Learning from other industries

One of the things I like in the Service Management Book by Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons is that service organization can learn from other service organizations even if they are not in the same industry. For example, minimizing the waiting time and improving the customer waiting experience will be similar, to some extent, in banks, hospitals and consulting companies. Some details may be different but the main ideas can be adopted.

Even manufacturing companies can learn from manufacturing companies in different industry and, moreover, from service companies. For example, the purchasing system in manufacturing company is similar to that in service company. If you want to decrease the lead time in any of them, you may do similar changes. This may seems very clear, but I have seen many professionals who believes that they can learn, ONLY, form similar companies in the same industry and using the same technology. By doing this, they are limiting their knowledge.

Some practices can be applied in any industry and in any function. The Japanese Poka-Yoke (mistake-proofing) can be applied in a restaurant, travel agency, Human resources of any organization, technical activities…etc. E-business in different industries may be similar in most parts.

Sometimes we forget that in a manufacturing company we have many service departments and several service activities in the production departments. Financial, purchasing, Warehouse, customer service, marketing, human resources departments can learn from similar departments in completely different organizations. A production manager or engineer can learn from managers in different industry and even in different function. In addition, organizations in different industries may be more willing to cooperate and share knowledge; simply because they are not competing with each other. I think we can learn more from each other.

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