So far I have been very appreciative of all the feedback and support that this blog has gotten! Already people have made useful questions and requests for future posts! An core goal of the lean methodologies is to satisfy customers, especially through direct market feedback! So thanks everyone and feel free to give me feedback here or on my new Facebook Group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/435470066631192/
So on to the post! Learning to See is actually the title of a lean book that describes the methods of Value Stream Mapping, or VSM. Before I describe what Values Steam Mapping is, however, I want to talk more about the title of the book. Learning to See… “Learning to See What?” You might ask. We are looking for Waste, or Muda in Japanese. The idea is that there are wastes and inefficiencies all throughout our processes, we are either too complacent or aren’t trained properly to identify them. And sometimes identifying the waste or problem is harder than solving the problem itself. So once you are trained on this methodology you can quickly start targeting areas for improvement and implementing solutions. Think about when an entire team or factory trained like this they will be able to generate great momentum towards improvements!
The same thing has happened to me in my journey into healthier foods. When you go shopping you typically pick up the foods that are normal to your personal process, and rarely do you see anything wrong with that. Now that I have been trained on raw foods, real foods, whole foods, unprocessed foods it is like I am going through the grocery store with a different set of eyes. When I walk through the aisles it is like all the unhealthy foods are blurred out to me, and I can hone in on the good stuff. Its an amazing paradigm shift when you start to think of food that does not serve you truly as “waste.” Without all that waste and clutter I can really focus on what is important in serving my body to make it function at peak performance.
For example, the thing that inspired me to write this post was that I was shopping at BJ’s Wholesale club for the first time in a while. I was picking up some stuff for a picnic, and thought I would scrounge around and see if I can find any of my real foods that I want in my life. See in the pictures what I found!
I found organic coconut oil for $11.99 for a 36 oz container, at Whole Foods I get a 16 oz container for $10! I found organic salad greens and organic chia seeds which is great! I also found nitrite free bacon, at $2 less per lb than Whole Foods’ price! And these are a few of the core staples of my diet now, and now I can get some decent bulk pricing. That’s pretty exciting for me at least! I think this is huge considering the fact that a lot of people see the costs of health foods as a barrier to entry, and the other barrier is that logistically you don’t know where to get it if you aren’t near a Whole Foods. Even the local Stop and Shop and Big Y’s have increasingly growing “healthy foods” sections, which are also giving more competition to Whole Foods space.
So that got me thinking, why are general grocery stores stocking these healthier items now? They have no incentive to start selling these unless they have an opportunity for a profit, or that there is a big enough market for them to move in on. They haven’t even made big splashes in the press the way Chipotle, Panera, Chick-Fil-A, or any other fast food place is doing to market some big new health improvement in their menu. So really what must be happening is that we have a lot of people that have “learned to see” and it is influencing the the neighborhood grocery centers around us! And like I said as we get more people trained on seeing we are going to have a lot of organic growth (pun intended) in these areas! So definitely keep your eyes open for improvements all around you!
I’ll have to cover the rest of Value Stream Mapping in another post! Stay tuned! Thanks for reading.