Is the customer always right? Yes. Do customers buy your products or services because you have the best products or services? No. Customers buy your products or services because of their experience with buying your products or services. Let me tell you what I mean by using Starbucks as an example.
a Starbucks customer why they go to Starbucks and they'll probably say
it's because the service is efficient, staff is friendly, baristas are
creative, ambience is modern and inviting, facilities are clean, and no
one kicks you out after you've finished your coffee. Customers flock to
Starbucks not so much for the coffee (even though coffee is Starbucks'
main product), but for the experience.
how do they do it? How does Starbucks maintain such a positive customer
experience? They do it by being as efficient and productive as possible
- by eliminating all steps in the process that do not add value to the
customer experience. By applying traditional lean concepts, Starbucks
has been able to increase its operational efficiencies as well as its
competitiveness, and at the same time, improve their customers'
experience. Because they focus on customer value and regularly evaluate
and improve their existing processes, organizations like Starbucks are
successful. This approach to continuous improvement is essential;
especially in today's economic climate.
eliminating waste is not just for profit businesses. Governments are
also realizing the benefits of improved efficiency. I
recently learned that the Government of Saskatchewan has made great
strides in eliminating waste from their processes. For example, their
Farm Land Security Board processing time saw a 93% reduction, their
Livestock Revolving Fund realized an annualized savings of $146K to
$208K, and at the Ministry of Energy and Resources, application
processing time was reduced by 98% - going from 41 days to one day. As
well, by reviewing processes to eliminate waste, the Government's
vertical well processing function was discontinued, since it contributed
no value to current operations.
above are just some examples of the benefits of 'leaning' to gain
customer value and cost and time savings. Whether your organization is a
profit or not-for-profit business, there are only two options available
to you. The first option is to regularly evaluate your operations to
improve efficiency and productivity as part of your organization's
continuous improvement cycle. The second option is to not do option one.
Thriving organizations choose option one.