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  • #51367

    Boom Boom
    Participant

          I am in a Six Sigma role in the Hotel Industry and I am struggling some what to identify areas that could generate financial benefit from process improvement.  I am new to the industry and believe this newness is limiting me some what.  Any ideas on what I might want to look at to find areas of pain.  Please forgive the generality of this post. 

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    #177910

    Mikel
    Member

    Bobby,Are we going back to advertising?

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    #177911

    DLW
    Participant

    Boom-Boom,
    The stock answer, of course, is that ANY process improvement
    should result in some financial benefit to your business operations.
    But you probably are wanting to focus on areas that will produce
    the most significant financial benefit the fastest.The most basic equation suggests that to improve cash flow,
    profitability, etc. you need to either (a) get paid more or sooner;
    (b) reduce or delay your expenses; (c) both.So as a starting point, why not look at areas directly involved in
    money transactions? Then as you get more specific, you can begin
    to problem-solve and identify opportunities.You also probably will want to decide early on whether you want to
    focus more internally (cost reductions, system efficiencies) or
    externally (market share, bundling, added services, etc.)
    DLW – BPEX

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    #177914

    Robert S
    Member

    Just answering questions Stan.

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    #177917

    Mikel
    Member

    Just advertising Bob.I have yet to see you actually offer any viable advice.Try it sometime.

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    #177918

    Mikel
    Member

    DLW’s advice is good and just ignore that Robert S – he is just trying
    to sell you something that has nothing to do with the question you
    asked.I wonder how you are in this role in a new industry to you and not
    getting any advice from leadership. I would ask them why they see a
    need for this role. If they don’t know the answer, I would run like hell.

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    #177920

    RC
    Participant

    Well, really you want to analyze what is known as VOC, Voice Of the Customer. So the customer would be you, internally, or your patrons, hotel guests, external. You want to keep your ears and eyes open for any sort of complaint.I would then investigate that complaint and try to quantify or qualify it in terms of its current performance. This could be Good, Bad, Ugly, or it takes X, Y, Z amount of time to do such and such. Then I would estimate how much this complaint and performance is costing you in a dollar amount and go with the not necessarily the biggest cost but a manageable one. Think “low hanging fruit”. If you start too big, you won’t achieve buy-in from your superiors or your team members. If you start in smaller manageable chunks, you will gain more confidence in Six Sigma and further projects will be much easier to initiate.After you’ve got a target it’s DMAIC time!

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    #178022

    ramblinwreck
    Participant

    Being a Supply Chain/ SS Consultant and traveling a great deal, I have several Suggestions for you. Guests are not enchouraged to be frugel in Hotel Rooms but Hotels do not provide incentives either.
    If you put TV remotes with Sleep timers in all rooms, I would not keep the TV on all night after I fell asleep, saving Electricity.
     Also putting a light kill switch by the bed would make it eaasier for me to turn the lights off at night, vs leaving one or two on because I can’t find the switch or don’t want to get up to turn it off (This is more common in Europe and Asia than the US).
    Also toiletries in hotel rooms seem to me to be a big cost savings opportunity. Liquid soap dispensers on the wall for Shampoo and Shower rinse instead of small disposable bottels would be a good thing. If you can’t convince the Senior Management to go along with this offer guests a free bottle of Water or Can of Soda if they will agree to not have the room restocked with 6-8 items each day such as soap, razors, shampoo ect. In Asia this extends to Duvet covers and Bath mats as well.
    Use reusable Laundry Bags instead of plastic disposable bags. Let guests go online to fill out Laundry forms vs the expensive 3 part forms used.
    Put pencils (like golf pencils) instead of pens in hotel rooms, guests are less likely to take them home.
    In short follow around a maid for 1 day and look at all of the items she replaces in a hotlel room, and figuer out a way to get guests to want to use less or to make the delivery less expesive and more efficent. When your done there, go to the Kitchen and start all over!
     
