Customer knowledge can be gained through identifying customer needs; goals; or desires using a hierarchical value map or the means-ends model (in e.g. Bounds et al; 1993). Value to customers is then related to the degree of compatibility (match) between the consequences of using the product and customer needs. Within TQM (and Six Sigma); the subject matter knowledge seems to be the dominating knowledge for value creation and delivery if we take Quality Function Deployment (QFD) as an example. Thus; customer value is related with the existence or performance of product/service attributes. Meanwhile; the Lean Production methodology seems to rely more on self-knowledge to create and deliver value to customers; meaning that creating customer value is about driving away the wastes from a system.
As a value-creating system; an organisation also needs to focus on customer knowledge (besides subject matter knowledge and self-knowledge) to understand to whom is the system creating value for. Therefore; the purpose of this paper is to propose a method to identify customer value based on customer knowledge; which can be transformed by the producer into value that can flow along the value stream.
Keywords: Customer value; system thinking; customer knowledge; functional utilities