We spent most of yesterday travelling to the Lean HE Hub conference. It gave us the opportunity to observe a number of processes. Initially, we were delayed by traffic on the motorway this is an example we often use to describe problems with process flow (it was much more frustrating to experience it first hand).
We had two flights with the same airline, the boarding processes were different at both airports which led us to question why there isn't a standard process (no answers yet). The chaotic process of checking people as they go through passport control could also be improved, the process had queues, confusion and sometime apprehension: it is an important process that has a number of potential opportunities for improvement.
There were a multitude of problems, but my main takeaway was that most people we met were involved in processes which they often have little overview or control. Perhaps, some lean training for the staff and their leaders could help people view the processes differently? A fundamental part of any lean improvement is that the improvement should be "end to end" i.e. for the entire process and win-win i.e. an improvement for staff and customers. Implementing and sustaining lean will be at the heart of a conference theme, I'll continue to blog about some of the outputs. Follow #LeanHE2015 for for information.