By Mark Inboden
Most businesses are really good at identifying customers that pay their bills, but how many work at identifying their “internal” customers? Each and every department has a unique function and support within an organization. I would bet that most companies, especially as they get larger, tend to focus solely on what they do, and not ultimately on whom they serve, or their “internal” customers. I think there is a tendency to get “siloed” and think “that’s not my job or area” and only focus on getting your work done.
Take Purchasing for example. Ordering products in a timely manner at the best prices possible seems to be the primary focus for this area, and rightfully so. But what about all the “Next Day” rush items that are often being ordered? Is part of the responsibility on Purchasing for running out of these items? Have they asked their internal customers as to what the proper stocking levels should be? Do they run daily, weekly, monthly reports on frequently ordered items? Do they anticipate that other orders have an effect on these items? This is just one example.
I think you can see that there might be some patterns here. Next time you come to work, ask “Who are my internal customers, and how can I help them do their job better?” You just might make everyone’s job a bit easier, and know that the greatest effect will be felt by your external customers because you are helping your internal customers meet their demands better.
Mark is President and CEO of UCEC.
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