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How to Compete

Sep 18, 2013 | Posted by Matt Elson

Once again, I am baffled by the thinking in some organizations on how they think they have to compete. Check out this link and see why:

New Tim Hortons CEO wants to simplify menu, speed up service – Business – CBC News.

This reminds me a lot of a famous quote from Henry Ford, who I have a lot of respect and admiration for (after all, he invented modern production, including the assembly line…can also argue that he started the creation of the middle class, but that’s another blog post!), but, boy was he off on this one: “Any customer can have a car painted any colour they want, as long as it’s black.” At this point, General Motors proceeded to eat their lunch for the next few decades and stole top spot from the world-leading (at the time) Ford. The lesson? Listen to your customers!

I don’t know about you, but I want more choice, not less. Now granted Tim’s has a ridiculous array of coffee sizes, but beyond that, if they want to compete in the marketplace, variety seems to be the key! Look at McDonalds for example and their massive expansion into McCafe and their Signature series (wraps, etc.). Clearly, they see a trend in the marketplace driven by customers and are going after it. I guess Tim’s needs to have one sized coffee, and only those stale, hard-as-rock chocolate glazed donuts to keep complexity down to compete.

I have another proposal: invest in developing the skills, knowledge and experience of your staff so that they can improve the safety, quality, quantity and cost of your processes by using kaizen.

While you’re at it, can you please invest in some team leader support for your front line staff? A line up out the door and the drive thru snaking into traffic is a sign of a problem!

Or maybe your think your top place is impervious to competitors? Talk to the folks over at Research in Motion…ugh, sorry, I mean Blackberry…about that.

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