The Hospitality Industry is still very conservative in how to identify and implement unexplored ways to improve the financial bottom line. Hotel & resort General Manager eyes are still focused on reaching and maintaining an optimum occupancy rate, however smart operational cost reduction using “lean & green tools” is raising more and more eyebrows…Many top hotel chains are into it already!
Starting a new initiative is always the trickiest part as all employees are usually feeling on permanent overload without realising that the root cause of that perceived overload is performing useless tasks or performing useful tasks in an or over processing manner.
Here is how we improved successfully in a few 3-4 stars hotels in India and Thailand:
- A “hands on” site approach is essential and video taking to capture and share the current “as is” situation is a great way to start as in Asia people love seeing themselves on a small/big screen! Essential is to take a video of the same manual tasks performed by different staff during different shifts. Preliminary best practices can often be immediately identified with “low hanging fruits” cost savings. Labor Productivity increase can reach up to 40% in certain departments
- Our recommendation while performing a “lean and green analysis” of the current method of working is to focus initially within 3 sectors only: Energy management, Food & Beverage and Housekeeping. We are following the Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule) which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes and it is a common rule of thumb in business that “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients”…
- As early as possible appoint an internal open minded, unbiased and respected Project team leader able to sell the concept of internal and external customer to team participants so everyone feels getting something out of the exercise
Once we know “where we are” the next step is to define “where do we want to be” by benchmarking labor intensive activities against the best industry practices using Predetermined Motion Time Systems
- Investment needed to close the gap between current “as is” and “to be” stage falls below the 3 following categories: 1/ relocation or refurbishment of existing assets 2/ purchase of new assets and 3/ our reasonable consulting & training fees
- Optimum usage and retention of permanent key staff is of high priority especially in an Industry where workload is non only seasonal across the year but across the week and the day! Multi-tasking which is quite prevalent within the manufacturing sector is making its way into progressive hotels where for example F&B staff are happy to help their housekeeping “partners”. Staff able to perform a multitude of task are paid more, overtime is rarely needed and it is a successful career development tool reducing staff turnover to the minimum
- Specialists Positions like Chefs and Engineers are performing their daily routine tasks but have a job description component specifically related to focussing on doing things better and hence bring more value to all stakeholders
- Outsourced Services especially related to energy management must be supported by a minimum amount of IT hardware & software to trend in real time related usage and be able to call for an immediate action when coming outside the agreed standard
- And of paramount importance is an engaging team spirit where everybody is important even if some high performing stars appears to outshine others…
Here is very interesting example on Return on Investment for Lean Operation in Japan which is where lean was born through Toyota in the automotive Manufacturing sector
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