Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – October 26, 2015
Operational transparency is just as it sounds. You provide transparency in the way you operate, both internally and externally.
Externally, the more transparent you are, the less failure work you do. FEDEX is a very externally transparent organization. If you are a customer, you know exactly where your package is at all times. FEDEX gives you a website and a tracking number and the rest is up to you. They don’t waste fielding calls from customers asking, “Where is my package?” They have put that onus on the customer and made it in the customer’s best interests because they provide real-time information about the location of the package. That is operational transparency at its best.
Internally, the more transparent you are, the less your employees take up time wondering how decisions are made. The less time spent complaining about bureaucracy. The less time being frustrated about the approval process. If you set parameters about how decisions will be made, whether those be investment decisions, strategic decisions or decisions about which ideas will be implemented, employees will not waste time asking why a decision was made a certain way. They spend less time questioning and more time doing. They self-select based on the parameters that have been communicated. That helps with retention. That helps attract better people and that helps get things done.
Rank yourself between one and five on operational transparency. Where do you sit internally and externally? Where are you throwing money away?
Looking for more insights?
Want to become more adept at Operational Excellence? Check out my new Operational Excellence program.
Check out my podcast series called Hockey Management, where I use hockey as an analogy for successful business results.
Prefer watching videos? The take a look at my short videos providing operational excellence tips.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2015.

VW sold its soul to the capitalist devil

VW is an easy company to write about these days because of the emissions test “cheating” that took place. With most organizations in this situation, I would say that they will recover fairly quickly and within a year or two be back to where they were.

I don’t think this will be the case for VW. With this emissions cheating, VW has rocked its’ loyal customer base to the core. These customers love VW for its flower-bearing Beetles and its environment-sustaining engines. VW was supposed to be the earthy car company that made you feel good about buying driving. Like you were actually helping the environment while all other cars were hurting it.

That perception has been destroyed. It’s like a leader getting voted into office on a certain platform, and then reversing his or her position on controversial issues once elected. VW owners feel like they have been duped.

It’s not about fixing the cars….that part is easy. VW has destroyed any loyalty it had with customers. It succumbed to greed and capitalism, which it was supposed to be immune to.

People can forgive a PR mistake or a bad decision….those happen all the time. I’m not sure people can forgive a decision that goes completely against what an organization was supposed to stand for. Imagine UNICEF choosing to let children die or the YMCA discriminating based on race or colour. That would be unheard of.

But here you have a car company that built its’ reputation on sustainability and making our world a better place, lying about the emissions its’ cars give off so it could sell more cars. Does it get much worse than that?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – October 5, 2015

Through my extensive work with clients from around the globe, I’ve come up with five areas of critical importance that separate the successful companies from the also-rans. I’ve never seen a company that has more than three of them in place. How many does your organization have in place?

  1. Touch point leverage. This means you ensure that each time your product or service is “touched” by someone in your organization, that product or service is being improved and enhanced. Think of this as the difference between improving something with each touch point instead of just assembling it.
  2. Forget prioritizing, there’s only one. If you have too many priorities, then you have no priorities. You need to focus on the one thing that is going to make you most successful (accelerating growth, increasing market share, raising profit margins, etc.) and then every strategy and tactic you employ aligns with that to help you achieve it.
  3. Don’t let customers run your business. Said a different way, this means that your customers are not always right. You need to know when to use customer feedback and when to ignore it. A good test of this is to ensure that your customers’ self-interest doesn’t override your organization’s self-interest.
  4. Walk away from good opportunities. You should only be pursuing great opportunities, not good ones. Great opportunities are those that align with you priority and can have the biggest impact on your organization.
  5. Make the extrinsic intrinsic and the intrinsic extrinsic. You need to be able to take knowledge from the outside and make it intrinsic to your people. You also need to be able to take the knowledge that your people have individually and make it extrinsic so the rest of your organization can learn from it and apply it.

Score yourself from 1-5 on each of these five areas to see where you have the biggest area for improvement. If you are implementing Operational Excellence within your organization (or even considering it), these five elements are essential to your success.

