Case Study on continuous Improvement Methodology implmented by Lanier

Introduction

In the 21st century, there has been a tremendous increase in the competition that has been created in the television industry. With the entry of several potential competitors, the old companies who were enjoying huge market share have to suffer. They have to continuously upgrade their technology and keep on adding new features so as to survive amongst the competitors and maintain their market share in the industry. Owing to this, the strategies that a company uses in developing a niche for itself in the market needs to be evaluated and analysed from time to time.
Lanier started as a small company that grew by time and went through many transitions to achieve the place it is in now and gain their customers trust. They implemented the Continuous Improvement methodology and identified the opportunities in their process, and decided to focus on their customers and to develop quality products & services. To achieve the compounding benefits of a continuous improvement process, a company must take deliberate action. Continuous Improvement that is adopted by Lanier helps all the departments in it to keep a continuous check and up to date of the latest processes and policies that employees by time tend to ignore or forget. It is an ongoing cycle of review and evaluation of the organization’s processes and procedures. In order to retain the global market and grow as a company on the whole, there were various stages that the company had developed and implemented and they are discussed further in the article below.

Discussion Questions

1. Why was it important for Lanier to develop specific programs, such as Customer Vision and Performance Promise, to facilitate its dual emphasis on quality products and quality services?
When Lanier was providing products of high quality by partnering with the companies like 3M, Toshiba and Canon, it was also endangered by the competition that these companies offered. Thus, it was necessary for Lanier to develop strategies that would help them create a niche over its competitors in the office equipment market. This could be ensured by providing services that others did not or others failed to stress on. This led to the development of quality services in terms of customer service and feedback by Lanier management. They encouraged the process of Continuous improvement in the organization to be carried out while competing with others in the global market.
When it comes to Sales and Service, customer expectations are always rising. In order to succeed an organization must continuously improve the skills of their people and the processes they use to sell and serve customers. The company developed various quality related programs so as to provide their customers with an ultimate customer service and satisfaction that would result in developing a long lasting relationship with them. The customers will also recommend the company in their network owing to their experience and this will increase the sales of the company. The satisfied customers will also be loyal to the company by every time purchasing the goods and equipments that they require in their office from Lanier only. It was important for Lanier to the programs like Customer vision and Performance promise to ensure that they are not out performed by their competitors and this would also help in differentiating them from the other companies. They focused on providing not only the products with high quality but also had to make sure that the services that they provide to the customers is of high quality. In this way, they had to develop dual emphasis on the above mentioned variables and this provided them with an advantage to increase their market share and reputation in the business.
2. What steps (CI tools and techniques) has Lanier taken to reinforce the importance of quality services to its customers and employees?
Lanier had to analyse and develop strategies that would help them to sustain themselves and grow in the international market. They shifted their focus from being a sales- driven company to becoming a company that focusses on customer satisfaction by considering the customer service as its priority. They developed a specific program that was based on providing quality service to the customers. The steps that they developed were based on the concept of continuous improvement that one can observe in the organization in terms of their operations. These steps involved developing programs that are given under:
• Customer Vision
This concept was introduced to make the employees see any situation through the customer’s perspective. This involves satisfying the customers by helping them achieve their vision and help them to obtain the best product according to them. It involves getting into the shoes of the customers and thinking accordingly.
• Performance Promise
In this, Lanier developed a pledge that would provide the customers with the best customer service. It involves providing them with a complete set of satisfaction regarding the product. It also involves providing the customers with a 24 hour service through availability on toll-free numbers. It also involves providing them with a guarantee about the service, parts and other design of the Lanier products. This would help them in gaining the customer’s trust as well as loyalty.
• 100 Percent Sold
It is a competitive strategy for the employees of the company to complete the challenging task of making the customers buy all of the products that are required in their office to be purchased from Lanier.
• Lanier Team Management Process
This is a program that was established by Lanier to ensure that there is motivation and evaluation regarding the continuous improvement of the various processes at all the levels of operations in the company. It maintained to focus on striving continuously on the quality and performance that the company has to provide to the customers.
They executed and implemented the changes the company requires to achieve their goals of providing quality products and quality services and provided their employees with extensive training. They trained them to develop skilled, enthusiastic employees who create greater sales, engage in customer experiences, and improve business results that continue to improve over time. They also introduced incentive programs to keep their employees always motivated to give more. This ensures their service continually develops and improves.

3. Do you believe that Lanier continued to be successful? Why or why not?
Yes, I believe that Lanier would continue to be successful in the market as it provided the customers with a complete package which involves high quality of product as well as high quality of service.
Lanier not only were involved in selling the product but were also involved in providing advice to the companies about the purchasing criteria that involves observing the features while buying a product, actual buying of the product and the service post the sale of the products. It provided specialized trainings to the employees about providing a high quality of product to the customers and also ensuring their satisfaction. I believe that this would make Lanier to be successful in the market. Lanier also made sure that the customers were regularly provided with the quality and service that they expected and executing them par excellence. It is also found that the company also achieved success from the customer’s side that would help them in achieving the required position in the market. Company continuously strives to improve the performance from the employee’s side and they were extremely focused on satisfying the customers with their dedicated service (Wright, 2000).
Below are some steps to improve an organization process and achieve success across the structure:
1. Identify the process to be improved
2. Develop the objectives for the project based on requirements of the process
3. Select the members of the cross-functional team
4. Document the current process by creating a flowchart or “organization map”
5. Identify “disconnects” in the process: “Disconnections” are everything that inhibits the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.
6. Recommend changes
7. Establish process and sub-process measures
8. Implement the improvements
This are the characteristics that would ensure that the company managed to continue their success in the market pertaining to the business. It is seen form the fact that they have received various awards for customer satisfaction which involves “Partners in Excellence Award,” from DuPont ; “Quality Partner Award,” from Pacific Bell and “Alliance Supplier Award” From Chevron.
Conclusion
In conclusion, Lanier realized the importance to always ensure a connection between their continuous improvement strategies, projects and process to something that would be important to the customer, not just to profitability or reduced operational costs. In this way, they assured that quality services will always be focused, to the best opportunities for their customers and business. This requires a long-term commitment of the organization top management and active involvement of all employees, which Lanier succeeded in achieving.
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just stand there.”
– Will Rogers

References
Wright, A. (2000). Scenario planning: A continuous improvement approach to strategy. . Total Quality Management,, 433-438.

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Posted on

March 10, 2018

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