Kaizen Foam… or workshop hiatus part 2.

When I set up my workshop in O’Connor I was given an incredible blank canvas. There was ample space, incredible natural light, and a wonderful sense of place. It was a dream come true to build my business there. 

One of the early jobs in setting up my workshop was organising all my tools. I used the Kaizen Foam approach of neatly cutting out the shape of each and every tool, so they could be logically organised in my tool draws – “a place for everything, and everything in its place”. It was a lot of work to set up, but the work paid off over time in terms of workflow efficiency as well as “head space” benefits. Having my workshop neatly organised made it a very enjoyable place to work. I found that this setup helped minimise frustrations and allowed me to get straight into “the flow”. However, one drawback of the Kaizen approach is that over time you acquired new tools, and these new tools don’t really fit in the existing setup. And sometimes the tools you have are not really that useful anymore. You can try to squeeze them in, or even relocate them in a secondary toolbox. However, at a certain point in time it is easier to just pull out the existing setup and start again with a completely new layout. It’s a tedious job, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Recently I decided that the thing that really needed changing in my workshop was not my tool drawers, but the workshop premises itself.  To be blunt, the factory unit was simply too large for my needs and it had become less conducive to the Zen-inspired work environment I wanted. I’ve become dependant on sub-letting half the premises to make it viable. Over seven years, we’ve had five subtenants to share the premises. Also, I could see that I had fallen into a trap of “hoarding” too much stuff, because the was space available.

Recently my partner and I sold the O’Connor workshop after placing it on the market a month earlier. I didn’t want to say anything at the time because I didn’t know how it would go. For obvious reasons this has thrown a spanner in the works of the day to day operations of the business. I stopped taking on new work in mid-March and have managed to clear most of my backlog. Currently I have a couple of weeks worth of work from jobs I was waiting on parts. However until I’ve relocated to a new premises, I’ve had to put a pause on new work. It’s going to take time to clear out my current workshop, and it’s going to take time to fitout a new place.

At the moment I’m going through a period of hiatus while I get everything sorted out. If I can make one assertion however, it is that this is not a “down-sizing” of Melody Wheels. It’s more of an intermission. The online shop at bicyclespokes.com.au will continue running as per normal. I’m not 100% sure when I’ll reopen, but look forward to continuing with the work that I started 10 years ago.


Featured image credit: zouchconverters