Posted by: knightbird | September 1, 2010

Motion Analysis for Athletes

Conventional wisdom is, according to my pitching mentor, not conventional. This is also true in the world of Lean. One of the tools used to overcome conventional wisdom about pitching mechanics is motion analysis. A pitcher is hooked up with sensors and the information sent to a computer that analyzes the motion. Some amazing insights come from this motion analysis. The one that helps my pitchers tremendously has to do with how the glove hand moves during the throwing motion. By having our pitchers turn their glove hand and basically neutral to their target, they become more accurate. Conventional wisdom tells the pitcher to pull their glove hand to their body. Motion analysis helps demonstrate how this dissipates energy in a way that removed the arm from accurately hitting a target.

Well, motion analysis has come to lean as a tool to assist in removing waste in manufacturing.  In a column at www.lean.org, Nexteer Automotive is reported as using the Dartfish motion analysis software to understand movement on the factory floor. In one example, they were able to record a defective motion by an employee who “got it” immediately. In another example, the software rewarded them with a 13% per shift increase in production.

The creative leap that took this technology to the family floor came from the father of a figure skater who brought it to Nexteer, and a receptive Executive staff. Thinking is a lean tool. Today, our “Ideas” team will be putting the final program together for encouraging employees to come forward with their creative thinking, and allow us to track it. Our initiative is based upon the incredible success Mitsubishi talked about for their ideas program at the 2010 TWI Summit.

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