Serving Your Customer: Observation and Feedback [Lessons from The Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 04-06-18

In Part 1 of this series (Going Beyond Lean Thinking to Define Value). I challenged how the lean tenet regarding delivering value to our customer has been practiced.  In Part 2 I wrote for Industry Week, I examine how clearly understanding what the customers value and why they value it helps with waste elimination.  I encourage you to read the article in its entirety here, but I have also included highlights from the article below.

Clear Understanding Leads to Waste Elimination
There are three wastes that are most prevalent when we don’t understand our customer.

  1. Waste of overprocessing
  2. Waste of waiting
  3. Waste of defects

Clear Connections Deliver Value
Once we understand the value, we need to design clear connections to deliver that value. A clear connection for internal customers involves a means for making a request and a means to respond. A well-designed connection should be binary, meaning there is only one way to make a request and only one way to respond.

Eliminate the “Churn Without Results Cycle” by Implementing Effective Feedback
By not asking for feedback, we assume everything is fine and this compounds waste. Using metrics is one of three ways to solicit feedback and you ideally want to build feedback into your processes.  I have a great example of this in the article.

Our work needs purpose to be productive. That purpose is most clearly defined by our customers’ needs and how we deliver value. We must understand it, design for it, and evaluate it if our work is to be both purposeful and productive.