Productivity is defined not in terms of the number of goods produced, but in terms of value-added per employee. Customers don’t really buy goods and services but in fact, they buy a value - something they value. The future is all about tangible products fulfilling intangible needs. Ideas like this can transform a business and provide them a competitive advantage to thrive in the future.
People, as Theodore Leavitt pointed out long ago, don't really buy goods and services. They buy a value - something they value. The customers want the goods or services to be accompanied by intangible benefits associated with availability at the right time and place and to express the values they require.
On the weekend of the Christmas holiday, David had a breakdown with his electricity. He took a service from Urban Clap and the person diagnosed and corrected a very small fault which had put the central heating out of action, and put it right. On that day Urban Clap was not selling them a service or a spare part, they were selling peace of mind on a festival day. That is the value that was given even when it’s not needed. It’s the confidence that someone will come when David needs one.
The enterprise providing the value is able to share economics with the consumer by using as little matter as possible in the preparation of the goods or services. So automation and materials technology keep down the amount of processing and actual stuff that has to go into the provision of goods and services.
Automation and materials technology keep down the amount of processing and actual stuff that needs to go into the production and provision of services. Products will be produced more quickly and cheaply, and with less final bulk and weight. The phrase “No Matter” encapsulates all this competitive advantage and value add. 'No matter' as a concept also includes the role of the disposable, though we have to watch its impact on the environment. The idea of no matter also covers the idea of the invisible purpose behind a sale.
For example, the invisible purpose behind a drill is not the selling of drills as such, but rather to sellability to make holes. If you use a laser drill, you are very much into the realm of 'no matter', for the laser produces holes which are by definition the absence of matter. This is all a question of tangible products fulfilling intangible needs. Ideas like this can transform a business. It is all about the effectiveness of outcomes rather than the efficiency of inputs. So the physical and the intellectual blend in the marriage of the changing mindset and the future mindset.
Next is the paradoxical idea of 'mass customization'. This is providing the customer with precisely what he or she requires, such as a garment to suit a bulky or a slender frame. Providing something that is non-standard yet can be produced as goods of standard size, weight, or other requirements. The technology now permits the non-standard to be produced on the standard line. Just a change of the computerized instructions and the trick is performed. Now customers don’t want to wait for something that is made to measure.
The same technique of mass customization can be used to provide cultural variations required in various parts of the world without setting up a special production line. The mass economy provides the benefit of scale; mass customization allows for the differentiation and individualization of requirements.
Not so long ago you can imagine how some traditional business houses would have resisted such changes in the mindset and approach. Managers today need to group the changes which have had the biggest impact on business, industry, and society. Types of technological development have to be focused on the understanding of futurology. They can no more stick to what they know we are good at and so on. There is an emerging need to approach the present from the standpoint of the future. That's how all these developments have occurred- so much so that we find it difficult to realize the amount of resistance they initially caused.
Many of these developments are at a relatively early stage, so there is much more to follow. It is essential that managers who are going to have to cope with such changes see them as a part of their functions to educate their workforces to understand the nature of the changes we can expect, of the world in which we live and the future we can create.