Amusing Advice

I'm sure getting to know your customers' needs is a constant challenge when trying to retain current and obtain new business. And I'm sure many of you visit your customers to gain insight into their businesses and products. Well, I came across a different perspective on a customer tour: a new tour methodology called AMUSE, which stands for Accelerate activity, Minimize input, Upgrade output, Simplify transition, and Eliminate activity.

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I'm sure getting to know your customers' needs is a constant challenge when trying to retain current and obtain new business. And I'm sure many of you visit your customers to gain insight into their businesses and products. Well, I came across a different perspective on a customer tour: a new tour methodology called AMUSE, which stands for Accelerate activity, Minimize input, Upgrade output, Simplify transition, and Eliminate activity.

According to Dan Adams, President of New Product Blueprinting, the easiest way to understand AMUSE is to see what it would look like in practice. "Imagine you make nail guns and you’re observing their use on a house construction site. The activity you’re observing at the moment is overhead nailing. How might you apply AMUSE methodology to help the customer (later) with this activity?

Accelerate Activity. Basic Questions: How could we make this activity go faster, thereby reducing labor costs and increasing capacity? Real-World App: What if you lowered the weight of the gun? Would the framer be going faster by the end of a long day?

Minimize Input. Basic Questions: How could we reduce the costs of material, capital, and energy applied to this activity? Real-World App: Would a higher-powered gun let the worker use cheaper studs full of tough knot holes?

Upgrade Output.  Basic Questions: How could we improve the output from this activity, e.g., reducing defects or improving ultimate customer benefits? Real-World App: One way to upgrade output would be to lower defects—nails that don’t fully embed—perhaps by having the gun sense resistance and adjust for it?

Simplify Transition. Basic Questions: How could we streamline the transition between two activities, thus reducing inventory and leadtimes? Real-World App: Maybe the framer’s next activity is to set the gun down on the floor. What if you designed a hanger on the gun? Could it cut down on a lot of unnecessary bending?

Eliminate Activity. Basic Questions: How could we totally eliminate an activity—perhaps by combining two or more activities—to reduce overall costs? Real-World App: Most studs have 14.5 inches between them. Was the framer’s preceding activity using a tape measure? If so, you might eliminate it by building a 14.5-inch guide into the nail gun.

"Are all these all great solutions?” asks Adams. “Probably not. But they would uncover new ways to help customers. And give your company a competitive advantage. I'm sure this exerise would translate to a tour of your customers' facilities too.

 



 

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