I Don’t Care That Your Regular Driver Was Out


Twice in the past week now, our department has had this similar problem happen. First, a global logistics company (rhymes with sledex) did not empty our overnight letter receptacle, even though they did pick up our freight. The second incident was a supplier delivering parts to the wrong dock door.

In both cases, the answer back was “our regular driver was out.” In both cases, my response was simple and direct: “I don't care.”

How often is that an excuse from you to your customers? If you focus on standard work and training, it wouldn't matter “who” is doing the work. With lean, we need to move from “people focused” to “process focused”, where we aren't dependent on a single person who is the only one who can do something properly. Rather than blaming the fact that somebody was out on vacation, management should have been blaming themselves for not having a robust system in place.

If you're an auto company, do you think your customers want to hear “oh, our regular assembly guy was out, sorry your engine failed”??

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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