8 Wastes in Golf: Transport

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Transportation WasteLast week I identified the eight different types of waste in the golf equipment industry today. In that piece I explained that waste is inherent in most business processes, regardless of industry. the '8 wastes' are an evil all companies must deal with, but one that can be reduced if not completely eliminated. I will dive deeper into each of the eight wastes -- Transport, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-Production, Over-Processing, Defects and Skills -- in a series of posts on this blog. Where appropriate, I will also offer my suggestions to reduce and/or eliminate excessive waste in each category. I hope you will join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comment section below.

Let's start our discussion with the first type of waste: Transport.

Transport -- Excessive Movement of People, Products or Information

The waste of transport is one of the most common forms of waste seen in industries today. Whenever there is excessive movement of people, products or information within a process or business model, waste exists. The key to eliminating transport waste is to first identify and objectify what is meant be "excessive movement."

In the golf industry -- and most industries that are driven by the volume of product sales to the general public -- there is a universally accepted practice to make your products as available as possible. This means building more brick & mortar stores, establishing an online vending service, and even offering a direct-to-customer option. If your target consumer population has more opportunities to buy your product, then more product units will be sold.

Unfortunately, that logic is not entirely sound. The idea that volume of sales will increase as purchasing options increase might sound accurate, but companies have to be very careful with that notion. That brings us to a little concept known as "correlation vs. causation."

Correlation vs. Causation

The concept of correlation suggests that as variable A increases, so too will variable B. For example, as the number of stores for a golf retailer increases, the number of sales for a particular golf club brand will also increase. The inverse would also hold true in a perfect correlation.

But that doesn't mean more stores cause more sales of any specific golf club or brand. The mere presence of more stores isn't enough to automatically sell more golf clubs. There are other variables at play here, such as popularity of a new golf club, customer awareness of that club, the club's overall performance in comparison to other golf clubs, etc.

In other words, we cannot concretely state that more golf club buying options cause more golf club sales.

So what does this have to do with transport waste?

If the mere presence of more options to purchase golf clubs doesn't cause more sales of a particular golf club brand or type, then OEMs would be best served to shift their focus to strengthening factors that do. I can almost feel some of your eyeballs rolling at that suggestion.

Think about all of those Mom-and-Pop bakeries or small scale retailer stores in your town. They haven't branched out into franchises or multiple locations. But customers still walk through the door every day. If a product is really special and truly rises above the rest in terms of performance, then customers will seek it out no matter where it resides. "If you build it, they will come."

Granted, I understand that this is an unpopular opinion to have regarding retail and product sales. But one way to reduce the amount of waste inherent in the golf equipment industry is to limit the places where a product is available in an attempt to control excessive transportation of those products.

If you have to stock less stores with your product, you'll spend less money on inventory and have less excessive inventory, which we will talk about next time.