Good companies concentrate on their end customer, it’s as simple as that. Lean practices can help you accomplish that goal. In this video, Steven explains the importance of demand-driven systems and provides some examples of how Lean is effectively applied in today’s supply chains.
- Every aspect of your business should be focused on your customer. Speaking about Apple, Steve Jobs once said, "Our belief was that if we kept putting "great products in front of our customers, "they would continue to open their wallets." There are two really important concepts reflected in his words. The first is the focus on the customer. We know that Apple's reputation was built by using technology to make products that consumers absolutely love. It's very important to point out that Steve Jobs, Apple, and all good companies have a focus on the end customer, the final customer, the one who is actually using your product.
Probably no one had a feel for what that customer would want more than Steve Jobs. He believed that getting close to the customer was essential to innovation, knowing what his customers would buy. Jobs believed you should get closer than ever to the customer, so close, in fact, that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves. And that's what Apple has done over the years, by putting great products in front of their customers.
They anticipate the products their customers will demand. The second concept in the quote from Jobs is to get those products in front of the customer. No matter how innovative your product is, it has no value unless it is properly delivered to your end customer. That's what supply chain management is all about, moving materials and products and information from suppliers to the producer of goods through the distributors and finally to the end customer. That's what a demand-driven supply network is all about, a network that is driven by demand from the end customer and a system that does its job as efficiently as possible.
The intent here is to pull resources through the system only as they are needed to meet actual or anticipated customer demand. And that's where the principles of lean come in. First and foremost, lean has a focus on the customer and a focus on the processes needed to deliver products and services to that customer. For example, Kaizen guides us towards continuous improvements in all our processes. Just-in-time practices help us to quicken the flow of material through the network.
Quality at the source eliminates defects by making all employees responsible for delivering quality to the customer. Value-stream analysis helps streamline and speed up ordering and delivering processes. These are just a few examples of applications for lean supply chains, or should I say lean demand-driven supply networks? Peter Drucker, often called the father of modern management, once said that "A business exists to create a customer." I totally agree.
But once you have created a customer, your business also exists to keep that customer, perhaps for life. Lean business processes, focused on the end customer, allow the level of service that you need to keep putting those great products in front of your customers.
Lean concepts have been successfully applied to every aspect of doing business. In this course, learn the principles of lean and how they are used in processes, production, and services. Instructor Steven Brown also explains how lean thinking impacts the organization, from the overall business culture to day-to-day work activities.
- Cite the focus of a lean strategy.
- Explain what a “rule of complexity” is.
- Name the three key measures of inventory.
- List the 5S tools.
- Define a lean transportation system.
- Describe the characteristics of a lean purchasing organization.
- Identify the characteristics of a lean company.