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Customer Manufacturing Group
In This Issue
Speed vs Process
Social media
Jack Welch
A fable
More Information 



Speed vs Process


The notion of corporate processes has resulted in a great deal of discussion lately. 


There's just no time to do things in the old-fashioned, step-at-a-time way in a NetSpeed economy, the argument runs.


Today, instead of ready, fire, aim, fire, or even Tom Peter's famous ready, fire, aim, the practice has become fire, adjust, fire again.


The very word 'process' has, in many people's minds, become suggestive of the lumbering, slothful bureaucracies of the corporations that are dead or dying on the horizon of the 21st century.


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Customer Manufacturing Update
August 2012

Dear Mitchell,


Here is your August Customer Manufacturing Update. The role of process in helping to create sales continues to adapt. Every process is perfectly constructed to produce the results it does. In this month's paper, Process Management in the NetSpeed Era, we look at the rise in the importance of understanding how processes make the right things happen. 
Social media is a tactic, not a strategy

What's your social media strategy is the wrong question. The right question is whether and how to use social media tactics to help you grow. Companies grow from:

  1. Creating new customers
  2. Increasing share of customer or share of walOld Spicelet
  3. Retaining more customers

Smart companies decide which of these three is their most important focus and develop a strategy and tactics to support that focus. Let's look at a particularly high-profile social media campaign to understand how this might work: The Old Spice Guy.


There is no question that this campaign created a lot of buzz and attracted a lot of eyeballs. The question is: What was the strategy it was supporting? It would seem clear (at least to us) that Old Spice was trying to attract new customers. Their brand had gone "stale" and their long time users were aging out of usage. (That's our PC way of saying they are dying.) To resurrect the brand, Old Spice needed to attract new customers, and they were smart enough to realize that "It's Not Your Father's Old Spice" was not going to get it done.


There does not seem to be any question that the tactic worked at getting trial. Old Spice sales were up dramatically after the launch of the campaign. The question is: Will they stick? Don't know, can't say, maybe too soon to tell (though we believe the Old Spice people know, even if they are not saying). If the customers don't re-buy then the product was not positioned correctly for the audience created.That is a marketing problem and perhaps a strategy problem.


The social media tactic brilliantly supported the new customer acquisition strategy of getting initial trial. If the product is right for the target audience, success should be at hand. Then it may be time to work on increased share of wallet, and maybe, eventually, retention.


Was Jack Welch really an exceptional CEO?


Jackl WelchSeems like an heretical question, but it is serious. There is no doubt that he did a great job increasing the value of GE for its shareholders. However, he is also credited with creating a highly vaunted management program that produced outstanding leaders. If that is true, why is it that none of his direct reports has been a successful CEO?


One of the jobs of the CEO is to make sure there is a highly competent successor. Under the GE system, one was led to believe that there could have been more than one. In truth, the one selected has not proven to be a successful CEO for GE, and those who were passed over and went to other companies as CEOs, only distinguished themselves by the bad job they did.


So, again we ask, was Jack Welch an exceptional CEO?


Now That's Customer-centric  


As airports renovate they are trying to find novel ways to offer added value for their traveler. San Jose Airport's Terminal B has seat power in many of the waiting area seats at the gate. No need to look around for a wall plug or hope there is one. Very thoughtful.SJC to


Mitch saw a very useful idea recently at the Salt Lake City Airport (SLC), which he had not seen elsewhere, though that is not to say it does not exist elsewhere.


Most major airports ins the U.S. have a "cell phone" lot where you can wait to pick up your arriving passengers until they call to tell you they have arrived. Saves circling baggage claim or just sitting there hoping the parking thug doesn't notice you and move you along.


At SLC they have installed a HUGE flight status board, which allows you to see what the arrival status is of the flight you are waiting for. Pretty cool. Unfortunately, we are sure it is still updated using the same system that "lies" to us inside the airport, but it is still an excellent customer-focused idea.

All Process Improvement is Not Lean Thinking?


Our friend Bob Caveney shared with us a story he had recently heard. It may be one you have heard before, but it got us thinking about lean and process improvement approaches and how they are applied by various companies.


A guy was busy mopping the floor one evening in a company. An exec walked by and asked, "Why are you mopping the floor?" His response was, "Because it's dirty, and our company values don't allow a dirty floor, and this area performs better if the floor is clean."


Ok so far as it goes. How would you go about improving the floor mopping process? With a re-engineering approach, we might look at how we could automate the process and remove the worker. Perhaps a Roomba floor mopper would work?


With a process improvement, U.S. fad-managment focused company, this would be their umpteenth (that is a technical term our moms taught us that means a lot) process improvement project, so they would assemble a process improvement team (that might even include the mopper) and see how they could improve the process.


They would start by mapping the "as is" process and look for waste in the process. They might even ask what outcome the process was trying to produce to make sure the "to be" process produced the same outcome (or better).


But, how about a truly "lean thinking" company that actually understood lean thinking and the culture it implies? How would that company approach this question? Simple, the mopper himself would be asking "What is causing the floor to be dirty in the first place?" He would know that if you can eliminate the root cause of the problem, mopping, an inherently non-value-added activity, would be eliminated. And he would do that without worrying about losing his job, because he wouldn't.


That is the fundamental difference between true lean thinking and the current fad-based lean thinking that is making the rounds.

Free Reading Guide

If you have a copy of our book Value Acceleration, you can download a free reading guide to help you and your team get the most from the book. (And btw, the book has been updated for 2012 and is also available in a Kindle edition.)

We appreciate your feedback to help improve these

Updates. If there are others you feel would benefit from this issue, use the Forward email link just below on the left.





Mitchell Gooz


Customer Manufacturing Group, Inc.


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