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I’ve never created a blog on my cell phone, but I was compelled.  More like pissed.  It happened when I did not get an order I placed online.  At the time, it was in stock and I paid with my credit card.

I asked for a tracking number, and was then told that I’d have to wait several weeks for the manufacture to restock the distributor’s shelves.  

Wow.  Not good.

Why is it's easy to understand that stuffing eight pounds of cheese cannot fit in a four pound bag, but yet companies continue to over sell or overbook?

How many customers face dissatisfaction when service or products aren't delivered on a timely manner?

Lean Six Sigma 101 identifies value as any product or service a customer wants delivered on time hassle and defects free.

So what value can a customer expect when eight pounds of cheese is delivered in a four pound bag?  I know.  You're wondering, what a strange metaphor.  Remember, I'm writing this on my cellphone.

I realize that the primary objective is to increase revenue, and what better way than it is than to increase sales; however, the promise of satisfaction with delays and hassle make for poor business.

Labor, materials, equipment, processes and environment are used to determine a company's capacity.  This paradigm is used all the time and relied upon to ensure balance. Data collected and quantified validates a pattern that undeniably provides a pattern of expectation.  Here is what management uses to determine capacity and plan to meet customer’s demands.

But it's ignored.

I have a client, a small business owner, who is also in the habit of making SWAGs or super wild ass guesses when determining monthly inventory estimates.  Of course, like watching someone fold a road map incorrectly, it drives me nuts because he sells without knowing if he has enough to meet the demand.

I asked if he kept an accounting of his inventory and he’d shrug it off telling me that all he needed to do was just glance at his shelves and take it from there.

Consequently, he'd oversell, find himself in deep water as he was in the habit of pre-collecting payments.

When capacity planning is ignored or excluded from the process, a company, not surprisingly, faces a series of challenges that undermines its primary objective.

This is not symptomatic to small business as, due to high expectations and the continual push for more and the “siloed” differences between division promote an ambivalence, suppressed communications, and diminished control.  As the team concept disintegrates, the company suffers.

Ideas like shoring up an accounting system to provide true inventory numbers is a good start.  For service industries, another idea is to develop or purchase a reliable scheduling program that’s user friendly, app driven and updated in real time.  

As a process manager, I cannot tolerate lip service to justify customer satisfaction.  Clients, as far as I’m concerned, should only pay for products and services delivered, on time, hassle and defects free.  

What better way to control the flow than to follow a process without variation?

Obviously, this solution cannot see a modicum of success without policy, management, and employee buy-in execution and compliance.

So I cancelled my order.

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