Lead time is the elapsed time to make one item or provide a service; it includes the time from the initial step to the last step. Understanding what makes up your lead time and what percentage of it is actually adding value to your customers is important. Eliminating steps or activities that add to lead time but add no value to the customers is where improvements can be made.
During a recent kaizen event at the Student Development Complex ticket office, identifying lead time was one of the first steps the team took. The team set out to collect the current lead time for a ticket seller to make one quick sale. They also collected the process steps that went into processing the sale.
In the 15-20 minutes before a hockey game or event, quick lead times are ideal to move hundreds of customers through the line. The kaizen team set out to make improvements to the quick sale process and to update training materials so that new student ticket sellers can catch on quickly.