The machine that changed the world finally changes marketing & sales

The Machine That Changed the World front coverIn 1991 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published The Machine That Changed the World. It was the result of a multi-million dollar, five-year, 14-country study into Toyota’s primary weapon, lean production.

When the book, now recognised as a management classic, was written, Toyota was half the size of General Motors. Today it is the world’s largest car company and almost every manufacturing company, regardless of the widget they produce, is committed to some form of lean production.

Machine contrasted two fundamentally different business systems — lean versus mass, two very different ways of thinking about how humans work together to create value. The authors, Womack, Jones, and Roos, documented lean production’s advantages over the mass production model pioneered by GM and predicted that lean production would triumph. They asserted that lean would triumph not just in manufacturing but in every value-creating activity from health care to retail to distribution.

Finally, more than 20 years later, lean is coming to marketing & sales, which has been for far too long the domain of broken processes, disparate legacy IT systems and old-school selling attitudes and habits that cannot adapt quickly enough to today’s rapidly-changing competitive environment.

Companies and their brands cannot afford inefficient sales organizations that are not focused on providing their customers with superior business outcomes and results, rather than products and services. Holistic customer-centric companies are enjoying higher margins and superior marketplace differentiation. Those who are slow to respond are commodity suppliers racing house brands to the bottom of their respective markets.

Marketing and sales has no choice but to get into bed together and become an efficient revenue generator, embracing state-of-the art technologies, lean process discipline and engaged people, in an optimized and simplified selling machine.

Here’s’s latest interpretation of what a synchronized process, technology and people revenue engine looks like.

8 years ago