Let us resume our inquiries, then, dear reader: how would the sources of waste identified by Taichi Ohno apply to a Country Club?


Taichi Ohno’s concept of overproduction normally applies to manufacturing production lines that generate more material than the next phase of production is known to require, “just in case” another order shows up and more units are needed. The Toyota Production System famously eschews this “just in case” mentality in favor of “just in time” production. The idea is that overproduction hides the inefficiency of a process by artificially giving it the jump on demand.

Does this concept transfer to a high-end service operation? As the cunning Mrs. Wilson argues in the film Gosford Park, what “a good servant has that separates them from the others” is “the gift of anticipation.” Your club members expect their needs to be met as soon as those needs arise. Demand will not wait for supply in this case. But that does not mean overproduction is not a real problem at a country club; it just makes it harder to spot. Perfect service anticipates, it doesn’t blindly pad, hedge, and buffer. It requires an intuition for which there is no substitute. If your operation is doing a lot of work in areas where it turns out there was no demand from the members, you may be trying to use inefficient over-production as a substitute for sensitivity to your members. Sympathetic staff and a good member loyalty system can help you to gather information and be ready for what your members will really want next.

You might also consider whether production can be made part of the service. Hibachi restaurants do this by making the preparation of a meal into a performance which is expected and enjoyed rather than resented by the guests.