SAVOURING THE BENEFITS OF LEANIn November 2012, Refreshment Systems, a UK-based vending machine supplier and family business which employs over 100 people, embarked on a lean journey to address several issues in the machine refurbishment department.
Located in the company’s Bradford headquarters, the department remanufactures an extensive variety of vending machines to give them an eco-friendly ‘second life’ before they are placed in companies spanning small and medium sized businesses, NHS Trusts and corporations such as Thomas Cook and Unilever.
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For example, a large proportion of calls that call centres receive are either chasing down enquiries made earlier, or to correct earlier work that was not done properly.
As one of the key aims of lean is to eliminate waste, failure demand represents an obvious type of waste that must be tackled.
Roll out the pilot to other areas and continue to measure and evaluate progress while constantly encouraging feedback.
It’s also important to celebrate ‘quick wins’ and successes.
, chairman of What If Forums, analyses the main differences in applying lean in a manufacturing site and a service environment, providing two case studies of companies that were successful in this endeavour.
With service industries historically falling behind manufacturing in key areas of operations and continuous improvement, it’s heartening to witness a growing number of them harnessing lean principles to add value to the end user and reap wide-ranging benefits.