In this part of the series, I will write more about the training Lean Green Belt I followed. This blog is about a specific topic of the training: customer value.
Customer value is of the highest importance of a lean company. Everything that is done is to add value for the customer, otherwise it doesn’t have to be done. While it is an easy thing to say, it often is hard to practice. Also, what customers actually value, can differ significantly than what you might think.
Usually, I do the groceries myself for I don’t mind going to supermarkets. I like to see and feel the fresh products before buying them. Now that Christmas is coming soon, all supermarkets are advertising with special holiday dishes. That is very nice, wasn’t it that these dishes and snacks are far more expensive than when you make them yourselves with ingredients which are year round available.
A large supermarket in my neighborhood has an extra service of home delivery. You login and place and send the order. For the delivery, you have to pay some extra. This supermarket has some pick up points as well (not in my neighborhood). It surprised me that you have to pay extra for this service as well, but hey, I tried it once because it feels ‘safe’ ordering the products in advance, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, ordering in advance doesn’t mean that you will actually receive all the products. When a products isn’t available at the time of packing, it just isn’t there. It will not be picked from the store itself, because that is a different department. When you’re lucky, the employee will inform you in advance about it and offer you an alternative (like delivery next time you order). I almost suspect that those who make up these rigid rules do their groceries with another supermarket.
So much for customer value.
What have I learned from this example?
- Don’t make up rules for others when they don’t apply to yourself.
- When you make rules, walk them through with a ‘moments of truth’ analysis to see if they are really workable and repeat this on a regular base.
- Offer real alternatives when problems occur; don’t repeat the rules over and over.
- Everyone is somebody’s customer; rigidity may be reciprocal.
Have a lean day.