Much more than being Different
Once upon a time, a century back, purchase decisions by customers were based on their Quality perception of a specific product versus their Quality expectation from the same. If perception was better than expectation, the customer voted for the specific product with his/her money. The Quality of the product was considered to be Better. The customer served as the final inspector.
Success of any one organization with a specific product, gave birth to many competitors offering similar products. The Quality differentiator transformed to Better and Faster. In other words, the Quality of processes was added to the agenda. The customer was keen on just-in-time delivery. Japan pioneered this approach at Toyota to delight customers.
This experience was replicated in many more products, world-wide. As a result the discipline of Marketing matured.
With much collective success under the belt, the markets for specific, as well as their substitute, products got crowded. Factories multiplied. Simultaneously, customer expectations spiraled. Customers negotiated on the price for almost every product. Their expectations were: Better, Faster and Cheaper. Cheaper …. HOW?
Cheaper yet Better and Faster was a challenge. Factories commenced mapping their value-creation processes, as well as support and supplier processes. They identified unnecessary activities and rework loops to unearth chronic waste. Much to their surprise the value of this chronic waste was greater than their respective profit margins. All this led to the habit of Continuous Quality Improvement in factories, the by-product of which was a reduction in Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ). This saving made Cheaper yet Better and Faster possible.
Most organizations internalized Continuous Quality Improvement. The underlying principle being logical left-brain incremental improvement. By this time the customer had crowned him/herself as king. The king now demanded Better, Faster, Cheaper and Different products. … HOW?
The challenge of Different required disruptive thinking. It was met by organizations through internalizing creative right-brain thinking, that resulted in Innovative products and processes. In essence, Quality was now on the agenda of Design and Development. We are still very much there.
In the interim, Mother Earth, the ultimate customer, has cast a dark shadow. She is angry about:
As corrective action, we need disruptive Green Innovations. This is more than being Different. We need to proactively listen to the Voice of Mother Earth.
A recommended solution is that our Design Engineers embrace Green Thinking. I believe, we have no alternative for balanced disruptive Green Innovations.