Can you recall who said this? This quote came from the quality guru W. Edwards Deming related to how and why the allies eventually won WWII. Great historic battles are remembered as turning the tide in the war. However, one not that often remember ingredient of success was the continuous focus on improving the quality of materials of war that Dr. Deming was working on.
You can’t win a firefight with wet powder.
So how to make sure your rounds are dry all the time and rations are provided on a global scale continuously? Ironically, based on these learnings Deming later taught their greatest foe Japan and Toyota how to become more innovative and efficient. So what can we learn from this?
The battle in business is fierce every day. In a longer time perspective, only 12% of Fortune 500 from the 1950’s are still active today.
Many companies fail to survive because they lack the agility to renew, innovate and improve continuously the daily practices and processes in a changing world and match to changing customer demands (e.g. check this article on KODAK). The winners of tomorrow try to continuously keep their powder dry.
I previously commented about the pitfalls of not being Lean. In my experience, there are a few key things to ensure survival also in the future
1. IDENTIFY KEY CUSTOMER JOURNEYS AND MOMENTS OF TRUTH. Do we understand who are our customers and what are our critical customer journeys? Where are the biggest pain points for our customers and on the other hand where are the biggest gain points where we create most value? These are the moments of truth where we need to ensure the customer experience is managed consistently.
2. STREAMLINE PROCESSES TO DELIVER CONSISTENT EXPERIENCES. To ensure great customer experiences consistently, we need to have streamlined processes that support the moments of truth efficiently and predictably. A great experience needs to be delivered every time.
3. ACT AS A START-UP: TEST, ITERATE AND IMPROVE CONTINOUSLY. Agility means that we proactively test, learn and improve the solutions we conceive. Test on small scale and worry about scaling up later. Success sells, so once you have a working solution scaling up becomes something everyone wants to be a part of. Start-ups aren’t worried in the beginning about becoming global, they worry about somebody liking their idea.
So ask yourself three things: 1) Do you know your customers and their critical journeys, 2) How are you streamlining processes systematically to deliver a great experience every time? 3) Are you able to rapidly test process changes to evaluate their success?
If you answer yes to all these questions I congratulate you, and might even be interested to invest some money in your company. If not, then ask yourself why? If you want to discuss more about creating Lean customer experiences let’s be in touch.
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