Eliminate COVID-19 transmission vectors when getting back to work using a new system based on trusted manufacturing principles.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, our team at Indow adapted Lean manufacturing efficiency principles in an innovative way. By changing the way we think about our work spaces and developing new systems thinking, we’re eliminating disease transmission vectors so everyone can return to work safely. The practice Indow’s team developed – which we’ve dubbed “Clean” after “Lean” manufacturing – provides a template for organizations to rapidly and effectively reduce the risk of illness transmission to employees and customers.

We will hold another free webinar on Thursday, May 7. But anyone can go to cleanpractice.org and begin using this free new systems thinking to:

  • Create a COVID-19 response plan for your organization.
  • Lead plan implementation.
  • Lead a Clean Gemba Walk.
  • Identify and Implement Engineered Solutions.

The benefits of Clean Practice are analogous to social distancing – reduced opportunities for the virus to spread as we start getting back to work. We began developing this in early March, with the then-largest U.S. outbreak of COVID-19 in Seattle just 170 miles north of our company’s Portland, Oregon factory. While the marketing department could work from home, those who make our window inserts by hand could not. To keep those employees safe, we needed to create an environment free of transmission vectors. It required us to change the way we think.

Indow added hooks above doors to eliminate the transmission vector of door knobs.
Indow added hooks above doors to eliminate the transmission vector of door knobs.

Drawing from the Lean practice of “Visual Factory,” our team divided the 20,000 square foot facility into zones and placed brightly colored stickers at high hand traffic “touchpoints” like light switches and doorknobs. We appointed zone captains who created a cleaning schedule that required every person in the organization to cover one shift in each zone. The result: a system that effectively cleans all high-touch areas on a regular basis, with the responsibility for work distributed across the staff.

Clean incorporates continuous improvement. We’ve gone on to remove doorknobs and added hooks to allow doors to be opened with forearms rather than fingers. The refrigerator can now be opened by foot. All of these changes and more eliminate high touch potential disease transmission points.

Clean Practice complements aggressive social distancing, but isn’t a substitute. At Indow its reduced fear and improved employee morale during a stressful time. Clean Practice is free for all and we see it as a collaborative return-to-work process so please reach out with questions and suggestions as we go forward together to create the healthiest, safest workspaces we can.

Sam Pardue, CEO of Indow
Sam is a serial entrepreneur in Portland, Oregon who runs a manufacturing facility for the energy-efficient window inserts he invented, which are sold throughout the U.S and Canada. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon and Duke University.

He can be reached at sam@cleanpractice.org