Increase Your Customer Satisfaction By Thinking Lean

Adriana Girdler

Working smarter, not harder will increase your bottom-line Are you meeting the needs of your customer? Do you even know if you are or worse …

Working smarter, not harder will increase your bottom-line

Are you meeting the needs of your customer?

working harder

Do you even know if you are or worse yet, aren’t? I’d like to take an in-depth perspective on the efficiency methodology (Lean) CornerStone Dynamics uses in guiding our clients in achieving their success. We do this by using the fundamentals of Lean thinking in our approach. Why use Lean to increase customer satisfaction? The history of LEAN is rich with wonderful tidbits on how to take your organization from good to great resulting in increased customer satisfaction. The concepts are simple and involve common sense. But sometimes common sense can elude us when we’re focused on the end result of the product or service we provide to the customer.  The customer can be a department in the company who is receiving the output from a new project (internal customer, often forgotten) or a person or organization, not related to the company, that is receiving the product or service (external customer).

The fundamental aspect of Lean is that everything revolves around the customer by providing the best “value” for your customer from conception of idea to final handover of product/service. Don’t most companies do this? Unfortunately, no.  Most organizations get caught up in the vicious cycle of getting things out the door at any cost. They will do ‘anything’ to get the product or the service to meet customer demand. Sometimes this means doing additional quality checks to ensure there are no defects, reworking items because they didn’t meet standards, or putting more people on the job to get the ‘item’ done. The final product may look fine but if the customer actually knew what went into the making the product or service, they would question the quality of the product/service and the organization providing it due to all the extra layers of activities needed to ensure the product met spec and was deemed OK for distribution. The problem is that you can’t run an organization like this forever. At some point, the quality of your product will fail resulting in upsetting or worse yet losing your customer.

Lean fundamentals

How does Lean’s  approach work to mitigate this? It’s done by focusing on 3 fundamental items that ensure a quality product/service:

1.       Remove all the waste in the system/process

There are 7 fundamentals types of waste in lean: the “Tim Wood” acronym is a great way to remember them.





O-Over processing

O-Over production


Elimination or correction of these types of wastes and revamping the new ways of working allows the organization to become waste-free resulting in an increase in the quality of the product and/or service.

2.       Become a value added organization by identifying all non-valued added activities and eliminate them

Value added activities are activities that transforms or shapes (for the 1st time) material or information to meet customer’s requirements.

Non Value Added activities are those activities that take time or resources, but do not directly add to the customer’s requirements.

Being a value added organization is challenging because it makes you look inwardly as to ‘why’ you do the things you do. It questions your actions but can also inspire you to think out of the box to eliminate or transform the non-value added activities into value added ones.

3.       Incorporate standardization and visual management into your ways of working

Standardized practices allow employees to perform tasks the same way by combining and using all resources effectively. Visual management is achieved by inserting time savings, useful information or clues into the workplace to help make jobs easier because things are obvious the minute you walk into the area. Visual management is important because it ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows how things are run. The goal with visual management and standardization is that if someone left the organization, new individuals would be able to pick up where they left off with minimal impact to the customer.

Changing your philosophy on how you do business can be difficult. Shifting your ways of working from reactive to proactive takes commitment and support. But with the proper guidance everything is achievable. Focusing on your customer needs is a good thing. Doing it via the lean methodology will ensure your quality and customer satisfaction always remain high, setting you apart from the competition and giving you the competitive edge.

For simple steps to efficient offices and homes, check out my pocket book, Spaces That Work.

What do you do to ensure customer satisfaction? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!

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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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