Bridging the Gap (Industrial Age > Customer Age)

During my encounters with global business leaders, I am frequently asked the question of what is the difference between Lean Six Sigma (LSS) and Customer Experience Management Method (CEMMethod™), a dynamic approach for helping people and enterprises successfully embrace and realise the benefits of the Customer Age. 

 Often the question is prompted as a consequence of the huge investment many large corporations have made into up-skilling their people and processes to LSS. Many times those same executives are querying the return on those investments and hence now looking at more progressive alternative approaches to evolve their business performance.
For those familiar with Outside-In thinking and practice the difference is fundamental however if you haven’t been exposed to such training or working in one of the worlds leading Outside-In companies it would be good to have a short comparison of the key thematic differences.
In the interests of full disclosure, I was an Industrial Engineer qualified as a Lean Master and Six Sigma Master black belt and I see and witness the significant differences every day. Does the implication of the difference mean we should abandon LSS? No, far from it. In fact, integrating the Outside-In perspectives into existing programs is a proven tried and tested way of advancing LSS to the centre stage of winning performance.
Case in point is a North American plastics extrusion company. They had previously been a powerhouse of Six Sigma, grown into and become a Lean ‘Toyota way’ dynamo only to run into the problem of diminishing returns.
Plastic extrusion starts with pallets
Investing just as much in getting better the decreasing returns and eroding margins made it an issue at the top table. In true pragmatic Texan style (their CEO is from Dallas) they embraced Outside-In big time. Over 6-9 months people were upskilled for the Customer Age and then let loose to transform the organization. Not only did they save their bacon they are now a world-leading company. And what do they call their program? OIL – Outside-In Lean. Nice eh?
 So be pragmatic. Look for the bridges from here to there and you can have the best of both worlds.

Table 1: Comparison of some differences between Lean Six Sigma and the CEMMethod.

Element
Lean Six Sigma
Customer Experience Management/Outside-In
Mindset
Industrial Age
Customer Digital Age
Focus
Improve current work
Align to achieve SCO’s
Intent
Process will exist at the end of a review
Processes may be removed
Results
Focused on improving outputs
Focused on delivering Outcomes
Cost reduction
Triple Crown achievement (Cost/Service/Revenue)
Structure
Accepts the functional hierarchy
Proposes the appropriate structure to deliver SCO’s
Techniques
Effect based activity (value/ non-value added – waste identification – SPC etc.)
Causal based activity (what creates the work in the org. then let’s fix the causes)
Intelligent Processes
No mechanism exists to ensure processes are intelligent
Specifically designed to implement and mature intelligent processes
Customer
End to End working e.g. SIPOC
Centric working – the customer is at the heart of everything that happens
Are at the end and the beginning of processes
Are enlightened, Promiscuous, Rebellious, Prosumer, Multi-channel, high expectations
Enterprise objectives
Operational and tactical. Aims to fix process.
Strategic and Operational. Aims to implement a sustainable architecture.
Scope
Process based improvements
Enterprise-wide transformation
Other Customer Age resources to explore:
Outside-In The Secret: www.outsideinthesecret.com
CEMMethod™: www.cemmethod.com
Certified Process Professional: www.certifiedprocessprofessional.com
Training: www.bpgroup.org/training.html
 

What do you mean when you say ‘Outside-In’?

Outside-In is a regular theme during most of my keynotes, not least this last week here in Florida. A question asked from the floor related to the 30-second elevator test “can you explain to the CEO what this stuff is, why it is different, and how it reframes the work we do?”. I guess I was about to fudge and say this needs more than 30 seconds, and then remembered my two-slide explanation!
So, for those guys looking for a simple explanation, these two slides will do the job. I have put a bit of narrative in there also.

120+ in Florida at the keynote, 16 January 2018

Steve Towers Florida keynote
Florida keynote to top team of major global industrial corporation

The old, industrial-age traditional way of doing business.
We make products (and services). We look for the market to sell them in. We segment customers by circumstance and pitch our products to those segments. We add variations to the products to better fit certain niche segments. We build back-end systems and digital capabilities in this increasingly complex world. We are rigid, functionally oriented and abhor change.

Old Industrial Age thinking model

 

The new Outside-In customer-centric way.
We identify the customers we would like to do business with. We understand their needs (even when they may not know them themselves) and specific Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s).
We categorise customers by need. We then create the capability to deliver to these categories the SCO’s (both products, people and digital). Progressively we manage new and existing customer expectations to deliver success without exception. We are agile, innovative and attuned to 21st century needs.
21st century Outside-In business model

Let me know if this works for you.

Ciao, Steve

For the curious, the original slides came from a deck presented as a keynote in Sydney, Australia 3 years ago.
You can access that here:  http://bit.ly/SydneyPEX