Living Lean: Peter Goes Shopping

7 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2017

See all articles by Elliott N. Weiss

Elliott N. Weiss

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Peter Wilbert

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

This case is part of the "Living Lean" series, which presents accessible, everyday scenarios for a Lean process-improvement journey. In this episode on optimal reorder quantities, an unemployed procurement manager enlists the support of a neighbor as he applies Lean principles to household purchasing habits.

Excerpt

UVA-OM-1462

Rev. Nov. 15, 2013

Living Lean: Peter Goes Shopping

Peter Orville was a Darden MBA for Executives student who was currently between roles. Previously, he had been an operations and logistics manager for a Dallas-based hardwood lumber, millwork, and flooring supplier. In this role, he had negotiated the procurement of a variety of resources. He enjoyed the process of establishing optimal reorder quantities as well as those aspects of his job that allowed him to establish and improve upon processes. His motto while on the job was always that of a gemba-walk proponent: “Go and see,” he'd say. He believed that it was only by personally observing and dissecting each aspect of a critical business process that he could truly eliminate wasteful or duplicative activities and optimize any given process in the service of a particular business goal.

Lately, Peter had been spending a good part of each day sending out his résumé and communicating within his professional network, but he still had plenty of time to glance around at the workings of his own household. Due to the fact that he was between jobs, he and his wife, Mary, had shifted to cost-cutting mode in an effort to maintain their standard of living. Peter, therefore, had both the opportunity and the motivation to streamline and optimize the ways in which he and Mary purchased and used consumable goods. He considered this project not only necessary from a financial standpoint but also a way to exercise his professional skills. No sense in allowing my game to slip, he thought to himself.

One morning midweek, Peter was pulling several recycling containers out to the curb when he ran into his neighbor, Paul Wright, who was hauling his green bins out to the street at the same time. Paul was a consultant for a restructuring firm that helped streamline companies' operations while they were under bankruptcy protection. He didn't deal primarily with the financial underpinnings of a company; instead, he worked to improve operational efficiency where needed and appropriate for the bankruptcy workout plan. He was between assignments at the moment, as well, and preparing to head to Shanghai the following week to assist with a multinational-company project there. Today, however, he was simply carting his recycling out to the curb like every other suburbanite.

. . .

Keywords: gemba, waste, muda, streamline

Suggested Citation

Weiss, Elliott N. and Wilbert, Peter and Goldberg, Rebecca, Living Lean: Peter Goes Shopping. Darden Case No. UVA-OM-1462. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974976

Elliott N. Weiss (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/direc_detail.aspx?styleid=2&id=4375

Peter Wilbert

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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