Everyday Batch: Rental Car Shuttles

I know the airport isn’t normally a bastion of lean, but the Albuquerque airport rental car shuttle bus stood out yeserday, in a bad way.

There were three empty, idling buses with drivers queued up to take customers back to the terminal. This was one of those shared rental car center areas. The first bus in queue was actually half full and I heard the driver tell someone in a somewhat angry tone of voice “when we’re full”.

Forget cycle time or getting to the terminal faster. They were NOT going to move that bus until it was full, and they didn’t. People were in a hurry, but we’ll wait until the bus is full That’s “efficient” right? The other buses were pretty much a fixed cost at that point, except for gas. Why not send half-full buses twice as often? Apparently cost, not customer service, is their priority. That’s what you get from government, I guess, except for Iowa and a few exceptions.

Is your equipment or machinery idling because you’re waiting for it to fill up? Is this necessary? Challenge your batch sizes.

Check out Luke’s “Everyday Lean” series.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.


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