Mark Graban's - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

Pizza Hut Found a Root Cause?


No, this is not about the root cause of mediocre “pizza.” I got an email from Pizza Hut, which is strange, since I can't remember the last time I've ordered anything from them. It read:

You may have received an email on Wednesday that appeared to be from Pizza Hut with the subject line “Sports – 2 Medium pizzas, 1 one-topping and 1 specialty or up to 3 toppings”. We were testing new functionality that will better serve our customers. It was not the intent of Pizza Hut for this email to be sent to you. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused. We value your relationship with us and understand that communicating with you via email is a privilege not to be taken lightly. We have identified the cause of the mistake and have taken steps to make sure this does not happen again.

Wow. Did they find the root cause? Are they really effectively focused on prevention? I wonder if they're following what sounds like a “Lean problem solving” process, or if it's just coincidence, or if they're just using the right buzzwords? I wonder what action is behind the talk.

A good Lean effort would ask, after any mistake:

  1. Why did that problem occur? (not “who?”)
  2. What can we do to prevent the problem from re-occurring?

The world would be a better place if more organizations could follow that simple process instead of blaming people or making excuses.

I may have more respect for their process improvement skills than I do for their cookery.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is the anthology 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. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

  1. Anonymous says

    Like we always say…

    It’s not the 5 WHO’s…that approach causes more problems than it solves.

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