/How we slashed waiting times for our customers

How we slashed waiting times for our customers

VIDEO INTERVIEW – A store manager explains how a simple kaizen reduced waiting times for customers who want to return products. We use today’s video to launch our Lean Improv contest.

Words: Zsolt Móczik, Deputy Store Manager, Praktiker Hungary

As a company, we want to make it easy for our customers to return products, should they wish to do so. So, when our transformation started, shortening the time it took them to return items quickly became a lean project at one of our stores in Budapest.

By observing the process, we realized that our Information Desk staff (those who in contact with customers returning products) wasn’t equipped to effectively and swiftly answer the query. They didn’t have the information they needed in order to make an informed decision on whether a product could be returned (if it’s been used, for instance, we don’t take it back), and as a resulted they used to rely on the salesperson from the area the product originally came from.

Not only did this mean a long wait for our customers, but also that our salespeople spent a staggering 51 days a year walking back and forth from their areas to the Information Desk, just to complete a process that other staff could have done… given the right information.

Take a look at this video to learn how we fixed the problem.


Calling all lean thinkers! Planet Lean wants to help you celebrate the contribution of your front-line employees to the achievement of your organization’s True North. Today, we are launching our Lean Improv contest. Put one of your lean people (whether an operator, a team leader or a middle manager) in front of a camera – a smartphone will do – and video them as they explain the best/most creative/most impactful lean improvement they have led or participated in.

A few guidelines:

  • Videos cannot exceed 3 minutes.
  • If you don’t have professional equipment, you can shoot your video with a smartphone.
  • We are not looking for professional videos. Just make sure it is easy to see the person and hear them talk.
  • The person in the video should be a front-line employee, or a middle manager at best. We want to celebrate their work!
  • The kaizen chosen to appear in the video should be the person’s favorite, most creative or impactful improvement.
  • The video should explain the initial situation the kaizen aimed to improve, share details on the improvement itself, and outline the impact it had on the process.
  • Feel free to take inspiration from today’s video, in which Zsolt outlines the improvement he facilitated at Praktiker Hungary.
  • We welcome submissions in all languages, but ask that you add English subtitles to your videos should you not shoot them in English.
  • Show, no tell. As much as possible, show us boards, tools, graphs or physical changes you have implemented.
  • Make sure you don’t share or show information you can’t disclose. By sharing your videos with us, you implicitly grant us permission to publish them (should they win the contest).

Once you have your three-minute video, send it to contest@planet-lean.com (we recommend you use a platform like WeTransfer to send what’s likely going to be a rather large file). The top three kaizens – selected by our exclusive panel – will appear on Planet Lean as part of a special feature in the autumn. They will also be published on PL’s YouTube account.

The deadline for submissions is September 21st. For any questions, contact us on contest@planet-lean.com


Zsolt Móczik is the Deputy Store Manager of a Praktiker store in the outskirts of Budapest.