If you haven’t followed my advice and moseyed on over to Slate.com to read the online newsmag’s operations series,  bookmark me and make haste. Writer Seth Stevenson over the past couple weeks has turned out a great batch of pieces on operations success stories that, while a bit elementary for your average ops vet, are a reminder that simplicity breeds success. His latest piece – the result of a call-out to readers – is the best yet, sharing process improvement success stories in our daily lives.

Based on the theme of the piece, the grocery store appears to be a major problem – sorry: opportunity – for many of us. Like many processes, the chances for variation between that initial opening of the automatic doors and the final bag during check-out are myriad. As a writer with little to no exposure to the ops world before joining the Center for Operational Excellence, I’ve found myself making changes in that process. Coupons are organized in the order of where I’ll see the product on my route, and the shopping list itself gets the same treatment. 

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping can provide plenty of stress but provides plenty of opportunities to go lean

Some grocery shopping frustrations remain: The deli counter still takes forever, a sign I should follow one Slate reader’s advice to drop off the order and pick it up at the end of the trip.

Opportunities like these in daily life are everywhere, and I’d like to hear yours. Where have you gone lean outside of the office in an effort to find a few more precious minutes to spend while off the clock?



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