No lack of convincingMany are convinced that the current complexity of our socio-economic society, the complexity in the management of enterprises, and the rapid changes in technology create a need for another way of thinking in order to provide sustainable solutions to customer needs.
Many are convinced that it is important to have customer focus and to consider him as a partner of the organization.
Strategies has to be developed by looking from the outside and not from the inside out.
Many are convinced that cooperation is necessary in order to create customer value through innovation. So we are seeing alliance programs, and other cooperative ventures .
Many also believe that decisions must be supported by objective data and facts from as many sources possible
But what tells us the reality in connection with our customer relationship and the creation of value?
- Most organizations are still structured in departments, with hierarchical structures and little connectivity with the customer.
- Lots of information about customer requirements, satisfaction ... are still found in silo’s . Decisions are therefore made in isolation without considering their the impact on the entire organization.
- Customized action are not centrally coordinated.
- Customer satisfaction surveys are usually only made annually.
- Sometimes it is not clear who the customer is: internal client? Distributor? End -user?
Yet this has been changed by the insertion of the supply chain principle, the lean philosophy, balanced scorecard and value stream mapping, to name a few.
Business Models as the Baldrige Award and EFQM are putting emphasis throughout the organization. to see and connect to the whole through feedback loops.
But in practice, the complete interrelation between the elements are not addressed.
Sustainable value for customers is not the sum of all values in isolation from each other, but the continued value creation through the dynamic interaction of all elements of the organization.
How can we achieve this?
Organizations have to be seen as open systems!An organization (company) is a group of elements (or subsystems, as single parts: people, processes, machines, ...) which are interacting with each other so that they are a dynamic and connected whole, whose action is influenced by elements outside the organization: the environment,the competition , legal laws, etc.
The property of the system 'customer value' stems from the relationship between the components ,having always a purpose for something or someone .
The environment consists of suppliers,customers, competition, market, social and political laws, environmental laws, etc.. All these external factors have interaction with the organization and should also be considered in the valuecreation for the customer .
The behavior of the whole complex system can not be detected by seeing each element in isolation!
A new thought pattern has to be used : systems thinking.Systems thinking is a way to look at the reality, as a series of elements dynamically related to each other, and not just to look at the elements themselves.
Contrary to conventional thinking (linear thinking) systems thinking is focusing on:
- The interaction's
- Identifying positive and negative feedback
- Being Open-minded
- Accepting different opinions and viewpoints
With systems thinking, we have to look how the different customer requirements are connected with each other.
Being aware of the characteristics of systems
- Each system has a purpose in a larger systemEach system has a goal in a larger systemThe organization, is part of a market. Customers are in that market. The market is influenced by socio-economic laws in a particular country. This country belongs to a particular continent, etc.
The customer has its specific purpose in the market.The customer service ensures that orders are carried out smoothly, the production ensures that the products are made on time, quality control department ensures that the products of your organization arev delivered seamlessly to the customer.