Lean Office

A3 Report Title: 189 Apologies

By Jon Miller Updated on May 30th, 2017

We don’t manufacture automobiles, but I know a bit about how it must feel when automobile companies issue a recall and have to ask many thousands of customers to bring in their vehicles to fix a flaw they have discovered.
We found out last week that between July 2005 and December 2005 more than 1,400 incoming e-mails had been diverted to an unused mailbox on our server. This is appalling.
Out of these, approximately 300 were requests for information and 1,100 were junk mail or spam. This is also appalling.
I would like to apologize again on behalf of my company to everyone who was inconvenienced.
There were 189 people who needed attention, once we took away the duplicate requests and the people who had called in or otherwise contacted us when their e-mails were not answered. Marcie MacRae and Michell Niebuhr from our office spent most of two days responding and apologizing. Kent Bradley also helped out. They did the work of 5 months in less than 3 days. Talk about batch production.
Thanks Marcie and Michell for doing this unpleasant job.
What does a company that believes in kaizen and respect for people do when faced with a problem like this? What they don’t do is ask “Who is to blame?” and fire them right away. One of the things we did is to create an A3 Report to understand the root causes so that we could take root cause corrective actions and prevent reoccurrences of similar problems. Here is how our A3 Report turned out:
Finding the true root cause is the difficult part, and we still have work to do for this A3 Report. As a result of this experience I expect that our customer service will improve.
E-mail is a good way to reach us, but keep in mind that you can always call us if you need to speak to someone. We will help you when we can, and either direct you towards another resource or tell you frankly if we can not help you.

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