skip to Main Content

I think what you’re getting at is determining who the customer is of the process being analyzed and improved. If you’re trying to decrease the lead time to processing a mortgage application, then you’ve got an external customer. If you’re trying to decrease the time to hire, then you’ve got an internal customer. Once you determine the focus of a project and the metric to be increased or decreased, then you identify the customer who receives the goods or services of that process. At that point you know whether you’re focusing on an external (paying) customer or an internal customer (e.g., Hiring Managers). You generally don’t have internal and external customers receiving the same goods and services, but I’m sure it could happen. What’s important is that improvements to a process for an internal customer should not negatively impact the external customer.

What’s important is that improvements to a process for an internal customer should not negatively impact the external customer.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.