Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lean Tip: Market Disruption

If you are comfortable with the status quo, don't do lean. If you are currently happy with your "return on investment" of your business, don't do lean.  If you don't have the energy or willpower to engage every single person in your business to challenge every process in your business to DELIGHT, (not satisfy) your customers, don't do lean.

The primary objective of lean is "to leverage operational excellence to cause MARKET disruption." I define market disruption as being so incredibly good at delighting your customers that your competitors are left scratching their heads, asking themselves, "how can they possibly do that?" Meanwhile, your customers line up and are willing to pay more to do business with you. It doesn't involve things like "great quality" or "on-time delivery". These are things your customers expect to get when they send you a don't get a cookie for doing the things you are supposed to do. Market disruption involves understanding why you are in business and doing it like you were born to do it. It is about making your company the easiest to do business with. Lean is about being able to deliver faster and more reliably by eliminating the 8 wastes so that nothing is left but value! 

I'll give you an example here in New Haven, CT. There is a pizza place called "Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana". This pizza place was established in 1925, and is widely recognized as one of the best pizzas you will ever eat.

What they don't say in the article is that on any given Friday or Saturday night, if you decide to get a pizza from Pepe's in New Haven, plan on waiting outside for your turn to get a seat (too small for a waiting area). They give you a number and then you have to go wait outside until they call your number. Sounds like fun in May or September in New England, not so much in February. Not so much in sleet or freezing rain. But people have been doing it for decades. When you are finally anointed to come in, don't expect to order veal  parmigiana. They don't sell it. Spaghetti? Nope. General Tsao Chicken? Nope. Just the best pizza they could possibly give you. Every single time. No specials, no two-for-ones, no half-off Tuesdays. I can't even tell you if it is a bargain or not, because I never really cared or thought about it. After you order, the pizza comes fast and fresh, because all they do, their reason for being, 
Think about your own business. Why do your customers do business with you? What makes your offering meaningfully unique? What are you better at than any of your competitors? I(If nothing comes to mind, you need to compete by being cheapest). 
Simply engage every single person in your business to improve what makes you meaningfully unique by slowly and steadily driving out those things your customers won't pay for.....the 8 wastes (defects, overproduction, waiting, non-essential processing, transport, inventory, motion and unused brainpower).
If you want results that others don't get you need to be willing to do things others won't do. A relentless, laser-like focus on delighting your customer is one of those things. 

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