The Engine of Kaizen in Lean Sales and Marketing


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In a recent tweet from @Kevin_Meyer he expanded on a comment that he left on a Lean Blog about ISO vs Std Work . His tweet said,

What I forgot to mention is that the job breakdown aspect of TWI became our engine of kaizen. A little different than the norm.

I intended to respond to him but felt that the 140 characters of Twitter just might not be enough.

In a recent blog post, I started discussing the PDCA conversation. In the post, I discuss how we split the PDCA cycle in half with one side being the Performer (Seller) and the other side the Customer. Read more about this in the blog post, Sales and Service Planning with PDCA. In a later post, PDCA Planning: Determining Customer Touchpoints, I took this conversation a step further and demonstrated how this applies in a B2C or a B2B environment.

As a Lean company, most will invest time and money on reducing waste and improving flow through ridding ourselves of non-value added tasks with tools such as Value Stream Mapping. We use the tired old words that value is what a customer will pay for (Ref: Value can no longer be defined as What a Customer will pay for!).

Most organizations struggle on how this type of thinking applies to Sales and Marketing. Sure, we can apply this thinking to office systems and into call centers, but into Sales? When we typically think of conversation in Sales and Marketing, we think about scripts, SPIN Selling and of course, ABC (Always be closing).

Lean Engagement Team

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you understand that I look at PDCA as the culture of Lean and therefore, a necessary ingredient for a Lean company. The way I understood Kevin Meyer’s (Evolving Excellence) quote: “job breakdown aspect of TWI became our engine of kaizen,” is that culture was driven by the very basic structure of work at the place of work. So, what is the engine of Kaizen for Sales and Marketing? It is the conversation with the customer.

The quality and depth of this conversation drives Sales and Marketing. I might venture to say that this engine should be the driver for the entire company. In the PDCA Conversation, the Plan and Do is the Performer side and the Check and the Act is the Customer (more detail in the blog post, Sales and Service Planning with PDCA). The conversation is Gemba, the place of work and where our culture must develop from. The PDCA Conversation is where PULL begins. I question how someone could consider themselves a Lean Enterprise without Lean being applied in Sales and Marketing.

Could I have done it in 140 characters?

P.S. If we would build our leading indicators from the PDCA conversations, I believe it would accelerate our growth in the market place.

Lean Engagement Team(More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.


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