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When Going Lean, Don't Forget Sales And Marketing

A customer-centric focus is the critical success factor for a customer relationship management (CRM) payback. While many manufacturers have effectively utilized a myriad of lean technologies, there is significant confusion about how to translate these lean techniques to the sales and marketing divisions of the enterprise.

Manufacturers exhibit at trade shows collecting thousands of leads that are discarded or languish in a basic database. Meanwhile, kaizen events on the plant floor or back office are conducted frequently (as a demonstration of commitment to the lean practice of continued process improvement), but the greatest remaining area of waste in the manufacturing business process is sales and marketing, which remains virtually untouched.

With more than fifty percent of all North American manufacturers lacking a dedicated marketing director, there is still an imbalance of engineering- and operations-focused senior manufacturing executives who are visibly uncomfortable in approaching lean CRM.

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