If you found yourself walking into a room full of lean thinkers for the first time, you may think everyone was speaking another language. And you’d probably be right. Amidst some recognizable English, you’d probably hear a smattering of acronyms and Japanese words that would probably sounds somewhere between Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam and Klingon.

Jim Womack (Lean Enterprise Institute) introduced a new one to me a month ago and it just today gained some relevance in my life: RFTOT. Over the last couple of days I have been trying to work through and issue with my web hosting company that has resulted in a combination of emails and phone calls that have still not satisfactorily resolved my quandary.

RFTOT to the rescue! What the world needs now is probably not another acronym, but Jim Womack introduced a new one to me in his February newsletter (found here, login required but free). RFTOT is “right the first time on time”. Here’s an excerpt from what he has to say about servicing products:

My conclusion: There is a missing link between the world’s brilliant objects –- now cheaper and better in many cases because of lean thinking applied to their design and manufacture –- and support for these objects through their lives. And Lean Thinkers now need to bridge this gap.

RFTOT is a measurement to determine how frequently customers are serviced right the first time on time. A great metric to solidify trust with your customers…and of course this could be both internally and externally. In my case current issue with my hosting company, my belief is that their focus may be on another metric, which is strictly response time to the concern.

Jim expanded my Japanese vocab today with “yokoten” which is “the term Toyota uses for the horizontal transfer of information and knowledge across an organization”. Jim states that “From the beginning I have wanted LEI to be a force for yokoten”. To back this up, today he announced the launch of a non-profit Lean Global Network at www.leanglobal.org. For great resources and information, check that out and check out his main site at lean.org as well.