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The Adventures Continue in TPS Learning

Feb 14, 2014 | Posted by Ben Thompson

As promised Blog fans in back to share with you more Adventures in TPS Learning!

Last time I wrote about how I came to be a student of TPS, but now we get into the real meaty exciting stuff, my first kaizen. You may also remember last time I promised constant improvement of self and society, well our work with The Sharing Place in Orillia, Ontario accomplished both of those in spades. You see The Sharing Place is a social support establishment in the heart of downtown Orillia. They are a group of kind and caring citizens that won’t accept the fact that there are people going hungry in Orillia. These volunteers under the leadership of their operations manager Michael Taylor are bound and determined to quell indignity and food insecurity in Orillia. We at TnT admire that gumption, so we set out to help the best way that we can…kaizen!

I must say I really did love working on this project. The people of The Sharing Place were open and welcoming. You could tell they really just loved helping their fellow men and women, and that a lot of them had been helping at The Sharing Place for a very long time. It felt great to have the opportunity to further my knowledge and practice of TPS well at the same time be doing good for the community.

The process was standard we established the Takt time of 108 seconds per process, available hours of work divided by the demand, so the ten and a half hours of open serving time in a week divided by the number of clients served in a week. Next, we gather full cycle times of the processes followed by elemental breakdowns of work content of each process. With this data we produced graphs that clearly and concisely conveyed the lowest repeatable and fluctuations in service times in relation to the Takt time we established. This gives us a great sense of where abnormalities occur so we can implement kaizen to stabilize the system.

Our greatest obstacle here was to implement a change that decreased service times, with little to no cost and of paramount importance develop an even greater human connection between the client and the volunteers. Nothing like shooting for the stars eh? Well with the help of our amazing volunteers we did just that. We implemented a great client care position ahead of all other processes, the greeter position. This increased the amount of time a client spent getting one on one service with a volunteer. It started the service off the right way, with a smile and an exchange of names, some small talk. During this time the greeter reviews the order with the client striking out unwanted items as well as recording supplementary items offered that day. Kindly reminding the client to be ready to receive further service and that the greeter is around to help at anytime during their visit would send the client along to the next process most times with a smile on their face.

In the end we reduced the lowest repeatable service times by an average of 17% and the fluctuations by an average of 40%, a stunning kaizen victory for TnT and The Sharing Place. It was also a stunning personal victory for me to see the skills I’ve been building put to wholesome use, the victory really is that much sweeter when the cause is just. If you wish to donate or discover more about The Sharing Place, why not follow them on twitter @TheSharingPlace, they always appreciate the help that they are offered, I’ve experienced their gratitude first hand in all it glory.

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