Friday, February 19, 2010

Lean Services Marketing

Just a quick post here for small businesses in B-to-B services.  Regardless of your knowledge of (or initial interest in) Lean, you can use some key questions to tighten up your service delivery. Why is this important? On-target marketing and delivery of services translates to less costs, increased revenue via more focus on the customer, and more fulfilled employees.  That’s what I’ll help you with here.

First, a brief intro to the concept of waste.  Waste is defined as “any activity that uses resources, but creates no value for the customer” by Natalie J. Sayer and Bruce Williams* in Lean for Dummies.  There are 7 ways that waste manifests in manufacturing companies: transportation, waiting, overproduction, defects, inventory, movement, and extra processing.  Here, we’ll just look at preventing the types of waste that relate to marketing and delivering  services, primarily overproduction, extra processing, and inventory.

To deliver and market B-to-B services efficiently, the small business owner should ask the following questions to reduce waste:

1. Am I producing more (volume) or more options than my clients want? (Even at the proposal stage.)

2. Am I producing deliverables sooner than they need them?

3. What quality levels are required by the clients/customers?

4. What quantity of deliverables/materials do they require? 

5. What materials/deliverables can be re-purposed into something that clients value?

6. Is there anything that needs packaging/promoting to create value in the clients’ minds? 

With the answers to these questions, you can begin to plan with greater efficiency and make better use of your time and resources while ensuring you are meeting client needs.   That, after all, is the benefit and goal of eliminating waste.   


*Bruce spoke last month at an ABPMP-Phoenix event.  This link contains his bio and information about Business Transformation Through IT, co-sponsored by ASU’s WP Carey School of Business’ MSIM Department.  To learn more about our local chapter of the Association for Business Process Management Professionals, visit our website.

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