It’s important to remember that Lean is not all about cost-cutting. It’s a valuable tool to help you grow your business. To me, Lean is learning about the purpose, process and people involved in your business. It’s about designing systems that respond to your customers’ needs, and increasing your capacity so you can meet those needs. But remember, there is a big difference between a want and a need – the customer might want a drill, but what he really needs is a hole!
In order to find out what your customer needs, you have to talk to them – keep in mind that your customer could also be the next department in the flow. As a starting point to clearly understanding customer requirements, I tend to use the Kano model and questionnaire. The Kano model looks at the “Must-have”, “Should-have” and “Could-have” attributes that customers expect in relation to your products/service. For a more detailed explanation of the model, read or download our pdf on The Basics of the Kano Model.
Remember the more you understand about your customer, the more you can do for them, the more you can sell them, and the less time you spend on unnecessary activities.