Article of the week 31 – 2023

Do you know Tim Woods, the unpopular employee?

Let me introduce myself, my name is Woods. Tim Woods. Maybe we have met before. You can usually find me in almost all ares of the company. I also work in different industries, so I’m a real all-rounder. Often I come unnoticed and stay for several years, as long as no one prevents me. What colleagues and managers say about me? Well, I’m not very high on the popularity scale. This is because my work triggers inefficiency, ineffectiveness and also complexity. This causes unnecessary costs, additional work and frustration in the departments and thus in the entire company. But most of my colleagues just got used to me and got along, despite the frustration.“

Would you want someone like that working for you or with you? No? Well, this answer is of course not surprising. Perfectly clear and comprehensible.

But let’s take a closer look at Mr. Woods and his characteristics. Because he may have already taken up a permanent place in your company and is quietly up to no good.

You may have realised it already: Tim Woods is not a real a person. Rather, it is an acronym developed from the Toyota Production System, or lean production doctrine. Taiichi Ono was the inventor of this production system, on which Kanban and just-in-time production, among others, are based.

Tim Woods represents these 8 types of waste:

But what do these types of waste have to do with customer service when they originate from industrial production and are based on production and logistics processes?

Well, on one hand, several processes within customer service are also nothing else than a production, and follow the same rules. Calls, emails or chats (often in large quantities) are produced, i. e. different customer contacts via different channels, but with the same content. Just like different car models in a factory.

On the other hand, Tim’s principles are universal: waste is a consumption of resources (e.g. labour, time) without adding value to a product or service. These resources cause costs for which the customer is not willing to pay in the end. Furthermore, employees are directly confronted with waste in their daily work. Whether through unnecessarily complex processes, waiting for input/decisions or regular corrections of previously caused errors. Frustration, demotivation and resignation are often the result, which can have a direct impact on productivity.

It is thus a cross-sectoral issue that has a high impact on a company’s cost efficiency, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. In industry as in customer service.

It is therefore always worthwile to take a close look at the processes and sructures within the organisation and to question them critically. And eliminating waste not only reduces costs and makes employees and customers happier. You also contribute to sustainability.

You would like to focus on the topic of waste and need support? Get in touch with us.

Melanie Harth – Consultant


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