Friday, March 18, 2005

You know you’re not lean when…

You know you're not lean when... have expediter in your business.

And you are really not lean when you charge the customer to do the expedite. To wit:

A friend of mine just grumbled about the $60 fee he had to pay the US Passport service to get his passport renewed in time for a quickly-arranged overseas business trip. In effect, the sixty bucks is a bribe to move to the front of the line, in front of the other folks who sent their applications in sooner.

We are so used to such things, we usually don't give them a thought. But the lean leader sees these thing. Why? Because it is an indication of a lack of flow, a lack of standard work, a lack of improvement methodologies, a lack of attention to customer satisfaction.

Even more problematic is the use of a fee. The fee is a reward, an incentive, to keep the lines long and the service slow. Someone will pony up the fee to bypass the others. And the fee serves to slow the improvement process even further, due to the revenues the slow service generates.

Beware the expediter.

I hope this is helpful.

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