    Good luek

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    #178026

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Ramblinwreck,here just a few thoughts.Being not exactly a Six Sigma approach to start with solutions, these ideas might provide us with some starting points for improvement areas.
    Energy saving: Given the high energy prices there might be enough potential for a six sigma project. I know of one on the hospitality industry that discovered room reservation policies as one of the root causes. By improved reservation rules (clustering unused rooms to areas), they were able to temporarily switch off electricity in unused areas of the hotel.
    At least in european hotels, costs of building and personel are typically the biggest cost drivers. Go for projects for example dealing with employee efficiency.
    Your idea with the pens: It´s possibly intended to give pens away with the name of the hotel on it. But it´s good to question whether the originally intended effect is still wanted or deemed necessary.Maybe worth a project on reducing costs peer room and night (with a little additional focus to keep it manageable).An additional tip for Boom-Boom: Ask management for solution ideas or failed and intended improvement activities. From that you should go back to the “real” question or need that you can use for a singular six sigma project or a whole programNorbert

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    #178032

    nancy
    Participant

    I am not in the industry but was in Food and Beverage for many, many years.  You need to find out what mistakes you are making now.  Track customer complaints and the things that bother your customers.  If possible, speak to bell hops and valet people.  Chances are, those people hear it directly from the customers.  A best guess would be to stream line your check in service and make sure customers know where to park when checking in.  That is always a concern for me when I check in.
    Hope this helps
    Nancy

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    #178038

    howe
    Participant

    I have several questions. How large is the hotel? Is it a major chain and if so how many hotels? Does each hotel have their own process and procedures that they follow or do they have a corporate process and procedure in place that each hotel is suppose to follow? If each hotel has their own process and procedures is there a difference between a older hotel and a new one? If so what are they?
    Have you went to one or two of the hotels and visited all the departments and spent time with them to see what they do day in and day out? If not you need to get out there and spend time with them.

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    #178042

    Angi Lee
    Participant

    All great suggestions thus far, may also be worth sitting down with whoever is familiar with the hotel budget and see where some of the largest spends are occuring, next determine the processes that generate the outputs causing those expenses, and then look for improvement opps in those processes. 
    One improvement specifically for hotels is the reusing towels notes that are placed in bathrooms. 
    Hope this helps!

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    #178045

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Boom-Boom,
    You need to find out what someone expects from your work. There has to bee a lot of ways to reduce cost and you can go over the financials and seee where there are opportunities. Pretty simple. The problem may come in when at the end of the year they want to see what you have done to improve customer satisfaction. It isn’t all that uncommon to be able to cut your cost and have absolutely no effect on the customer or worse a negative effect.
    You might write down some of the stuff you see here and take it with you when you go to see whoever it is you work for. It will create the impression you have put tome thought into it. At the end of the day what matters is what that person says.
    If you are listing pet peeves tell the people at the front dest to stop asking people after midnight if they can help them. It is a stupid question. Of course they can help. How many people just wander up to a registration desk after midnight. Try something a little more logical like “What may I do to help you?”
    When someone comes in at 6 or 7 am and asks for a wakeup call at 6 they are speaking about an afternoon wakeup call. That should have to be explained.
    Just my opinion

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    #178051

    Devorah
    Participant

    Hi Boom-Boom,
    In order to make an improvement you need to know where you are starting from (benchmark).  How many rooms do you have available to sell on any given day (look at records going back 6 months to a year and try to find a trend). If you have lots of rooms available, either sales needs to bring in more conventions/parties, or you need to think about running specials. That would definitely have a financial impact. If your room occupancy is good, or close to capacity all the time, then look at other departments, and do the same thing (restaurant, room service, meeting rooms, all the same applies). The point is that you have to know where you are starting from, and decide if you are where you need to be in comparison to others in your industry. So, if you have 100 rooms available on a Wednesday  – how does that stack up against the other 3 hotels in your area?  You can then decide if that is “normal” or if you can take some competitive advantage by offering something the others don’t. Or you can decide that normal is ok for you, and you can move on to something else. I do it by a process of elimination, one idea/process at a time, until I find what would make the most financial impact. In my experience there are always tons of things that can be improved upon, so almost nothing you improve will be wrong. You just need to find what process is the “most” broken and start there.  Doing something more efficiently than what is currently being done has lots of financial impact beyond “hard” savings. Sometimes there are “soft” savings (like freeing up someone to do something else instead of doing re-work).
    Lastly, looking at customer feedback is important too. If there is a trend in complaints, for sure look at that/those issue(s) and see if that would cause a guest to not return to the hotel. Sometimes just making something easier for a guest will make them more likely to return (like faster check-out, or a 24-hour concierge). You will get a lot of good information from that feedback. Pick the top 3 complaints and see if a process needs to be changed, or something added or taken away, and decide if these are important enough to make a financial impact (usually the answer is yes).
    I hope that helps…

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