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Everyone, of course, knows what a stopwatch is.

They may not, though, understand why someone is standing over them with one. In a Lean company, processes are based on facts and data. One of those facts is the time it takes to accomplish a task.

Unfortunately, people who are highly resistant to being observed will likely never become accustomed to seeing someone standing over them with a stopwatch. For most people, though, the timer can take a few simple actions to make being timed easier.

  1. Try to have the timing done by a peer rather than a supervisor.
  2. Make sure the person being timed has a warning in advance, rather than just having someone show up.
  3. Explain the purpose behind the stopwatch. Most likely it will be for an improvement project or to document a standard process.
  4. Show them the results.
  5. Ask for volunteers, if possible.
  6. Time several different people.
  7. Don’t compare times. The exception is when it is the process being compared rather than the person.

When buying a stopwatch, look for a rugged one that will take a beating. Also, consider one that tracks seconds only. It makes for easy addition and subtraction of time. Finally, make use of the lap timer to record times if a partner is not available to write times down for you.

View our selection of stopwatches and other measuring devices in our Lean Store.

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