Nearly 25 years ago I went to work for a company in a sales position. The mantra of this organization was “customers expect to pay more, don’t disappoint them.” Upon leaving work I needed to take a shower to wash the scum off! Needless to say, it didn’t take long to before I found myself with a new company.
The next company I worked for had a different take on the world. Their philosophy was focusing on the customer first and profits second. In this way they believed we would be able to obtain and more importantly retain customers for life. This approach resonated with my soul and has been my approach in business ever since.
Over a decade ago, I fell into an opportunity to consult with other companies. With me I brought the experience of over 15 years of management and a focus on the customer first. However, I quickly learned when faced with the complex and varied challenges of many of my clients, that taking care of the customer alone was not enough.
Ultimately my path led me to teaching Lean Management techniques. Lean is a different way of managing a business and requires a different perspective.
The most fundamental concept in lean is the understanding that a company does not determine the selling price for its products. The customer or market will determine the price they are willing to pay. If a company does not truly control their selling prices, yet must retain profits, the only thing they can control is their costs.
Lean is about the customer first and providing them the most value possible while continuously working to reduce costs. We achieve our objectives by applying a set of core principles including Kaizen or continuous improvement with a focus of elimination of muda (waste).
While working with multi-million dollar organizations and a couple Fortune 500 companies, I found myself succumbing to the ritual of conspicuous consumption. My family and I became believers in the “we can afford what we can finance” concept and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in debt.
One day while lecturing a millionaire business owner to get his finances under control or risk bankruptcy it dawned on me that I need to listen to my own advice.
On the plane ride home I began to take stock of our financial condition and contemplated that while the numbers were smaller, the same principles apply. Ultimately, it was my customers that determined how much they were willing to pay for my service. If we wanted to gain wealth, the only thing we could control was our costs.
For the nearly a decade we have been committed to our financial future. We applied most of the lean management concepts used by so many successful businesses. As a result, our debt is gone, with the exception of our mortgage which we now focus on along with our long-term goal of a self-funded retirement.
I began this blogging project blindly. Technically speaking I was ignorant, I didn’t even know was an RSS feed was. Related to the content of personal finance, efficiency and development I had no idea how much was already out there.
The more time I spent learning the technical side of it, the more time I spent exploring other blogs in personal finance and productivity, the more I have learned that most of my fellow bloggers are not that much different. Many don’t have a great deal of experience but we all share an intense desire to learn, and more importantly that the real value in blogs is not necessarily our expertise or lack thereof, but the willingness and desire to share what we learn along the way.
My aim it to challenge you to see things with a fresh perspective, if you like to learn new ideas and different concepts, sign up for my RSS feed or enter your email address here to receive updates directly to your inbox. While I don’t tweet often you can also catch me there by following @LeanLifeCoach.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email me, Greg Summers at Contact[@]EliminateTheMuda[dot]com