Pizza Hut Found a Root Cause?

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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
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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