Organisations that will survive and thrive will only do so by being focused on meeting the needs and requirements of their customers. To meet the needs and requirements of customers, first those needs must be clearly understood. This could be specifications of some sort or the output of market research.
The optimal organisation is designed and set up to meet the needs of the customer with limited wasted effort and resources. In the fields of management and entrepreneurship it has been well established that an organisation that loses focus on the customer expectations, current or future, has slowly started its dance of death.
The effect of looking away from the customer is very easily seen in the tech organisations that sometimes succeed for a while before losing their leading edge. Nokia is a case in point, a cell phone manufacturer that has lost market share to Apple and Samsung over the last decade. Apple and Samsung have probably succeeded by their ability to more effectively capture the imagination of the customer with innovations in functionality at the heart of their phones and these two brands dominate the mobile phone market in Europe and the Americas today. As Nokia was being acquired by Microsoft, its outgoing CEO ended his speech saying this “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”.
The process approach philosophy and wider quality management starts and ends with the customer. It enables an organisation to implement customer driven processes and apply the necessary assurance and control systems to fulfill the stated and unstated requirements of the customer.
In the modern supply chain, there are other stakeholders that may have an interest in the success or otherwise of the organisation also. A consideration for identifying and meeting these requirements where feasible should also be a strong component of all customer focused organisations.