They don’t get it

There is an article in the Guardian newspaper which discusses Lean and once again they don’t get it. I quote:

Radnor recalls a housing director who was approached by two employees who claimed they needed another team member because they were unable to manage their current workload of dealing with complaints about unfinished repairs.

After examining their current processes, a barrier to flow was identified. It was found complaints couldn’t be logged properly because not all the required data was in place and that the team spent the majority of its time going back to retrieve missing information. It was suggested the form used to log complaints was redesigned.

Wrong. If they were unable to manage the workflow of dealing with complaints, then management need to change the system that produces the complaints to produce fewer complaints, with the goal (not the target, the goal) of producing none. That is Lean.

We must not be deluded and mistake making current processes more efficient with changing the system as a whole to more efficiently serve the customer. The difference in wording is slight, but the outlook is very different and the results wildly so.

It does say a little later in the article:

While the customer is very much the focus of Lean […]

So maybe they do get it, I don’t know, but they must have loads of examples to choose from and they picked one that shows that they probably don’t.

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