Take It To The Top: Back to Bishkek and lean team dynamics

No messages from the Take It To The Top VICE Expedition team today, but Google Earth shows they're traveling back to Bishkek.

Google Earth image indicates Take It To The Top team's location

In the above image, they're the blue dot to the far left. The itinerary shows they're taking a public bus back to Bishkek after their helicopter ride to Maida Adyr and subsequent private 4x4 transport from there to Karakol.

Once back in Bishkek, the team plans to explore the city and surrounding area.

Division of labor in lean engineering and mountaineering

The last post discussed the value of support in both climbing and medical device manufacturing.

Today, we'll look at another lean principle as it applies to mountaineering and medical device manufacturing and engineering: division of labor.

One lean engineering and manufacturing principle involves playing to each team member's strengths to create a more successful product or service, while saving time and money. Companies that implement this lean practice recognize the individual contributions of each employee, and, rather than forcing employees into unnatural roles, allows them to contribute most in the area where they are strongest.

Of course, employees are cross-trained under the lean manufacturing model, but companies benefit by maximizing individual strengths to make employees happier and more productive.

One answer on YoExpert.com to a question about lean thinking describes the principle perfectly:

Companies strive to place each employee in the best suited position. This will increase productivity, because every employee is able to use his full capabilities and complete their jobs thoroughly and accurately.

KMC Systems mechanical engineer and VICE team member Austin Lines relates this to his climbing team and his position at KMC:

Sharing of knowledge and division of labor is important in medical device design engineering. Everyone’s good at everything, but we divvy up specialties so we can call on those people instead of each person learning everything. When it comes to material choices, Neil has a lot of knowledge about plastics – specialized knowledge to pick appropriate composites - while Eric specializes in fluids. 

It's similar to climbing. There are definitely some people who are better at rock climbing than ice climbing, and some who are really good at ice or feel more comfortable in snow climbing. When we swing leads we can judge who should lead based on the terrain.

Whether mountaineering or engineering, lean is a team effort that improves productivity and performance.

Take It To The Top: Medical Manufacturing & Mountaineering

KMC Systems medical device contract design, manufacturing and support engineers Take It To The Top - of medical engineering and mountains! As mechanical engineer Austin Lines takes it to the top of an unsummited mountain, his fellow engineers take your medical device to the top of ISO 13485 and FDA medical equipment standards while saving you time and money through our KMC360® program. For more information, download our KMC360® Brochure.

Topics: KMC360, KMC Systems, medical device lean manufacturing, lean medical device manufacturing, Take It To The Top, VICE Expedition