It is well known that over the last decade, traditional media companies have struggled to make their financial models as innovative as the products that they offer. Many commentators and the media companies themselves have struggled to formulate successful strategies to fight against the tide of customers expecting more for less or, in many cases, more for nothing.

At the same time however, the media industry has often neglected the need for improved efficiency and ignored a customer-focused approach to decisions. Although SayOne Media is the publisher of the Lean Management Journal, much like many media organisations, we have much to learn from the best in the business when it comes to lean. However, over the next 12 months we aim to take some strident steps towards improving our business and our customer service.

The first project we have undertaken has looked at the subscription process for this journal. Using the style learned in the OEE course, we have completed a process map of the existing subscription related activities and compared that to what we would like for an ideal process. We have uncovered a number of unnecessary steps and opportunities for mistake prevention.

One of the obvious areas for change is that at present we do not offer an online payment system for LMJ. That decision was made because of an assumption that due to the corporate profile of LMJ subscribers, most would prefer to be invoiced. This however has proven not to be the case with credit card payment requests, which are currently taken over the phone, having steadily increased over the last 12 months to now represent nearly 50% of orders raised.

Also, customers generally expect immediacy when it comes to accessing digital content for which they have paid. As a result, it has become clear that an online payment system which integrates with the membership system would not only provide this immediacy but would help reduce the workload for the accounts department. Ideally we would then also like to integrate the payment system directly with our CRM system to ensure we have a single source of information, but this will likely take place at a later stage.

In addition to this, we have also begun to create a company-wide competency/training grid which clearly demonstrates whether individuals require training, are currently undergoing training, are competent, or are cable of providing training. This has revealed a number of areas within the business where more training is required including the process for delivering digital material across our various publications. SayOne Media is hoping to develop process alongside innovative products to deliver the best content and user experience possible. While we have a long way to go to meet the high standards we have set for ourselves we are well underway on our lean journey.