Lean Six Sigma for Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Jiju Antony, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Keywords: Lean Six Sigma, Hospitality Industry, Operational and Service Excellence

Industry: Hospitality

Level: Basic

ABSTRACT

Hospitality is an important economic activity in most countries around the world. Hospitality’s contribution to the world economy has grown for the fifth consecutive year and is expected to show even stronger growth in 2016. Last year, Hospitality not only outpaced the wider economy, but also grew faster than other significant industries such as financial and business services, retail and distribution, public services, and manufacturing. The direct contribution of Tourism and Hospitality to GDP in 2015 was USD 2451.1 bn. Moreover, the sector has generated over 107 million jobs in 2015 (3.6% of total employment). This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported.

Identifying and meeting the specific expectations of customers and delivering high-quality service to customers in Hospitality industry are imperative for achieving and sustaining competitiveness. Implementing Lean Six Sigma in hospitality business will make processes efficient and effective which will lead to increased customer satisfaction, and improved product and service quality. It will also aid in the identification, reduction and elimination of process deficiencies which in turn will lead to better employee morale and satisfaction. Issues of intangibility, perishability, heterogeneity and simultaneity of production and consumption of the hospitality product makes delivery of hospitality services and processes extremely challenging compared to manufacturing processes.

Lean and Six Sigma are two popular and dominant process excellence methodologies widely adopted by a number of manufacturing and service organisations for achieving process efficiency and effectiveness, which results in superior customer service experience, superior product and service quality, enhanced business profitability, and sustainable competitive advantage3. Lean does not typically utilize statistical control and capability to improve operational processes. Six Sigma, on the other hand, can benefit from Lean thinking, particularly in the areas of elimination of waste and acceleration of process flow. For these reasons, practitioners of Lean and Six Sigma began merging the two approaches into Lean Six Sigma (LSS). Service industries such as hospitality can adopt business process improvement initiatives such as Lean Six Sigma to provide distinctive, authentic and higher value customer experiences and develop competitive advantages.

The key take-aways from the presentation include:      

  • Fundamental concepts of LSS in Hospitality industry
  • Challenges in the implementation of LSS in Hospitality Services
  • Benefits of implementing LSS in Hospitality sector
  • Examples of applications of LSS in Hospitality industry
  • Future of LSS in Hospitality sector


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