Quote of the day—Barb L.

It will be glorious!

Barb L.
March 31, 2021
[Last Friday I took the day off from work and drove to Idaho to purchase something for Boomershoot. It was delivered and installed on Monday.

It will primarily affect some of the staff making their jobs easier. It’s amazing how you do something a particular way for years never realizing how much faster, easier, and just smarter a simple change will make to your work flow.

For example, for years we made the reactive targets on a folding table (or two). Our backs hurt from bending over the tables for hours. Then one day either Ry or I realized we could put concrete blocks under the table legs and raise the table top up to a height that allowed the target makers to stand straight. Wow! Why did it take so long to think of such a simple improvement?

Another example. For the first couple of Boomershoot events the targets were placed directly on the ground. Even though the grass wasn’t very tall you couldn’t find the target from 300+ yards away. And at the end of the event we couldn’t find them as we walked the field looking for the left overs. Leaving explosives around is almost certainly frowned upon by the ATF and the neighbors. We tried double stick tape to attach them to stakes. It rained that year and the wet stakes were not stickable. The next year we make somewhat elaborate target stands out of milk cartons which were stapled to the stakes (scroll down to the fourth picture). They were time consuming to make, the staples tended to pull out, the targets would be blasted off the little stands by nearby detonations and it was hard for shooters to distinguish the target from the target stand. Finally, I realized a single #64 rubber band to hold a target on a stake worked great. It was cheap, quick, and easy to attach a target.

Those are just two of many things we have made dramatic improvements in the work flow and experience of the participants that were “obvious” in hindsight. And so it is with the latest improvement. It is a bit on the expensive side but the Biden/Harris administration (ironic, huh?) was a big help.

I’m not going to spoil the surprise for staff, but it’s going to make event setup and breakdown/cleanup a whole lot easier. Barb is correct, “It will be glorious!”—Joe]


3 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Barb L.

  1. I have no idea how many hours I’ve wrestled with two pretty basic concepts: “Is there a way to improve this process?” and “If so, how simply can it be accomplished?”

    • The interesting thing about this particular innovation is that I didn’t think of it while trying to improve the process. I thought of it because of a problem completely unrelated to this. The other problem was that the ATF regulations could be interpreted as meaning I was out of compliance on something. The solution to that potential problem, with a very minor tweak, resulted in a massive improvement in staff work flow during setup and breakdown/cleanup.

      I discovered and solved a problem I didn’t even know we had while trying to solve a potential problem in a completely different domain.

      It’s one of those things where you have to just roll your eyes and shake your head as you tell yourself you’re a dunce.

      • Which ties in to something else I’ve struggled with: “What is it we’re really trying to do here?”

        It’s not a complete solution by any means, but I’ve found a holistic approach to be beneficial; what goes on between the entry and exit doors is, as always, composed of individual steps, some of which are integral, some dependent, some related, some ancillary, and, often a few “just because,” and occasionally taking a 40,000 foot view helps in figuring out what precisely each of those steps do and why each of those steps exists and, just as important, how is each step performed.

        Example: One specific operation – which was performed 300+ times/day – was sped up by about 18% simply by moving a left-handed operator into that position. The tooling, product flow and related process, was redesigned to achieve a greater than 18% improvement for both right- and left-handed operators, but swapping Sally for Brad confirmed that change was required.

        Interesting thing about Continuous Flow Production – as one component is improved it immediately identifies others that need improvement; what was “just fine” last week has become the new choke point. The improvement process never stops and it will keep you awake at night.

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