Although company losses may be attributed to glitches on the assembly line, raw material scarcities, fulfillment delays, etc., the biggest loss for any organization, whether product- or service-oriented, is its consumers’ loyalty and trust.
In his book, Artzberger uses the example of a catering company that is experiencing challenges related to rising food prices. Elena Halles, owner of a catering business, refuses to compromise her business ethics or reputation by serving her customers any type of low-quality food that might endanger their health. When Elena consults a lean learning coach, he encourages Elena to envision her target market as clientele that will support—and demand—healthy food, expert preparation, and impeccable service.
Lean Principle Number 2, Systemic Waste Elimination, lists “Inventory” as one of the seven types of wastes. To recover its customer loyalty, United may have to forfeit its gaming tactics of overbooking flights. “Defects” is another of the seven types of waste. In an excellent April 14, 2017 Detroit Free Press article by Josh Linkner, “2 lessons businesses can learn from United Airlines,” Linkner attributes United’s placement of policies and procedures above empowering employees to make smart decisions in real time, as its major defect. Linkner, best-selling author and CEO of four tech companies, states that this defect that led to a “massive snafu [that] could have been easily avoided.”
If learning from mistakes is the first item on United Airlines’ reparation agenda, using Lean’s principles and rules as your guide, what are the sequential steps you would recommend the company should take?
 Artzberger, Bill. Powering the Lean Enterprise: Fundamentals of Lean for Super-Charging
Your Company & Your Life, back cover text. Mesa AZ: Dandelion Books, 2016.
 Op. Cit., Artzberger, Bill. Powering The Lean Enterprise, pg. 70.
 Linkner, Josh. “2 lessons businesses can learn from United Airlines”. Detroit Free Press, April 14, 2017. http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/columnists/josh-linkner/2017/04/14/dfp-josh-linkner-0416/100458774/