There is only one boss. The Customer

There is only one boss. The Customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the Chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

If this is the first time you’ve read Mr. Walton’s quote, stop and reread. That statement contains a simple and pure lesson for succeeding in business regardless of market, economy or industry.

For those of us in Operations who tinker with gears that move our Organizations forward, how do we frame that statement into something actionable, sustainable and profitable?

The question becomes: If our Customer is our Boss, what role and responsibility does she have in the Process Framework?

We have Process Leaders. We know our Process Owners by name. We create value with our Process Teams on a daily basis…how do we recognize our Customer?

The answer is in our focus and purpose as Process Professionals. What we work on focuses on two critical items in our Processes: Quality and Cost.

I submit that our Customers…our Bosses…primary responsibility is to define the success criteria for those issues. Simply put they provide detail to the following statement:

“For this level of quality, I’m willing to pay this amount.”

If they demand a higher quality than what’s currently provided by our Processes, then we need to initiate a Process Improvement Plan to isolate and eliminate actions that degrade quality.

If the cost does not fall within a comfortable range for their pocket books, then we need to initiate a Process Improvement Plan to drive out efficiencies that bleed dollars.

We exist to provide value to our Customers in the form of a service or product that exceeds their expectation of Quality and Affordability.

The work is in continuously meeting the ever rising expectation of our Bosses or they will simply move on to hire our competitors.

Business. Process. Management – Not necessarily in that order