A real lean thinker behind a truly lean business

I came across a fantastic video almost accidently. I really liked it and thought of sharing it with you. This video features the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos. I like Amazon for the fact every front end activity happen on the web. It is quick and easy to look for and buy things. You will get the help of other people in the form of comments and reviews to make a better decision. You can return the products if they do not feel they are of correct quality. I was looking for their latest Kindle and found this video somewhere in the middle of the page. I was very impressed with what Jeff had to say. I watched the entire video, which was about 40 mins in length. He starts his conversation talking about Kindle, but subsequently he goes into his business philosophy. That is where it all starts to become really interesting.

He basically answers questions like, who you should be looking at when you launch a product. How you can differentiate from others? How you can be the leader in what you do? How the social media is shaping people’s buying decisions? All seems to be a real application of lean thinking. Just have a look for yourself. (Sorry I cannot embed the video here as it is not allowed) please follow this link and find the video in the middle of the page.

Lean manufacturing and customer’s voice

Customer is the most important asset any organization would have. If there is no customer, there is no real need to have an organization. But the problem starts when the organizations grow and they forget about their customers. Organization forget what their customers want and as a result they do not make what their customers want, and end up making what they “think” their customers want. Most of the times, markets have proven that they were wrong. So manufacturer have no other choice but to try making a customer demand with multimillion dollar advertising campaigns. But story do not end there. What about your internal customers?

Everyone in the organization is a customer and a supplier at the same time. For an example, production department is the supplier for the sales department while they act as a customer to the stores and procurement departments. Although not given much thought, these internal customer supplier relationships are critical to the success of the organization too. This is where lean manufacturing comes up with the concept of customer’s voice. For me, voices of both the external and internal customers are equally important. What your customers think about you? Are they happy with your product or the service? Or, are they not? Who are your customers in the first place? What they like in general? If you get all these information how much more value you can add to your customer? How much value you will get in exchange? But the challenge is how to get all these data? Focus groups, market research can give you some insights. But information you gather through these methods are not conclusive and proven to errors.

But the reality is, it is much easier to get all the data about your customer today. You can not only understand what your customers think about your organization, you can also know what your customer thinks about your competitors, what your customers hobbies are and who are their friends and what they like and so on. You can even know how your internal customers like employees and shareholders feel about your organization. This is the power of social media.

For me one of the greatest ways to capture your customer’s true voice is using social media. There are plenty of them and each has their advantages and disadvantages. Today most of the organizations have their Facebook pages, Twitter streams and so on. But these platforms are not used to capture the customer’s voice as much as they can be. This can be due to lack of knowledge, or simple ignorance. Whatever it is, it should not stop anyone knowing more about your customer.

There are number of tools developed to help you in this regard. You can easily capture information you need and analyze them. If you need more information on how to use social media to capture the voice of your customers, you can download the free PDF titled “How Social Networking Can Support Engaged, Customer Centric Retailing”. This is a content rich document by SAP. It will show you the power of social media, and show how you can use the power of social media to get the customer’s opinion, known as customer’s voice in lean context.

To download your free copy, follow the link above, click the Request Now Button. Fill in the required information. You will get the download link in email. Make sure you leave your comments after reading the document.