Feb 23, 2007

Post office delivers - finally

Yes, my stamps...(see the post below) I ordered my stamps the evening of February 8. How long did it take the postal service to provide service? I finally got them February 20. Unacceptable,in my judgment. Yes, there might have been snow and a holiday, but how hard is it to stick a couple of books of stamps in an envelope and send them out? I can get shoes from Zappos two days after I order them, and not even pay for shipping.

Feb 16, 2007

Snow and sleet delaying the post office?

I ran out of stamps the other day and didn't feel like making a special trip to the post office. We've had below-zero temperatures here lately, and it's warm and toasty in the house.

So I took the postal service up on its offer to order stamps from their website. When I've ordered them by mail before, I got them next day. The mail carrier just takes the letter back to the post office and they give him some stamps to drop off on his next trip. Should be the same on the web, shouldn't it? Just a quick e-mail authorization to the local post office, and they can do the same thing as they did for the mail order.

Why am I so trusting? I'm still sitting here waiting for my stamps. I could have been to the post office a hundred times by now. If they'd sent them via UPS they'd be here already.

I know the post office has been trying to do better for its customers, but they are really missing the mark this time.

Feb 13, 2007

Nissan helps hospital

From a UK Auto Industry press release: In the UK, Nissan Manufacturing UK has been sharing its lean manufacturing techniques with the local Sunderland Royal hospital in a knowledge sharing project which has so far halved the time patients spend in one of the hospital’s units from six, to three hours, by giving them specific appointment times. The number of steps used in patient treatment have been reduced from 29 to 11 after Nissan suggested unnecessary, duplicated checks could be removed.

Some leaning (can't say anyone is really lean) companies in the US are doing the same. Does anyone know how it has affected healthcare coverage costs? So far, I believe it's mainly speculation that it will happen - and I agree with the idea - but I'm wondering if there's any data yet to support it.

Feb 3, 2007

Don't confuse us with data

Here’s the scene: An IT team at a major manufacturing company is working on a new version of the systems that support the order-to-delivery production planning and material supply processes. They are discussing the order amendment process included in the functional requirements. Just making na├»ve and imaginary guesses at the cost of this feature, and assuming an hourly cost of the participants of $100, and a total of 8 participants at any given time, you have:

Interpreting the requirements - 3 hours, $2,400
Examining and discussing the process in the current system - 4 hours, $3,200
Arguing - 2 hours, $1,600
Making diagrams and stuff - 4 hours, $3,200
Reviewing diagrams and stuff - 2 hours, $1,600
Changing diagrams and stuff - 4 hours, $1,600
Making use cases - 10 hours, $8,000
Presentations to managers - 2 hours, $1,600
Changes - 4 hours, $3,200
Making test cases - 10 hours, $8,000
Nuts and bolts programming - 500 hours, $400,000
Reviewing, evaluating,changing, testing - 500 hours, $400,000
Documentation and user training - 500 hours, $400,000
Working with end customers - 0 hours, $0
Asking why the order amendment feature is needed - 0 hours, $0
Assessing frequency of orders amended - 0 hours, $0
Looking at the data - 0 hours, $0
Deciding on the wisdom of including the feature - 0 hours, $0
Total - 1041 hours, $1,232,800

One renegade team member downloads actual orders to see how often orders are amended - 3 hours, $300

Orders are amended 3 times in 6 months.

Option – orders that need to be changed will be canceled and reentered.

Decision – orders that need to be changed will be amended, since no one can be bothered with considering any real data.

The cost of the decision is more than $1 million, a drop in the bucket on the larger scale. But added up on the large scale of thousands of similar decisions and pretty soon, you’re talking about real money.

Anyone could look at this story and quibble about the number of hours, the work that would be included in developing the order amendment feature, and the probable actual cost, but I’d bet the fact would remain. Millions of dollars are burned like this every day, just because people are sitting in their cozy team rooms in their ivory towers, not wanting to be confused by any real data.
Copyright @ 2005-2014 by Karen Wilhelm