Are you enjoying some success attracting customers to your establishment? Good. You’ll need these cost-effective tips to succeed even more in a world of fast-evolving technology.
by Dr Will @ Iconic
There's at least one case in which pushing for maximum efficiency can actually slow down an operation. This particular instance involves a certain muda I didn't discuss in my "Lean on the Green" series: defects. If something goes wrong in your process, and you don't catch it promptly, it's going to cost you. When it comes to quality control, it's pay now or pay later. Every step in the process adds to the potential cost of a defect, and the farther along the flow unit gets before a defect is found, the more it costs to start over. This cost is especially bad if you don't catch the problem until after your flow units have passed through the bottleneck. Before that point, each of your resources has some capacity to spare, so that the extra motion won't be too taxing. But the bottleneck by definition is already operating at capacity.
Keep in mind that a flow unit can be anything that undergoes a defined process, whether it's a widget on the shelf or a customer in the store. Just as you would want to inspect materials or ingredients early in a process, you want to verify the quality of your customer's experience before they get too far in.
All of this is one more reason to identify your bottleneck, so you know where to concentrate your quality control, and also to anticipate normal attrition, lest you count your chickens before they hatch. Stay tuned for a complete demonstration of how to make these calculations.
So what's been the point of this series? (In case you've missed any of these, here are the first four posts.) Hopefully, I've convinced you that the insights behind the famed Toyota Production System are not just for gigantic manufacturers. Anyone who does work (i.e., exerts mental and/or physical energy to make things different from the way they are) can benefit from a study of the muda with an intent to eliminate them. If even a country club -- which is in the business of fostering leisure and extravagance -- can operate more efficiently without destroying its essence, then so can any service or retail operation.
Let us resume our inquiries, then, dear reader: how would the sources of waste identified by Taichi Ohno apply to a Country Club?
Before continuing our discussion of Taiichi Ohno's concept of muda as applied to the country club, there's one simple, but important distinction I want to make. Identifying an activity as waste does not always mean that activity should be eliminated or reduced. Every operation has to carefully distinguish between waste that is strictly waste and waste that is necessary auxiliary work, even if it doesn't directly add value. In the case of a country club, a certain amount of excess has to be sustained in order to keep up the aura of extravagance which is so essential to the members' experience. No matter how nice and well-kept everything is, a country club that doesn't maintain this aura is just a golf course with amenities.
What does producing Toyotas have in common with managing a country club? If you've heard of Taiichi Ohno, you might know that his lean manufacturing system has been an inspiration for operations managers in areas far afield from building cars. His insights extend beyond the production line to any operation whatsoever, because they reveal some of the underlying common texture of all purposeful human activity (also known as work), and foster productivity by eliminating waste in all its forms.