Lot, a reader of LSS Academy, recently sent the following question in.
“We are actually starting lean six sigma in our bank and I am in charge of the central processing unit of the HO. I am getting a bit confused as to who I should satisfy first and foremost. Should it be the client’s desire or my company’s desire to improve cost and efficiency?”
Whom shall we serve?
Now then… whom shall we serve? The customer or the company? The immediate response most probably expect me to say is, “Um, the customer.” I mean the customer pays the bills, right?
And, in the purest sense, I stand by this advice of serving the customer first and foremost.
Of course, this is easy for me to write even though most reading this also have a boss to please, objectives to meet, and a family to feed. Right or wrong this is reality and those lost in text book theory need to crawl out from under their rock.
<rant> Being blunt, I get annoyed with many of my fellow lean thinking pals who are so far removed from the “real world” that they forget life is more than PowerPoint training slides and 3 month consulting deals. </rant>
All this said… my recommendation is to – of course – ensure everything we do improves the customer experience. Doing anything else will do nothing but harm.
But we must also remember most Continuous Improvement practitioners also need to help their company prosper… even survive in some business climates. This means cutting costs, reducing defects, etc. Of course, one can argue this in turn helps the customer, right?
So, in the end, my advice is to never forget about the customer, as they ultimately keep you employed.
But, at the same time we must also ensure our efforts are also contributing to the long term success of the organization.
Both should work in harmony when done correctly.
What do you think?
This is my advice for Lot. Do you agree with it? If so, why? If not, why?