Monday, September 29, 2003

Opening Our Eyes to Value

When Jim Womack and Dan Jones wrote the seminal work on Lean, Lean Thinking, their key first point of Lean is to understand value, as the customer would describe it. Then, any activity that does not add value is target for removal.

So, what would you do if 50,000,000 of your customers said they did not want something you were offering? Wouldn't it seem to give you a clue about value, or lack thereof?

It would for most of us, but this fact seems to be lost on telemarketers. So, the President just signed into law legislation granting authority for the No Call List to go into effect.

And the telemarketers are screaming.

And all the rest of us are smirking.

But, I don't think we should be so smug. Why try to remove the proverbial "speck" out of the telemarketers' eye without first finding the "log" in our own.

The sobering part of this ongoing saga is that each of us are probably missing similarly loud and conclusive statements by our customers. And while those statements may not attract the attention of the public, Congress and the President, they are every bit as significant to our own company's future.

Customers will tell us what they value or don't value. Will we listen? Will we grasp our customers' view of value any better than those folks who still seem bent on interrupting our supper?

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

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