I’m writing this blog post at my hometown in Shiga since we are in the middle of a long holiday (golden week) here in Japan. Just like every other entrepreneur, I’m spending most of my time reading books, learning new things and thinking about what our startup should do in the near future.
Among the books I’ve read, Super Genba caught my eyes. Although this book was written quite some time ago, I was advised to read it by one of our stakeholders so I did it.
What the book insists throughout all chapters is very straight forward. The company that can create a system to manage customer touchpoints and turn them into cash quickly wins.
Apple is a good example. The company manages customers touchpoints by operating its retail store worldwide, and its inventory period is less than 5 days. In other words, Apple can pull hundreds of dollars from your wallet and put them into its bank account very quickly once you decide to purchase any Apple products.
All Apple devices connect to iCloud every couple of days to send the usage data of products whether you like it or not. This is their way of understanding what the customer wants. There is no middleman in between.
A bad example is a typical Japanese company in which its sales activity heavily relies on middlemen like resellers and distributors, and its inventory period easily exceeds 60 days. Again, in other words, they don’t know who their customers are and what the customers really want, and they are paying billions of dollars to keep these inventories. There is no way for them to win against the company like Apple.
We are now living the age of the cloud where creating a direct customer touchpoint is easier than ever. If your competitors are understanding the customers better than you do, then you will lose. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is. It all about managing customer touchpoints and how fast you can turn them into cash.
I strongly recommend this book to any CEO and entrepreneur running a company in Japan.
The Japanese edition is also available.