelter called 7 Bridges to Recovery, a local home for homeless women and children.