by Stefano Colletta
The client. Nothing to do with the movie of 1994 by Joel Schumacher. He is not an ethereal entity. That’s him, that free individual, who generally buys services and products from a single supplier. The client is one who buys what we produce daily. He is the person who uses his money to have our cut, bent, levelled, drilled and treated sheet metals. Those sheet metals that become envied, desired and copied products even before being thought. Nevertheless, the customer, indispensable for whatever company or enterprise, is often neglected, almost forgotten. And this carelessness has no boundaries, it is real in Western as well as in Eastern Countries. We have abundantly surpassed the period of Henry Ford, when it was necessary to understand how to optimize and to make more efficient the assembly, and then the production, chain, more to achieve a system improvement in itself than to approach end users. Toyota method, that is to say the organization of a “lean” manufacturing process in factories, has become renowned worldwide. Or the Kaizen method, where workers in the assembly line directly solve the most complicated problems, or, moreover, the Kanban one, the programming system for the just in time production. Finally, the Andon method, to be activated by whatever worker who, once identified an anomaly along the production chain and surveyed the defect, stops the production through a series of codes and procedures. In all that, however, customers do not exist. Today, on the contrary, in this industrial, social and economic age, the customer is and must be the starting point, also of production. Customers’ input has then become fundamental. Bringing this element directly along the production chain might mean, for lots of companies, surviving the thunderstorms of this time of epochal change. Once more, Toyota has perfectly understood it and intends to customize (perhaps) each single car according to customers’ requirements, “desires”; Amazon; various big bank groups; the most farsighted hospitals, airlines, even several restaurants, aware of the issue and, why not, sensitive to the income. The client is the real added value of any product and his indications will be more and more boosts to make changes in design, marketing strategy or pricing, actually in a just in time logic. We are already living an epoch where the neat gap between mechanics and electronics does not exist anymore, to the extent that today we normally speak of mechatronics. Tomorrow, maybe, we will state to be living a psycho-mechanic era, where the psychological and emotional knowledge of customers will be the basis from which to start to design new products and services, to devise specific marketing strategies, to organize pre-and after sale services able to understand clients’ mental structure and then to satisfy their wishes, both manifest and latent.
What is your opinion about that?