I’m a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Recently Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (the ‘Hero of the Hudson’) was a guest on the show.
Jon Stewart brought up a part of Sully’s book (Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters) where Sully had mentioned that his copilot had to leaf through the index of the emergency manual to find the section on emergency water landings.
What is notable is that Sully said that the book previously had tabs in it to help pilots find the right information in emergency situations, but the tabs were no longer used because of cost reduction reasons.
That cost reduction might have seemed like a good idea in a conference room. But at a critical moment in the cockpit, those tabs, and the precious few seconds they could have saved, are a valuable resource to the pilots who are trying to make split-second decisions that are going to affect a lot of lives.
The Lean lesson in all this? Before doing any cost reduction, make sure that the efforts are transparent, or at the very least inconsequential to the customer.