Is 2015 the year you will “think” Lean?

Considering what your customers really want and the latest market trends is the first step in thinking Lean.


Thinking about what your customers really want and the latest market trends is the first step in thinking Lean. Courtesy: AMEHow are you preparing to make 2015 your most successful and profitable year? If you doubt this is possible, consider the current business environment. Markets are strong, the price of oil and many other commodities has eased off and unemployment remains well below previous years. The market is ripe with opportunity for any company that can clearly articulate and offer significant value to their customers and clients.

This begs the question: Do you know what your customers value? If you presume it is the same as only 12 short months ago, think again. Consider the changes in your business operations that have evolved during the past 12 months, and you will likely find there have been significant changes in not only what you are doing but also how you are doing it.

What will your customers value in the coming year?

What should you start and stop doing in order to best facilitate delivering this value?

How can the products or services you offer be best positioned to add significant value to your customers' businesses and personal lives?

Practice the four I's

The opportunity to surpass your competitors, dominate your market or move away from simply selling a commodity rests exclusively on your ability to Identify, Internalize, introduce and integrate the value of your customer's desire. This is the power of thinking Lean.

Consider for a moment some of the trends that are occurring in the marketplace and how these may affect your ability to offer value:

  • More customers than ever before are buying online, both for personal and business needs.
  • Your customers desire more flexibility in how they use your products and interact with your services.
  • Customers want to collaborate with you to design products and services that yield more benefits and value than what you currently offer.
  • Your customers are currently faced with challenges in delivering value to their customers; a challenge you can likely help with. 

If you haven't been thinking about these trends, or you haven't been connecting with your customers or clients to ascertain what value they derive from your products or services and how you can further increase this value, then you really aren't thinking Lean.

Shawn Casemore is the president and founder of Casemore and Company. Courtesy: AMEMy suggestion as you reflect on your successes of 2014 and the opportunities that exist in 2015 is that you think Lean. Engage with your customers and find out how you can add more value to the relationship and thoroughly cement your business relationship.

Shawn Casemore is the president and founder of Casemore and Company, Incorporated, a management consultancy. This content originally appeared on Target Magazine Online. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media,

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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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