My Mini

A few months ago, I got a new Mini. Very exciting as my old car was almost 20 years old. Minis are made to order and shipped from England, so it was a 3 month wait. Worth it. But after a couple of weeks, the back bumper looked crooked and rubbed on the tailgate, causing the bumper to get scratched. I took it back to sales, who asked me to speak to warranty. Warranty passed me onto service. Mini service was being renovated, so I had to go to BMW service a couple of km away. Service took it in, gave me a BMW hire car and passed it onto their body shop. I rang service every week to see how my car was getting on and eventually 5 weeks later I was told that it had been fixed.

I went in to pick up my Mini and the bumper looked the same. Still crooked, but the scratch marks had disappeared. I pointed it out to the service man, who called over the warranty woman. They both looked at it and agreed that it had not been fixed. So I left in the hire BMW and my Mini went back to the body shop for another go. Another week later, I picked up my car. All fixed. But a few days later it was crooked again.

This time I went straight to the body shop. They fixed it on the spot. But after a few weeks later the bumper was crooked again and getting scratched again. I took it back (again). They booked it in for another visit to the body shop, another respray and I had another hire car for 2 days. This time, however, they appeared to get to the root cause of the problem – a faulty┬ábumper clip – which they replaced. The bumper is now straight and doesn’t rub on the tailgate.

As a customer I had to deal with 4 departments: sales, warranty, service and body shop. They all had different priorities on cost, time and quality. Body shop told me they had a spare bumper and wanted to replace it, but warranty told them to fix the original. Service was telling body shop it was urgent, but there was no follow up to get it back to me. I just wanted my car fixed within a reasonable timeframe.

Some lean concepts or tools highlighted by this:

Value Stream Mapping – if Mini looked at the number of people that had to interact with the customer, they might reconsider their process.

Misaligned KPIs – warranty, body shop and service all appeared to have had different things being important to them.

Right First Time – obviously if the bumper had not been faulty at the beginning, there would have been huge cost savings for Mini/BMW.

Communication – So important. Communication both between departments and with the customer could have been better.

Waste – DOWNTIME – Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Not utilising talent, Transport, Inventory, Motion, Excessive processing – at least 5 wastes identified here.

The whole experience did make me wonder whether Minis and BMWs were expensive because they were great cars and therefore provided value for money or whether they needed to cover the wastes in their processes.

I still love my Mini, though.