MPS Fort Mill Customer Service Gemba Walks

The MPS Fort Mill customer service team received training on Gemba walks. This training was completed via a series of go-see visits to the MPS York operation to see an experienced Lean team work the Gemba walk on the shop floor.

In the Fort Mill Customer Services Group, there are over 5,000 open lines at any point in time. This transactional volume is the office equivalent to a manufacturing cell pushing capacity. To help manage the workload, the customer service team was split into two regions to cover the East and West sales regions. The regions are broken down into two teams, each containing one Customer Support Specialist, CSS, and two Customer Account Specialists, CAS. The CAS focuses on customer communication, and the CSS supports the CAS by keeping the CAS current on quotes, RGA, expedites, etc.

As in the factory, Gemba walks help address issues on the spot that are creating waste. For instance, in an insulator manufacturing cell, an operator may not be able to produce product because the cell is waiting (waste) for a component. In customer service, a representative may be waiting to respond to a customer because there is a wait (waste) for information from deeper in the business.

To continue the analogy of customer service and manufacturing cells, the most significant wastes are charted and kaizen events are planned to improve flow. Ideally, customer service should be seamless just as the plant strives for single piece flow.

The Fort Mill office recruited two MacLean-Fogg employees to help conduct these office kaizens.  One is an expert in transactional waste removal and has been an immediate help to the team. The Fort Mill customer service team requests that everyone in the business who interacts with customer service:
1. Responds to requests immediately, and
2. Offers process improvement ideas and ways to create value by participating in kaizen events.