World-Class, Lean Performance in the SMEs - Small and Medium Enterprises - by Carlo Scodanibbio, Industrial & Business Consultant - Lean Management Consultant

Carlo Scodanibbio
Industrial & Business Consultant
Lean Management Consultant
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main ingredients of the world-class, lean performance formula

World-Class Industrial Culture (Lean Culture)     (more »)
World-Class approach to Market and Clients
World-Class Products and Services     (more »)
World-Class Operations (Lean Operations)     (more »)
Lean Value Chain     (more »)
Lean Human Resources Management     (more »)

world-class approach to market and clients

World-Class approach to Market and Clients - Clients are monsters The world has changed.

Everything has changed: the political, social, economical, technological and informational domains are all affected by change.

A relevant phenomenon - very representative of the change - is the clients' transformation.
After the world has changed, clients have become monsters.
Monsters are never satisfied. They want more and more, day after day.

Clients are human beings, like me and you.
Human beings, after the world changed, are never fully satisfied: they want more and more, in a continuous strive for a better quality of life.

The cultural change has reached any remote corner of this world, and has highlighted the importance of life's quality to all human beings.
We all want more and better, according to our principles and beliefs.

Also monster clients do want more.

Clients want what they want, when they want, at the rate they want, with the features they want....


What monster clients want, after all, is just pure, abundant value. Value they can touch and perceive as valuable. Value in line with their principles and concepts of value.

Enterprises aspiring at world-class, lean status need to understand fully the way Clients have changed, and act accordingly.

A fundamental Lean principle is the identification of Value to clients.
Too many organisations make an enormous mistake in believing that what they think is value to a client is actually and really value to that client. The two, in fact, may differ considerably.

Identifying in full what clients consider real value is a masterpiece.

The starting point is knowing the market and knowing clients. Not through a market survey or a clients survey. Much more than that is required.

As often happens, SMEs do not have the necessary resources (human and financial) to achieve a deep knowledge of the market.

Still, SMEs need to set up a simple but effective strategy addressed to an intimate knowledge of the market in which they operate or intend to operate, by which everybody in the enterprise contributes to understanding and learning - listens to strong and faint signals originating from the market - identifies potential threats and opportunities - and acts accordingly.

All gathered inputs need to be structured organically and rationally.
A number of questions need to be answered (more »).
Phenomena need to be qualified and quantified.
Significant data have to be identified and classified.
From which strategic information needs to be elaborated at operational/decisional level.

Eventually, each Enterprise needs to set-up a personalised, dynamic strategy for its global approach to the market.

  • Corporate principles, values, beliefs and symbols - harmonically homogenised - need to be identified and established/diffused (more »)
  • The Enterprise's Image parameters need to be identified, consolidated, perfected, and then continually supported (more »)
  • A corporate communication strategy needs to be established and diffused at all levels. Its relevant features and methods need to be understood and shared by everybody (more »)

The Enterprise's industrial culture starts being set. (more »)
In its global approach to clients, the SME needs to establish a core paradigm: the client is the key.
Old-world mottos such as "...clients cannot make up their mind...", "...clients don't know what they want...", "...clients are full of nonsense...", or "...clients are only able to mess up our programs..." (to mention just a few) need to be replaced by a simple new-world motto: "...clients are our partners in a venture aiming at reciprocal success...".

The world-class SME needs to become client-driven and has to set up a number of core, operational principles, shared by everybody:

  • Listen to the voice of the Client (more »)
  • Maximise Clients' satisfaction (more »)
  • Manage Clients' expectations (more »)
  • Aim at very high standards (more »)
  • Facts rather than words (more »)

In the client-driven Enterprise, everybody knows the client and everybody is able to relate his/her own work to the client.
From being an external or immaterial entity, Clients become part of everybody's "area of purpose". Everybody knows how to listen to the voice of the client, and everybody knows how to gather significant inputs, for onward processing.

All gathered inputs need to be structured organically and rationally.

The concept "...every Enterprise is today a Service Enterprise...." - serving the monster client - is established and diffused at all levels.

The Enterprise's main output is always service, irrespective of the industrial sector (manufacturing, project...) to which it belongs.

The relationship with clients tends to become mature, adult. The monster starts losing its monstrous features, returning gradually to be a normal human being....

The value-chain concept is extended inside the Enterprise, in a continuum of internal and external supplier/client relationships, all governed by the same client-driven key principles. (more »)

The Enterprise's industrial culture becomes solid, strong, shared, lived - and, most important, lean.

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