Lean daily management at Tigotan Hotel and Resort

This is the hotel’s “arrow”. We call it “arrow” because we use it to display how the guest moves around our hotel. We use different colors on the board to differentiate [what we map]. Yellow represents our guests’ actions in the hotel – basically, eating, drinking, sleeping and having fun People don’t do much more than that when they are on holiday! Orange post-it notes represent actions we have to perform: our tasks, our work, our micro-processes. Of course, within each orange post-it note you have a thousand other actions, but this is the board for the entire hotel. Each areas has its own, too. Finally, we have the pink ones, representing problems… material movement, stocks, tables. A bit of everything! This is because the board was actually born as a value stream map, and we later converted it into our “arrow”, and so on. This board is only three months old. It’s a work in process. It’s still very much evolving. I want it to become my daily management board. Of course, there is still a lot missing after just three months. Could we have done things more rapidly? Yes. Could the panel be complete already? Yes Do our department heads know how to input information into this board? Yes. But what I am trying to do is to involve everyone in the hotel and establish a working culture based on lean thinking and hoshin. And all of this takes time. I’d rather go slow, but steady. I want to make sure we can sustain our results. [Back to the board] we have put checks in place for our work processes. For instance, here we track the check-in process. The same is tracked in another board specific to Accommodation, but the audit on that board is much more in-depth than this one. Here, there are only a couple of things I need to know about the check-in process. As hotel director, I can’t expect to be able to control the whole hotel, to know everything. It would be great, of course, but it just isn’t possible! So, here we track the important things, those that can really hurt us. We still have to include the Cost part, but we have included Safety. There is a direct correlation between this board and the hoshin. We started by building the hoshin because we were working on A3s impacting the whole of the hotel, whereas this board is used to gauge whether or not the standards we created are working. First of all, we check that it’s working for our employees. Secondly, we want to see the guest values the standard in the same way we do. I can think this board tracks great standards, but to you it might not. It’s important to find that middle ground, to ensure that those views match. The first thing we did was dividing the board in lanes, to see what department is in charge of the guest at any given moment. We chose not to divide it in columns, since the guest doesn’t really see that separation. If you spill a soda on a guest’s shirt, he will get angry no matter who’s at fault. A stain is a stain! So, we decided not to make that separation visual, to help everyone see that the client is the same for all of us. We all need to care for them. That’s why we have no columns. Back to the lanes, we tried to see who was in charge of the processes and began to work on standards. We have two systems working at the same time: our “arrow” and our hoshin. With the “arrow” board, we assess those standards that we have established. If an item on this board is in red for a certain amount of time, we open an A3 on it and move it to the hoshin. If the audit displayed on the arrow is green, the customer result is green or the financial result is green, then we are doing well. If we have reoccurring problems, we try to understand why. Sometimes you have external causes for problems, but the most important thing is that with this daily management board there can never be excuses, only reasons why. Excuses over time go away, even though this depends on the level of maturity of a team. We never use the board to punish people. If there is a problem, we encourage people to raise it so that we can fix it all together. It’s not me and the area manager fixing it, but the whole team! It’s a team of department heads… sometimes those who know less (about your processes) see things more clearly. This is how it works, and so far so good. Let’s see what happens over the next couple years! Truth is, the board is great to improve the overall customer experience and to help all minds think together to solve a problems faster.

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