World-Class, Lean Performance in the SMEs - Small and Medium Enterprises - by Carlo Scodanibbio, Industrial & Business Consultant - Lean Management Consultant

Carlo Scodanibbio
Industrial & Business Consultant
Lean Management Consultant


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World-Class, Lean Performance Tutorials - Tutorial 04
what makes the difference between lean and non-lean?
by Carlo Scodanibbio


One case, two different approaches.
One approach: non-lean at all - lasting several days.
Another approach: totally lean - lasting a few minutes.
What makes the difference between the two approaches and the two outcomes?

According to my simple mind, all data were in the "system" - including details of the Technician (Richard) appointed to attend to the fault.
But only one Service Consultant (Anneline XXX) found the relevant data.
All the others:

  • Either they did not know how to find the only important (for me) information
  • Or they did not want to, or could not bother, or....

All other Service Consultant showed only one feature to me: that they had been extremely well trained to remain calm in any situation, including when dealing with furious customers (like me). Nothing else: no sign of attention, of dedication, of customer care. Nothing. Just attention to the rules and follow-up of procedures.

And moreover: the "craze" of the "Call Centre". Astonishing that the entire world is going for this craze - a system that customers hate - instead of returning to a personalised customer care system. Unbelievable!
Those little sentences, like: "I am in Johannesburg.... I am in Durban... You are in Cape Town...", what do they mean?
They mean: "What do you expect me to do for you? I cannot do anything else, so stop bothering me, this is the SYSTEM".

To cut a long story short:

  • Technology (the IT system) was important in this case, even vital in the end - because only through technology Anneline XXX found out details of the technician (Richard) and solved my problem once and forever (just 2 wires to be re-connected!).
  • But Technology was only an "enabler". The same technology was available to other 6 Service Consultants, and none of them bothered to utilise it. So, it's not technology that makes the difference between lean and non-lean!
  • Methods may make the difference. If people stick to traditional, bureaucratic rules and procedures, and only do a "fragment of a process" ( a task), not much will happen. Whereas, if people take care somehow of the entire process (my case and its solution & conclusions) the difference is there! So, methods make the difference or contribute to make the difference between lean and non-lean!
  • But, at the end of the day, the real difference was made by one person, Anneline XXX. She was not even consulted by me, she was just accidentally listening to my case. BUT, she went into the initiative of doing a bit more. That bit more resolved the entire issue. So, the real and solid difference between lean and non-lean outcomes, as usual, is made by people. People of a different breed, people with a different industrial culture. These people exist - or, we can fabricate them. If we want. Or, we can fabricate "Call Centres"!!

Which proves once again the old motto:
     1. People come first
     2. Methods come second
     3. Third, and only third, comes Technology

Read the case again - click here

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Would you like to suggest another solution & conclusions for this case?
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