Identifying the seven service wastes killing your business efficiency

You may already be aware of the  forms of waste in industries, but what about other industries where specific types of manufacturing waste isn’t relevant?

In any industry, identifying waste can prove a challenging endeavour as you cannot always spot inefficiencies with the naked eye.

The good news is that the Seven Wastes methodology does not only apply to manufacturing – it can also be applied to the service industry. However, as always, there are two sides to every coin: identifying the seven service wastes killing your business efficiency can be a rather challenging endeavour.

The 7 Types of Wastes in the Service Industry

With a bit of help and practice it is possible to learn value-stream process mapping  and achieve the lean principles of standardisation, process improvement, cost reduction, and efficiency for your business as well.

Before you can identify the wastes of your organisation, we first have to capture and analyse the seven individual wastes that are typical in the service industry (which are occasionally also broken down into eight types of waste of, which then includes the ‘waste of human potential’).

The 7 wastes of service are:

  1. Delays – delays in providing the customers with information, a product, or a service:
    1. such delays can take many different forms (e.g. waiting in queues, waiting on hold on a phone, etc.)
    2. identifying your own organisation’s delays is crucial, as these delays can cause your customers to choose your competitors’ services
  2. Duplication – filling in multiple forms with repeated data:
    1. this waste can be highly interruptive to the efficiency of your customer service model
    2. it is essential to cut down on duplication as much as possible – your business’ customers will perceive it as annoying, time-consuming and unnecessary
  3. Unnecessary Movement – unnecessary segmented points of communication:
    1. making the customer journey as comfortable as possible is the recipe for success
    2. if your customers’ experience is too segmented (e.g. having to contact different internal departments in order to access a service), they may lose interest along the way
  4. Unclear Communication – unclear industry jargon and unclear communication:
    1. creating a confusing customer experience through unclear instructions and industry jargon will frustrate your customers
    2. keeping the communication clear and straight forward will prevent confusion and mistakes, and keep your customers happy
  5. Incorrect Inventory – Products being out-of-stock or expired:
    1. offering expired or out-of-stock products does not only frustrate your customers but will also come across as disorganised and highly unprofessional
  6. Errors – customer receives the wrong product:
    1. receiving the wrong item or possibly nothing at all is a waste of both yours and your customers’ resources
    2. in order to maintain a positive relationship with your customers, it is essential to ensure that items function properly and services or deliveries reach their destination
  7. Opportunity Lost – not recognising opportunities to ‘go the extra mile’:
    1. maintaining good customer relations is crucial – treating customers in a rude or annoyed manner will ruin your reputation and result in the loss of many opportunities
    2. make sure to ‘go the extra mile’ when in order to create customer evangelists and further opportunities for referrals
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