One of the more effective facilitation tools I have come across is to have a team first construct an ideal flow, without the constraints of the space geometry, known flow-busters, or even too much concern about the takt time.
Just make things flow as smoothly and efficiently as you can envision. Develop the flow as though a single person were performing the entire process from start to finish. Make it as smooth as possible for this person. No back tracking, no awkward motions. Everything is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.
This allows the team to let go of all of the “reasons why not” for a while, and see the possibilities.
Then, one by one, re-introduce the constraints of reality.
How can we make it work when we introduce this problem? Does the process still meet the target objective?
Approaching it this way helps teams that are so embedded in the stormy ocean of day-to-day problems that they can’t see things possibly working smoothly.
It also reinforces the notion that we want to see things, not as “what can we improve from the baseline” but rather “how far are we from the target?”
In slightly modified form, this approach worked pretty well this week. Slightly modified? I, too, sometimes have to bend things around how the world presents itself to me.