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Make It Automatic: Eliminate the Need for Solutions

Feb 5, 2008
In some businesses and nonprofit organizations, you can make one decision and receive your offerings automatically for years. Here's an example: I recently learned about a new magazine, Make, that caught my fancy. Ordering a subscription online, I was pleasantly surprised to be offered a discount on the first year's price if I agreed to be automatically billed for renewals. Obviously, if I decide I don't like the magazine, I'll have to remember to cancel the subscription when it expires in a year. Otherwise, Make will keep coming until my credit card is out of date.

Many suppliers provide similar options for those with continual needs for their offerings. But they go even further and provide services that make their offerings operate without delays. Snack food manufacturers like Frito-Lay go into retail stores frequently, check the shelves to see what's missing, restock, and tidy up the shelves while they are there.

In manufacturing plants, some vendors monitor the level of inventory and continually replenish to meet a target level that the customer has established. Invoices are triggered by the use of the inventory, and payments are automatically received on a pre-agreed-upon schedule.

Contract manufacturers take that system one step further. Customers tell the supplier what they want, when and where they want it, and so forth. The contract manufacturer then ensures that the products are available to the customer's customers in pre-agreed-upon ways. To accomplish part of this commitment, the contract manufacturer may partner with a logistics specialist to create the required results.

Some government agencies now simplify by allowing payments to be made by radio-controlled devices. For instance, you can skip long lines to pay tolls for bridges and roads by having a transponder that automatically withdraws money from a toll account you set up. The account is automatically replenished from your credit card or checking account. Unless you lose your transponder, don't pay your credit card bill, or have an empty checking account, that's the last you will have to do until it's time to replace your transponder in five years.

To operate this way, the offerings, methods for delivery, and support of those offerings have to be nearly perfect. When that happens, another benefit occurs. The customer's costs plummet due to eliminating activities that are now unnecessary such as incoming inspection, rework, service inspections, and repairs. To do things faster, you have to do them better. Otherwise, errors grow exponentially out of control.

Here are questions that you can use to help you apply what you learned about how to cancel delays:

-What adjustments can you make to simplify the use of your offerings to eliminate customer and beneficiary delays?

-What process will allow you to eliminate as many steps as possible in providing your offerings?

-How can you simplify purchasing or ordering into a one-step process?

-What relationship with beneficiaries will turn your offering into an automatic and pleasant part of beneficiaries' operations or lives?
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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