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Water Spiders Video

  • Water Spiders can make your manufacturing breathlessly insanely fast. Find out more about this brilliant Lean strategy and use it to your advantage.
  • The term Water Spider actually gets its name from the Whirligig Beetle shown here. Water Spider is a funny term, but understanding what Water Spiders are and using them at your company can mean serious improvements.
  • The Whirligig Beetle is known for being a very fast swimmer and they are also notable for their divided eyes which can see both above and below water.
  • So the lean term water spider means a person who is responsible for performing a wide range of tasks which allows workers to perform "value-added" tasks without distraction.
  • During a surgery, all of the attendants that assist the surgeon are a lot like water spiders.
  • They allow the surgeon to perform the value added tasks without distraction. Water Spiders can be used in a similar way at your company.
  • If production workers who actually add value to the product are forced to find their own parts, tools, supplies, or paperwork, they will be distracted from their real work which is adding value to the customer and they will be performing non value added tasks.
  • When workers are not adding value, they are not being productive, therefore productivity drops.
  • Many people consider the water spider to be only a material handler, but in actuality the water spider must be a multi skilled and well-trained person.
  • A Water spider is responsible for making the rounds and supplying parts to all production workers that need them.
  • When a changeover is needed on a machine or on a production or assembly line, they assist with that changeover making it as fast and smooth as possible.
  • They also provide tools and materials to the production workers.
  • And they provide any additional help needed to maintain Standard Work and to keep the flow going.
  • The water spider has a routine and knows all processes thoroughly enough to step in if needed.
  • At Toyota, performing the role of a water spider is a prerequisite for supervision and management positions.
  • So how can water spiders benefit your company?
  • Water spiders will allow your direct labor employees to focus their attention on producing a quality product quickly without distractions.
  • Production workers will be able to focus solely on adding value to the product and no longer be performing non-value added activities.
  • Production workers will be able to produce at a much higher rate.
  • Driving more dollars to the bottom line for a happier healthier company.
  • Your productivity before water spiders may have looked like this but after you implement water spiders, it will look like this.
  • Increased productivity shortens lead times which will make everyone happy.
  • And your throughput will increase dramatically.
  • Customers are always happy when their lead times are decreased, quality is increased and costs are lowered. They will also be able to recognize the lack of waste on your shop floor.

Do you want your business to be breathlessly insanely fast? What more could you ask for in a Lean tool? Water spiders may be considered to be overhead, but they will be the best overhead you have ever spent! At Xtreme Lean, we love helping small to medium size companies thrive through training employees and implementing Lean solutions. Please contact us and let us know how we can help your business today!


About the author:

Jeff Hofstetter

Jeff Hofstetter Jeff is the President of Xtreme Lean Consulting with over 24 years of experience in Lean and Six Sigma Consulting. Jeff is a results-driven, decisive leader with a proven track record of initiating time and cost-saving operational improvements while leading diverse teams to strong, sustainable performance gains. Skilled mentor and coach with a hands-on, positive approach to resource management, leadership development, and training.

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