For a lunch meeting today, I went and picked up some Mexican food. The customer in front of me was confused about his order because it wasn’t what he ordered. Â So, what happened?
It turns out that he ordered a “Special #1”. Â But, the cashier thought the customer ordered “#1”. Â I know what you’re thinking: What’s the difference? This was a perfect problem for a quick 5 Whys.
Big in fact. Â In terms of money, there was a $2.00 difference. Â But the “#1” meal has a Chimichanga, Rice, and Beans. Â The “Special #1” has 4 Taquitos, 1 Bean Burrito, and a Drink.
5 Whys on Mexican Food
- Why did the customer receive the wrong order? Â Because cashier prepared a “#1” instead of a “Special #1”.
- Why did the cashier prepare a “#1” instead of a “Special #1”? Â Because there are two “#1” meals.
- Root Cause: The cashier prepared the wrong meal (meal switcheroo) because the menu has two “#1” meals available to be ordered.
It’s The Customer’s Fault
The worst part about this seemingly small incident is that this is not the first time it has happened. Â I asked the cashier if “#1” gets mixed-up often and she said:
Customers order the wrong thing all the time
Without judgment, I asked her why she thinks that’s the case. Â She said:
People do not read the menu carefully
I then asked her to consider the use of “#1” and asked her if that might be confusing. Â She said,
I chose to move on, made my order, and I hope our short SocraticÂ dialogueÂ would be helpful to her as more switcheroo’s happen.
It’s Not The Customer’s Fault
Here’s the worst part: the customer apologized for ordering “the wrong” order and the cashier said:
You ordered the wrong order.
I asked the customer how he felt and he said:
I feel dumb.
Placing Blame, Unresolved Problems
Yes, finger pointing or placing blame might help us to feel better but it doesn’t solve anything. Â Indeed, it probably makes the problem worse. Â That’s why in Lean Thinking we take the focus away from people, and focus on systems, processes with this assumption:
People are basically good. Â Humans make mistakes because our processes and systems encourage humans to do the wrong thing AND/OR our processes and systems do not prevent mistakes from happening
This was clearly not the customer’s fault. Â Yet, the cashier was quick to point out that “people don’t read the menu” and that “the customer ordered the wrong thing.”
It’s Your Turn
Have you experienced something like this? Â Does placing blame or pointing fingers every do any good or solve problems? Â How would you have handled this situation? Â Have you seen other uses of poor visual management? Â Would the use of 5S be applicable here? Â If so, how?