Heijunka for Airport Security?
I'm not normally a fan of the TSA, but this proposal actually seems somewhat reasonable and reminds me of the Lean concept of “heijunka,” or level loading of a process.
A steady stream of travelers at checkpoints throughout a day also would ease scheduling problems for security screeners caused by the large rushes of people followed by long lulls.
This is what we see in many workplaces — really busy times where employees are overburdened and customers have to suffer through waits. Being really busy can impact quality, when employees feel pressured to cut corners to work down their backlog (and that can have really bad consequences if screeners aren't given time to be careful).
I travel a lot on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons — peak travel times. Can you convince people to show up earlier (or later) if they can be guaranteed to fly through security?
Leveling the process should benefit everyone, but there's not total agreement on this:
Caleb Tiller of the National Business Travel Association said, “It's not entirely clear why we need a reservation system to deal with peak times rather than adding TSA staff and (checkpoint) lanes.”
So money grows on trees? It's better to have a creative solution than spending money, right?