Leroy’s Lean Story

On my second job, I investigated customer complaints for a floor care products manufacturer. One summer, paint was peeling off gym floors at an abnormally high rate. Lab work is basically comparing bad product to good product. Comparing the bottom of paint peelings to the bottom of paint still adhering to the floor was impossible. This problem did not appear to be solvable.

Finally, I noticed red paint never peeled off customers’ gym floors. The lab’s paint adhesion test was inaccurate. Red paint did not always adhere to wood in the lab. I needed a substrate that would give accurate and consistent results. I applied red paint to everything I could get my hands on: steel, glass, ceramic tile, aluminum, concrete, etc.

Red paint always adhered to glass. The colors that peeled did not adhere. Leroy, another research chemist, used my adhesion test to add the necessary amount of bonding agent to the paints that peeled. New formulas were sent to our paint manufacturers. My paint adhesion test became a Quality Assurance procedure and was shared with suppliers. The company’s most pressing problem vanished.

A few weeks later, Quality Assurance was performing my test when I walked through the door. They were puzzled when I kept peeking over their shoulders. When I told them that was my procedure, they all laughed. The new paint adhesion test was Leroy’s idea

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