Lean thinking, Kaizen® philosophies and tools have traditionally been associated with manufacturing industry. Long-lasting success of companies like Toyota through implementation of these tools and philosophies and ensuing benefits – such as superior quality; faster throughput times; lower inventories; reduced costs; and engagement of people in problem-solving – are very well documented.
It is time to think about how these principles and concepts can be applied to service industry – hotels and hospitality specifically – where creating value for customers through enhanced service quality; fast and efficient response to customer requirements; and competitive costs are of paramount importance.
Typical challenges in hotel industry
- Inefficient processes causing guests to wait – at check-in or check-out, for example
- A high degree of variability and inconsistency in service delivery
- Hindrances to inter-department information flow – between Front Desk and Housekeeping; or between Housekeeping and Laundry, for instance
- High F&B costs – due to food wastage, for example
- Frequent breakdown of critical equipment
- High repair and maintenance costs
- High energy bills
- Engineering spare part inventory management
- Long procurement approval as well as long lead-time for procuring supplies and consumables
- Chaos generated by short lead-time events
- Lack of involvement by people in everyday problem-solving
Adoption of Kaizen principles can help overcome the aforementioned challenges and create a culture of continuous improvement in the organization by identifying and relentlessly eliminating Muda (wasteful activities and practices) from every process everyday and by involving people at all levels to participate in problem-solving.
Benefits after implementing Kaizen in hotel industry
- Customer first – Improvement projects and activities focused primarily at improving guest satisfaction
- Employee engagement – Involving and engaging every single employee in the problem-solving process and thereby creating a culture of continuous improvement in the organization.
- Identifying and solving problems – Acknowledging problems openly and striving to solve problems on a daily basis
- Speak with data – Identifying, measuring and visualizing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help identify areas for improvement and track progress.
- Cost reduction – Reducing costs and improving competitiveness without sacrificing guest satisfaction. Also, freeing up working capital through inventory reduction.
Unfortunately, only few companies are aware of these opportunities and how to easily achieve this savings.
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