Harley-Davidson’s CEO, James Ziemer, defined three constants that help drive their motorcycle-making business:
- Our passion for this business, for riding, and for relating to and being one with our customers
- Our sense of purpose — in other words, our focus on growing demand by offering great products and unique experiences
- Operational Excellence — which is the continuous, relentless drive to eliminate waste in all aspects of our operations and to run Harley-Davidson better and more efficiently with each passing day
These guiding principles give us some wonderful examples of ways you can run your business.
Relating to Customers
What better way to relate to customers than being your own customer? To do this, you must buy and use your products. Harley’s annual report is fun to read because you see all the company executives decked out in leather and riding gear. They get out on the road with customers and engage them in conversation. Don’t sit behind your desk forever. You can figuratively jump on your Harley and head out to a rally to meet with your loyal customers. What do you think you could learn from them?
What have you done lately to grow customer demand for your product? Harley has been busy innovating new designs and models, acting on customer feedback, and hooking new customers through education and safety courses. You must continually refine your product lines to keep them growing and moving forward. Incorporate feedback from your customers to help you improve. Think about how you can engage prospective customers and turn them into paying customers.
Every business has areas that siphon off money unnecessarily. Do you know where these spots are in your business? Get out on the factory floor, mingle with employees, or survey your company to see what areas could be improved. By continually evaluating your efficiencies, you can, in turn, fix issues that arise speedily and then build on that foundation for your next steps.
Take Action Today
What can you do today that will make your business run a little more efficiently? Don’t stagnate in the status quo. Take some steps forward right now in improving your operations.