I’m a word person. You know the type, always evaluating the way ideas are conveyed through language. I’m not the obnoxious type of word person in that I don’t see it as my mission to correct the speech of others but I do enjoy learning the lingo of the particular shop or officein which I’m working. It’s not justthe technical lexicon that interests me, I like to learn the slang.

Working on the shop floor earlier today, I was pointing out the tremendous amount of space being occupied by a recently arrived bulk shipment of raw material. In this case it was fabric, tons of the stuff. In my quest to teach the managers to think differently about waste, we were walking around the fabric discussing what we could do with all this space and the time it takes people to move it around. That’s when it happened. A new word (phrase) entered my shop floor vocabulary:

Heave-ho load – an excessively large shipment of material; a shipment large enough to supply operations for weeks or months.

The manager’s response to the point I made about waste was: “But this stuff arrives in a heave-ho load and we don’t have anywhere else to put it”. What a colorful but pointed way to say it. Obviously one of my missions here will be to examine order quantity, but back to the words for now.

Over the years I’ve heard hundreds of hyphenated shop floorisms and they never cease to amaze me relative how well they make the point. Gemba is definitely the place to learn a new phrase or two, which provokes an idea. Why don’t I put this in a blog and ask others to contribute some of their own amusing shop floorisms? So how ’bout it, click on the response button and add your own. Keep ’em clean and keep ’em coming, I’m sure we could all benefit from expanding our shop floor vocabularies.

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