KAIZEN: Improvement in sales and customer service

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Brand ID develops its value chain and strives for the best possible customer service using the Kaizen method.

TEXT: Jarkko Viheriävaara and Sami Peltonen PHOTOS: AdobeStock and Kirsi Kjäll

The overall development of the business cannot be limited to only a part of the value-adding activities. When talking about Lean, the focus is often on production development. The KAIZEN™ development, which has been carried out by Brand ID for many years, has emphasised the importance of non-production development. A lot happens to an order even before the actual production can start.

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The tasks related to sales, customer service and order processing are very diverse and take place in several different teams. Seeing the big picture is challenging from the perspectives of different operators. Brand ID invited experts from each team to a workshop to model a common process.

"We depicted Brand ID's value chain from marketing to sales and customer service," says Brand ID's Sales Director Janne Väkiparta.

If the potential of production is to be fully exploited, the processes before production must also be developed. In developing sales and customer service, the key question is how to add time to work that adds value to the customer. This issue was also addressed in the workshop: identifying the time-wasting work that reduces the time spent with the customer's project.

“Looking at the process as a whole was an eye-opening experience. For example, we found ourselves doing the same things in both sales and customer service."

Common goal – more time for customer service

A visual way to describe the whole process on one board is very effective. Also very complex projects become more understandable and many areas for improvement emerge.

One of the benefits of the workshop model is also the communication of people working in different areas. Getting members of different teams around the same table to discuss and analyse their own work together is a big step forward. Janne Väkiparta believes that knowing about the tasks of others helps tremendously in achieving common goals.

"Things to be developed were found throughout the value chain. In the workshop, we also realised how much overlap we have."

Identifying a common goal is one of the main objectives of the workshop. Again, the goal was very clear: more time for sales work and customer service. In other words, how work and processes can be developed so that the time available is saved for more useful things. The workshop and development work are carried out together with the people who are also actually working in the process. Therefore, the commitment to a common goal is formed as if by itself!

A project towards a common goal

Several different areas for improvement were identified in the workshop. Reaching a common goal requires a lot of work. The good starting points for planning an improvement project were created: We know the real current situation from which to start. We identify problems that need to be solved. We have identified the process of the future that we need to get into.

"The problem areas stood out clearly. We put the things to be developed in order with the principle: easiest to implement with the biggest impacts."

 

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Step by step

There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time. The project planned together and its schedule must be adapted to the daily work and managed systematically to the end.

"It is important to remember to choose the things to develop according to the team's capacity and finish them one by one. Then, for every finished task, we get concrete benefits, and the team has a good feeling about the work done," Janne says.

Visual management is essential in the implementation of the project. The members of the sales and customer service teams are physically located in different locations, so the project situation room was created online. The purpose of the situation room is to ensure clear communication and to ensure that the common understanding of the project status is clear in the project meetings. 

Development measures have been launched. Some have already been implemented and the first benefits have been achieved. Sales and customer service now have better time to focus on the essentials.

Brand ID value chain modelling helped to outline overlapping work and improve processes.

The Brand ID team put the issues that had arisen and were being developed in the workshop in order: the first to come up were those that are the easiest to implement but have a big impact on the operations.