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Question 1

Most Important Elements of the Process-Improvement Approach:

 Deciding what to measure – letting the employees decide what needs to be measured as a
starting point and then moving to the other areas of the department. Employees are there
day-to-day and understand where there is room for improvement. It will eliminate having
to run an analysis and will get the team engaged.
 Having a common goal and understanding it
o Some supervisors valued customer service vs. cleanliness or other metrics. After
having these meetings, everyone would be on the same page on what is the most
important metric to gauge in each department, and in the casino collectively.
o As well, with each employee and department contributing to the common goal, it
is necessary that they decide together so they can feel ownership of the decision
and embrace the culture. The goal is to produce a self-sustaining system where
employees do the lean-management work for the company by constantly being
o Management should also make it clear to the staff that LEAN efforts did not mean
cutting jobs, but instead improving processes and reducing waste (no human capital
though). The easiest way to do this is by focusing on the benefits to the staff. It’s
not about what benefits the bottom line will see, the message is that the staff will
see better working conditions, easier processes, less wasteful/menial tasks, and a
more enjoyable day at work.
 From the DOWNTIME system
o Waiting – it takes an unnecessary amount of time to get new chips to a table and
there are certainly other times where clients must have to wait for casino staff.
Allowing a consistent flow of transactions (gambling) will ensure people do not get
frustrated and want to leave and will keep the revenue cycle continuous.
o Not Engaging People – this is extremely important in an organization this large,
where there is a lot of interdepartmental collaboration, a consistent flow of shift-
workers, many unsupervised workers (cleaners, room service, servers, etc.), and all
within a service-based industry
 Employees must be able to be constantly identifying areas where clients
may have bad service or where they are unable to do their jobs, or service
will slowly decline to a point of dissatisfaction from clients.
o Extra Processing
 With this casino getting thousands of visitors per day, an extra minute of
unnecessary processing will add up quickly. If there are any insignificant
processes that cost time and resources, those should be one of the first to be
 Gemba walks
o These walks allow teams to bond, share ideas, analyze other departments and
systems, and invest in the common goal. These walks are crucial to the
implementation of a LEAN system. They identified 60 to 80 points of waste in an
average walk. From there, it’s determining within the Waste Prioritization Matrix
which are easy to get rid of and which you may need to keep. The process helps for
cross-training employees and getting fresh sets of eyes on processes.
 The Five Why’s
o This tool is useful for managers who may be unfavourable to change. After asking
the Five Whys for inefficiencies found, it will be difficult to argue with good and
bad processes. Sometimes older/experienced managers are harder to reason with,
as they have too much experience, so asking the Five Whys takes the emotional
component out of the discussion.
 Continual improvement
o There wasn’t enough time to implement all the Try-storming ideas and they created
an ongoing newspaper. Giving employees an on-going item to discuss and analyze
will lead to deeper engraining LEAN processes into the culture. It will also help
with the mindset previously mentioned that employees can look for ways to lean
out processes constantly. For this to work, managers need to be trained on how to
accept (and reject) ideas efficiently and fairly.
 Employee recognition
o Recognizing the employees that noticed the inefficiencies and/or made significant
improvements to their (or other’s) departments will go a long way to making the
culture about being LEAN. The management team can make a measurable time to
do this or create employee incentive plans (LEAN employee of the month, bonuses
for LEAN KPIs, etc.).
Specific Benefits from the Process-Improvement Approach at Tunica
 Team building – All departments worked together in their respective teams and as an entire
culture, which in turn developed their work relation with each other and resulted into
effective coherent group effort. It also allows to start at the ground level and letting people
suggest areas to track and analyze saves time in the Kaizen system.
 Culture –If the employees spend time and effort on analyzing the processes and
efficiencies, they will A.) subconsciously be training themselves to think this way and
adopt the working-style, and B.) be invested into the results of the project, as it is a
reflection on their ideas and work ethic.
 Improved Business Areas - Kaizen helped the Service score improve in all business areas.
Most of the business areas achieved required 3 % shift from score B to score A which is
needed to maximize employee service bonus.
 Waste Management - The Casino formally saved annual cost of $3 million from waste
elimination through recognizing, analyzing and reducing DOWNTIME. A clear
understanding of waste management and inventory management had been developed
through the entire Kaizen events.
 Positive Attitude: The Kaizen events led to positive results and top management supported
LEAN. As a result, Teams and managers grew fond of kaizen events and they started
requesting for more of such events and permission to participate.
Advantages and Disadvantages
 Less resource allocation, not all levels of staff will be required to take part. This leads to
less downtown for business and more work days for the business to generate revenue.
 Brings in more tools to measure efficiency. The experts would have a greater knowledge
in terms of different proceeds and methods to measuring the processes.
 Fresh/unbiased outlook to the process. Bringing in someone who has no stake in the
processes would be neutral and give unbiased feedback. A fresh set of eyes may be able to
see something that those in the industry as used to and miss.
 Best practises from other businesses/industries. They can draw upon other business and
processes they have worked with that may be applicable to the Metropolis facility.
 May receive resistance from the staff. Staff of the Metropolis may not accept “outside”
help in their own process. Having the knowledge, the Tunica facility were able to
implement their own process improvements. Morale may be affected, given the impression
management does not have the same faith in them as the other facility.
 Taking a risk. The employee-centred approach was a proven success, yet the expert-driven
approach has not yet been proven.
 Recommendations that are not feasible. With limited contributions from the staff
themselves, the recommendations that expert-driven approach may not always be
implementable from the staff’s perspective.

Question 2
Challenges, Risks and Solution
Although the Lean management was successful in Tunica, different places have different
culture, work environment and employees. The risk is that Lean management might not be as
successful as in Tunica. In addition, for Metropolis casino, it has slightly different goals. Increasing
competition is an important factor and Illinois state recently passed the legislation permitted certain
enterprises. So, improving satisfaction customer and experiences is important in order to increase
The resource challenges that only 600 employees at Metropolis casino and high-
involvement Kaizen activities could result in insufficient of key service areas. To be prepared,
Metropolis casino leaderships must build close cooperation to ensure full staff on key services area
as well as build trust between the workforce and management. The other challenge is that
employees might not have a clear definition of Lean management. To address this challenge,
Metropolis executive team could prepare a meeting that let employees know the clear idea of Lean
management and consistently communicated that the goals are improve customer satisfaction,
eliminate waste, and increase process effectiveness. Also, building a reward system helps
employees engage in Lean management and increase employee involvement. In addition,
Metropolis executive team could develop Key Performance Indicators according to Metropolis
casino situation to track their Lean management process and make any adjustments to improve the
process. Additionally, it is a great opportunity to educate employees how to solve problems
efficiently and boost employee motivation.