Monday, November 29, 2010
I think this is an excellent example of jidoka in practice. By allowing people to check themselves out, the stores are able to utilize a single operator to run 4 machines. This is a 300% productivity improvement! And there is a host of clever (if sometimes irritating) mechanisms to make sure that the process stops if quality is compromised: cameras, scales, etc. There’s even an andon of sorts that calls the cashier if you really mess up. This seems like a great use of lean principles to reduce the store’s cost.
My wife and I like to take it a step further and create our own little lean cell when we check out. She loads the items onto the scanner and scans them (chaku chaku), and I remove and bag them (hanedashi). It’s a superb example of workload balancing.
I guess the real question is, does this provide value to the customer? Do you really want to check yourself out when you buy groceries? If not, then the stores have simply annoyed their customers in order to save money. This is definitely not lean. I’d be curious to know what Voice of the Customer research was done on this prior to widespread implementation.
Personally, I like it. Since I’m adamant about buying only what I need when I need it, I frequently have just a few small items. So I like being able to get in and out without waiting for a lot of other people. Now if I could only pump my own gas in this state!
Posted by Evan Durant at 10:30 AM
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Continuing the discussion from my last post, I recommend reading Stephen Jannise's article on lean management. He does an excellent job of detailing a few of the key effects of a lean transformation on the work force. I think that understanding these can go along way toward getting people onboard.
Posted by Evan Durant at 11:03 AM