In today's competitive world, manufacturing companies want to make a profit by selling their products at a higher price than their production cost. However, achieving this objective is not as simple as it seems. In this article, we will discuss how companies can achieve success in lean manufacturing by adopting a customer-driven approach.
The Basics: What Do You Need to Start?
Before we dive into the customer-driven approach, let's start with the basics of lean manufacturing. A manufacturing company needs four things to produce a product: a place to make the product, people to do the work, materials to make the product, and machines and tools for people to use. These basics are essential, but they are not enough to achieve success.
The Customer: The Heart of Lean Manufacturing
At the core of lean manufacturing is the customer. A company cannot achieve success if it does not have a customer who is willing to buy its product. Customer satisfaction is the number one indicator of a company's success. Therefore, it is essential to measure all activities from the customer's point of view.
The Problem: Lack of Customer Understanding
Unfortunately, some companies do not understand the value of their customers. They claim to be customer-driven but fail to meet their customers' demands. For example, some executives boast about their customer-centric approach but fail to deliver on their promises. They cannot meet their customers' delivery date requests because they consider them unrealistic.
The Solution: Meeting Customers' Needs
The solution to this problem is simple. Companies need to give their customers exactly what they want—no more, no less. They should manufacture goods according to their client's uses. This approach ensures that the customer is satisfied with the product, which leads to repeat business.
The Case Study: Ignoring the Customer's Needs
To illustrate this point, let's take a case study. A manufacturing company lost a major job that it had bid on to a competitor. The competitor's price was significantly higher, and it had a longer lead time. The company believed that a lot of politics were involved in awarding the project and that performance was not always the deciding factor.
Upon closer inspection, it became clear that the company had lost the job because it had completely ignored the customer's specific description of the desired product. The company had chosen to submit a bid that ignored the newly specified characteristic. Its price was lower, its lead time was better, and its quality was excellent. However, the customer was not interested in the product design the company had submitted.
The Lesson: The Importance of Customer-Centricity
The lesson to learn from this case study is clear. Companies should never ignore their customers' specific requirements. They should always strive to meet their client's uses, no matter how complex or unrealistic they may seem. By adopting a customer-centric approach, companies can achieve success in lean manufacturing.
In conclusion, the key to success in lean manufacturing is to adopt a customer-driven approach. Companies should give their customers exactly what they want—no more, no less. By doing so, they can ensure customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business. Remember, the customer is the heart of lean manufacturing.
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