Looking for more insights?
Check out my podcast series called Hockey Management, where I use hockey as an analogy for successful business results.
Prefer watching videos? The take a look at my short videos providing operational excellence tips.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2015.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – March 16, 2015
Is there such a thing as being too efficient?
I was traveling yesterday with my family for March break. Pearson airport in Toronto has started a new process for having passengers go through U.S. Customs. Once you check in for your flight, you are asked to walk to the far end of the airport and to go to what can be best described as a corral or a pen. You wait there in slight chaos with thousands of other passengers strewn all over the place, until they call your departure time. You all share your lack of understanding about what is going on because you really appear to have no control over the situation.
Once your departure time is called, you then walk back the length of the airport to wait in line to clear U.S. Customs. The intent of this system, of course, is to reduce the time people spend standing around and waiting in line, and to balance the number of people waiting in the U.S. Customs area. Both of these objectives make sense, until the system doesn’t work.
I have traveled hundreds of times, at the busiest times of the year, in some of the busiest airports around the world, and I have never missed a flight. Yesterday, my streak was almost broken. We did not even enter the U.S. Customs area until 10 minutes before our flight was scheduled to board, despite arriving more than two hours before our scheduled departure time. We still had to drop off our luggage, go through security and get to the gate. We did make it, but we were literally the last ones to board the plane.
A system is only good when it works, and this one didn’t. Disney has mastered the art of distracting you while you wait in line. You don’t actually get frustrated because they make you feel like you are constantly making progress towards your goal – being at the front of the line.
The GTAA has created a system that actually provides more anxiety than the previous one, because now you have to wait more often and are farther away from your destination.
The concept of having a staging area to reduce the number of passengers waiting in the U.S. Customs area logically makes sense, but without the right system in place and the right communication, it actually makes things worse.
Are your systems and processes improving the situation for customers, or making it worse?
Listen to my podcast on why Operational Excellence needs to be redefined.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2015.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – February 2, 2015
Having a brand, something your organization is known for, can make all the difference in the world when trying to attract and retain customers. I received a call last week from an organization looking for a keynote speaker for a forum they put on for their best customers, who happen to be procurement executives. When I asked how they found me, they said that they searched the term ‘Procurement Guru’ and I was the first name that came up. That is the power of a brand.
When customers come to you:
  • The acquisition process is accelerated.
  • There is greater loyalty created an at early stage.
  • There is greater growth and retention potential.
  • Profitability is higher.
  • You can leverage it to accelerate growth and increase profitability even further.

How easy is it for your ideal customers to find you? How can you make it even more appealing for them to want to buy from you?

Don’t forget to register for my talk on Operational Excellence at the Rotman School of Management on February 11.
Listen to my podcast on why Operational Excellence needs to be redefined.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.

Purposeful customer retention reduction

Organizations should always be focusing on customer retention because it is the fastest way to accelerate growth. Your existing customers already know your organization and what you offer, so it is easy to offer them new products and services as well as help them become ambassadors to help you attract new customers. But how much effort are you putting into retaining customers you don’t want? My guess is, too much.

This means you are taking time and effort away from retaining the customers you do want.

Maximizing overall customer retention is not always good. Not all customers are good customers and not all business is good business. It’s only effective if you are retaining the customers you want. I call this concept purposeful customer retention reduction. This is the act of NOT retaining certain customers because they are not your ideal customers. They take time and resources away from your ideal customers so you let them go. Yes, that’s right, you let them go.

Review the chart below and ask yourself (be honest) in which quadrant your organization fits. Do you have deliberate retention efforts focused on your ideal customers (top right quadrant)? If not, you are losing growth opportunities and wasting time. You are putting resources into retaining customers you don’t want, while the ones you do want are walking down the street right in front of you (figuratively speaking).

Purposeful retention reduction

But have no fear, if you are anywhere but in the top right quadrant, you can get there quickly by answering these questions:

  • Who are our ideal customers?
  • What value do we offer them?
  • What deliberate strategies do we need to employ to attract and retain them?

To what extent are you inadvertently losing important customers while retaining unimportant customers?

10 Factors You Need to Master to Maximize Customer Retention

When putting together strategies that will maximize your customer retention, remember these 10 factors:

  1. Consistency – offering customers the same experience regardless of with whom they speak or where they are.
  2. Loyalty – creating an emotional connection to your organizations and its products and services.
  3. Innovation – constantly bringing new offerings and ideas to customers
  4. Value – offering products and services that meet a customer need.
  5. Quality – offering products and services that meet the quality expectations of your customers.
  6. Convenience – being easily accessible.
  7. Prestige – customers feel good about being associated with your organization.
  8. Service – resolving customer issues quickly and effectively.
  9. Habit – customers buy from you because it’s become a part of their regular routine.
  10. Benefit – offering real or perceived benefit to customers.

How many of these 10 factors are you doing effectively?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – December 22, 2014
As you know, ’tis the season to be jolly. But it is also the season to reflect on the past year. What worked? What didn’t?
As others scramble to reflect on the past year and fix what went wrong, you need to be focusing on the year ahead. Here are three questions to think about to help you jump start 2015:
  • What specific new value can I offer to existing customers?
  • What is the best way to deliver that value?
  • How else can I make the first quarter of 2015 our most successful ever?

While many use the holiday season as a time to slow down, business doesn’t stop. Companies are still making products. Charities are still raising money. Professional firms are still offering services.

While it is a great opportunity to spend time with family and recharge our batteries. The holiday season is also a great time to determine how you will achieve some immediate success in 2015. You want to lay a solid foundation for achieving tremendous results.

What will you do to maximize results in early 2015?

I want to wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season!

Listen to my podcast on why Operational Excellence needs to be redefined.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
Register for my free event to dramatically increasing your profits and improve your performance.

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.

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