The benefits of adopting the 5 step Lean transformation model in the hotel industry for improving customer value are not widely known. Manufacturing has, for many years, benefited from using the Lean transformation model first proposed by Womack and Jones in their book on Lean Thinking to optimise their operations.
1.Firstly Identify value from the perspective of the final customer by identifying and describing operational processes according to value added activities. By expressing value in terms of a specific product meeting the customer's needs at a specific price and at a specific time the first steps to removing waste have been taken. For example describing the complete food and beverage procurement method or how room reservations are processed will give a base in order to start mapping the value stream.
2.To Map the Value Stream, its necessary to make a current state map defining the flow of material and information. This map is the sequence of all the actions (VA, NVA & Waste) necessary to take a product from its source to a deliverable customer item. The mapping done by the team working in the process will give a common understanding of the current situation. For the example of F&B procurement the mapping team would be the F&B manager with several chef’s, the warehouse delivery staff, the purchasing officer and a financial controller. Using the Current State to identify and categorise waste and brainstorm ideas how to eliminate waste leads to the development of the future state value stream. In hotel processes value stream mapping is a powerful tool to identify non value adding tasks such as unnecessary transport movements between storage areas and kitchens, excess food inventories, waiting for deliveries and under-utilised staff.
3. Creating Flow means to completely solve the customers’ problems by ensuring that all services operate and work together, not wasting the customers’ time. The steps in the future state process, after the waste has been removed, flow without waiting as functional barriers have been eliminated dramatically improving lead-times. A summary of the hotel reservation flow starts with the room booking, involves check-in, the room occupancy, check out and departure. A disrupted flow of this sequence of events may result in incorrect room allocations, meaningless waiting, lost bags or unprepped rooms. A perfect flow of this process will result in a higher level of customer satisfaction for the guest and reduced operating costs from improved efficiency.
4.Establishing Pull processes is to provide exactly what the customers wants, exactly where and when its wanted. In a hotel from the moment a guest checks in until they leave the premises there is a standard set of pull activities which involve breakfast buffet in the restaurant and housekeeping duties such as room refresh that are included in the price of the stay and may be planned and resourced in an efficient way. It is a guests request for an additional service that triggers another pull process where if there is a long response time for, room service meals or, housekeeping to attend a room the satisfaction level and the guest’s review of their stay may be impacted. By optimising the pull process the balance between service cost and meeting customer expectation can be balanced.
5.Perfection is the final step in the five-step model and the one offering opportunities to gain a competitive advantage via continuous improvement The strive for perfection means there is no end to the process of reducing time, space, costs and mistakes. Perfection is a goal that is hard to achieve yet sets a standard to pursue. The concept is about returning to the first step and repeating each of the first 4 steps, in the future offering a product which is ever closer to what the customer wants.
This periodic assessment process of operational practices creates new insights on how customers perceive value, that in turn, creates new ways to eliminate waste and streamline the process. By following these 5 steps, hotels or any business will improve through the application of Lean practices in turn reducing operation costs. To find out more how L&Z Management can help you in your transformation inquire today.