How to Use Lean Six Sigma to Improve Your Travel Plans

How to Use Lean Six Sigma to Improve Your Travel Plans

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Lean Six Sigma has shown time and again that it can improve anything that involves a process. And when it comes to processes, nothing may have more intricately woven ones (in your personal life, anyway) than travel plans.

There’s packing. Booking. Transportation there and during your stay. Accommodations. Day trips. Sightseeing. Dinner reservations. Shopping. Hikes. Depending on how active you are, that list can continue for several more paragraphs.

Lean Six Sigma offers answers. To demonstrate the versatility of this process improvement methodology, we’ve decided to apply Lean Six Sigma ideas to traveling planning.

After all, airports use Lean Six Sigma to handle their challenges; why not use it to handle your challenges, too?

Plan It Before You Do It

Unlike a process that’s already in place at a business, you can’t record data from your ongoing travel plan and trip and then go back in time and do it better next week. Most people get one shot a year at taking a big trip.

So, until we’re all multi-millionaires, it’s important to plan based on information and guesswork. You’ll need to walk through every phase of your trip and improve it before you do it. That seems impossible, but it’s not. Use the following tools.

To put things in perspective, let’s say you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World.

Kaizen Event

You might start with a Kaizen event, in which case you’ll get everyone involved to sit down together and walk through the process of the trip.

  • What kind of place do they expect to stay?
  • What are the main attractions they want to visit?
  • Are there day trips or side excursions some of the group want to make?
  • Who wants to eat at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria at Epcot (who doesn’t want to eat at Via Napoli?)?

Kaizen events are designed to make a lot of progress quickly on a project, so make sure to get everyone gathered together with no distractions. Ask everyone to do a little research before coming to the meeting. They don’t need to know every detail of where they want to go, but they should know the major sites and experiences they expect from the trip.

Value Stream Mapping

Now, you’ve got the major points of your “process.” A value stream map allows you then to put everything involved in a process down in visual form, allowing you to see areas of waste and unneeded effort.

How can this apply to a trip? Let’s use just one process in the trip – the drive to the airport.

Map out every step along the process, from loading the bags into the car, driving to the airport, finding parking, transporting yourself from the parking garage to the terminal, then getting through check-in and security and finally reaching the gate.

Map it out and do the research to answer questions such as:

  • What’s the best route to the airport?
  • What’s the best alternative route to the airport?
  • What can I and can’t I get through security?
  • Where is the best/least expensive long-term parking option at the airport?
  • If I use a transportation company, what time do I need to have them pick us up?

And so on. Having all these questions answered can help make the process run much smoother. Value stream mapping gets you there.

It’s worth applying to every process within the trip. It helps you ask the questions you need answered before you find yourself at Disney World, unsure of which monorail you need to catch to get to the park in time for fireworks.

It also leads you to seek alternatives for each phase. For example, staying at a hotel off the Disney World property is likely going to be cheaper, but what are the transportation costs to and from the parks? Does it make better sense to stay on the property and use the elaborate Disney World transportation system, including the monorail? Map it out and make a decision that balances convenience with cost.

Just-In-Time Packing

Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing involves creating products in conjunction with the actual demand – in other words, not getting caught short with too few products or making more products than customers need and having to spend money to store them.

Those who use Lean Six Sigma put JIT into play because they know it cuts waste and saves costs. When packing for your trip, you’re likely looking to save space. Walk yourself through every phase of the trip and determine what you will need in terms of pants, shirts, jackets, flip flops, etc. Does it make sense to buy cheaper items once you arrive to your destination rather than take up room packing them (flip flops, for example)?

You only want the items you will need to make your trip enjoyable. Use the philosophy behind JIT to “produce” only the items you will need in your suitcase.

These are just a few examples of how Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques can make you look at trip planning more efficiently. It might seem like more work added onto what is supposed to be a fun time. But the truth is, the more process improvement planning you put into the front end of a trip, the more you can enjoy the trip itself.


The post How to Use Lean Six Sigma to Improve Your Travel Plans appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: admin
Posted: April 16, 2019, 10:00 am

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