Taking Time out of Making Glasses

Everyone knows by now that you can get glasses “in about an hour.” I read about them recently in a magazine, this was the quote:

“…company was founded and flourished because two entrepreneurs discovered a secret… before LensCrafters, buying a new pair of glasses involved… waiting several days or weeks for the prescription to be filled at a lab. The secret was that it really took the labs only one hour to do the work.”

I don’t know if that is really a secret if you understand lean thinking. When you look at the percentage of a total process cycle time (from order to customer receipt), you know that a very small amount is actually value added. This percentage is typically even less than 1% of the time. 1 hour of VA time (and I’m sure not all 60 minutes are value added) out of 5 days to get the glasses, that’s 1/(5 * 24) = 0.8% value-added.

This was true in eye glasses, until the innovation of placing the glasses lab right on site at the store. You can even get an eye exam right there and avoid an extra trip or drive. How very lean! Does LensCrafters have a faster glasses-making machine? I doubt it. They just remove the waiting time and transportation delays between you and the lab.

I wonder what other industries currently have such low value added time? It seems like there would be a competitive or entrepreneurial opportunity to compete based on speed and lean principles. Any ideas?

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author’s copyright.


Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to receive posts via email.


Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please consider leaving a comment or sharing this post via social media.

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 eBook 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.

Posted in: Blog

2 Comments on "Taking Time out of Making Glasses"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jamie Flinchbaugh says:

    Consider oil changes – how long do you wait at a dealership? The standard today is between 45 minutes and 1 hour. It used to be longer. How long does it really take? 20 minutes. How long if you put two people on it? 10 minutes.

    Jiffylube, etc. figured this out. Of course, AND THIS IS KEY, if it’s not done right the first time, it’s not value added. My experience there isn’t statistically significant, but I would guess they have a 1-2 sigma quality level.

  2. Dick Kusleika says:

    I always wondered why it takes a half an hour to fill a prescription. That seems like it should take about five minutes.

Post a Comment