Recently I blogged about the subject of Lean vs. Thrifty.  In the blog, I mentioned lean isn’t the same thing as thrifty.

Part of our brand promise is to be organized.  I would argue being organized is 100% lean.

We prepare in advance, so when a meeting or task starts, we are organized.  We prepare for things before they happen.  We know the meeting assignments and complete them in advance of the meetings. We know what material, tools, manpower, and information is necessary to complete a task and have them in place before we start a task.

We ask questions, so we know what is expected of us.  Gathering information about what needs to be done helps us understand the needs of our customers. To get to on-time delivery of the project in front of us mean we need to be organized and ask questions and research our tasks.

We stay engaged, so we understand what needs to be done so we can stay organized. At Willmar Electric, we are active participants in the process.  We go beyond asking questions of others.  We share what we know with the people involved.  We look for pitfuls to eliminate excuses and roadblocks for everybody involved in the task or project.

Being good teammates means having respect to stay engaged.  We like it when others stay engaged, so we also need to treat them with the respect we expect.

We coordinate with others around us both internally and externally, so the entire project is organized.  We don’t want to be left out of the loop, so we don’t leave others out.  We think staying engaged lines up with our core value of treating others the way we want to be treated.

When we lose focus or don’t pay attention during meetings, we become disorganized and make others repeat themselves, or we lose out on some of the details we need to complete our work.

Our training program is part of being organized.  We train, so people will be in a better position to perform work in an organized way.  Before the task began, we work to make sure people understand what needs to be done and why.

When properly trained and laid out, a person can do their tasks in an organized fashion.  It allows for a safe and productive workplace.  It allows for individuals to have greater job satisfaction because they understood what was expected of them and if they met those expectations.

Being organized shows up at Willmar Electric in many ways.

When somebody within the team invents a useful idea for keeping themselves organized, they share the idea with everybody.  For example, you will see nearly everybody at Willmar Electric uses a written to-do list.  We use reminders and calendars to make sure our tasks get done on-time and to keep things from falling through the cracks.

We try to make sure things are as standardized as possible, so people don’t feel like every project they work on is a unique situation.  All our projects utilize a standard material handling system.  The material is customized to fit the project, but getting material and ordering material is the same.