Bottlenecks in Buying


    Seth's Blog: Waiting in line

    Another thought provoking post from Seth Godin. Although he doesn't write about lean, think about the examples he gives:

    Lack of “order taking” capacity (in two examples), leads to lost revenue (and/or the wasting of customers' time). Although you have a captive audience at the airport (people who usually have time to wait), I'm sure you're losing some customers who “balk” at the “queue” (sorry for the lingo, I'm an Industrial Engineer).

    Seth wrote:

    The last step, though, that's cheap. The last step, the step where someone actually takes your money–it's not just cheap, it's nothing but incremental profit…. It's difficult to cost-reduce yourself to growth.

    Exactly. Why go cheap in the area that brings money in the door??

    Also, why don't concessions set prices so, with tax, common orders come out to a nice even amount? Think of the labor savings from not having to give coins as change, plus you can serve customers faster.I guess I'm risking that Starbucks raises the price of a Grande drip coffee so that it's $2 exactly, with tax.

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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.


    1. 1) Even prices like $2.00 make it easier for employees to skim the till because they don’t need to generate change. No efficiency gain with with credit card/debit card transactions.
      2) People suspect that Starbucks and similar outfits are testing the price elasticity with effectively identical drinks priced with a pennies difference.


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