Lean consumption

The process that complements Lean production. Lean consumption requires streamlining all the activities that must be undertaken to acquire goods and services in such a way that customers receive exactly what they want, when and where they want it, with a minimal investment of time and effort. 

Companies can streamline consumption by following a six-step thought process analogous to the thought process for Lean production: 

Principles of Lean consumption: 

  1. Completely solve the customer's problem by ensuring that all goods and services work, as well as work together.
  2. Don't waste the customer's time.
  3. Deliver exactly what the customer wants.
  4. Deliver what is requested where it is requested.
  5. Deliver what is requested where it is requested at the time it is requested.
  6. Constantly combine solutions with each other to save the customer as much time and effort as possible (bundle a full range of options from a host of organizations).

To apply these concepts, producers and suppliers of goods and services must view consumption not as an isolated decision to buy a specific product, but as a continuous process, a series of activities that combine many goods and services over an extended period of time to solve a problem. 

For example, when a customer buys a computer, his or her goal is not to own a computer but to solve problems such as accessing, processing, storing and transferring information. Buying the computer is not a one-time transaction, but a process of orienting, purchasing, integrating, maintaining, upgrading and finally disposing of the computer. Most likely, the same process is followed for software and peripherals. 

Lean consumption requires a fundamental shift in the way retailers, service providers, manufacturers and suppliers think about the relationship between delivery and consumption, and about the role consumers play in these processes. It also requires collaboration between consumers and suppliers to minimize overall costs and wasted time. 

Lean Lexicon

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