Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Golden Muda award...

The Golden Muda (Japanese word for waste) award is an honor bestowed on businesses that excel in wasteful expenditures of all types such as customer time, money, and the like. It's my way of saying...stop wasting and get lean!

Today's recipient is the Lowe's store on the east side of Indianapolis. I needed to locate some fire bricks for a fireplace project and so I called in to see if they had any in stock. After navigating through the needlessly long IVR menu, the phone started ringing. I lost track after ten rings and started praying that someone would answer. Once I got to a human being, the conversation went like this...

Lowes clerk #1: This is (name deleted) in Masonary. How may I help you?

Kaizeneer: Do you have any firebrick?

Lowes clerk #1: I don't know...let me check. (Puts me on hold)

Lowes clerk #1: I'll transfer you...

Lowes clerk #2: Lawn and garden, how can I help you?

Kaizeneer: Do you have any firebrick?

Lowes clerk #2: This is Lawn and garden, why did they transfer you to me? I'll transfer you...

Lowes clerk #1: This is (name deleted)in Masonary. How may I help you?

And this loop went on two more times before I hung up out of frustration. As it turned out, my dad and I developed a kaizen that didn't require firebrick at all once we reasoned through that the brick would never get more then maybe 125 degrees F based on what we were doing. So, we used bricks that I already had saving us a few dollars and at least 45 minutes driving. In this case, Lowe's muda led to a Lafever intergenerational kaizen. So, I award my first ever Golden Muda to Lowes on E 25th street in Indy! Congratulations on this prestigious honor.

What did you improve in 2008?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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