Airport Heijunka


DFW Airport |

DFW International Airport will distribute more than $10,000 in “DFW Bucks” on December 20 and 21 to encourage families to check in during off-peak times to avoid the Christmas checkpoint crunch, offering children 12 and under a coupon to eat free at any of the restaurants in the Airport's five terminals.

The idea is to “level load” the airport security lines, by encouraging families to come between 12 and 2. It's easier for families to get through during non-peak times (plus it doesn't clog the lines up as bad for the rest of us). My wife and I are trying to help level load by traveling on Christmas Day afternoon (a day we assume isn't as busy as the next few will be).

The DFW example seems like a good case of “demand shaping,” trying to level out demand for a product or service, rather than just taking it as it comes. In the Lean approach, “heijunka,” or level loading, can apply to leveling demand (an ideal condition) or leveling production (which requires inventory).

Best wishes to everyone for the holidays!

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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