“Just a little off the top…or not”

As mentioned previously, I am very thankful for people with servant leadership skills that look to help others without expecting anything in return. People with this mindset are set up to have incredibly loyal followers, which seems to be lacking in some industries, including manufacturing. I am NOT by any means saying that ALL manufacturers do not demonstrate servant leadership. However, there’s a stereotype that leadership (better known as management) in manufacturing environments stay in their ivory towers with little to no concern of the consequences of potentially unethical business practices. Fortunately, there are always exceptions to the stereotypes.

Introducing one of my favorite stores and manufacturing companies: LUSH. These guys cover all the bases for making you feel warm and fuzzy, inside and out. Not only are their products A-mazing, with a big capital “A”, their ingredients are ethically-sourced, all natural, and 100% animal-cruelty free. LUSH also has a packaging reduction program to either eliminating packaging entirely or having it reduced as much as possible while using only recycled and recyclable materials. Plus, customers can return their used packaging back to stores and get free products! Basically, they’re masters at corporate social responsibility.

I can talk about all the benefits this company has to offer with just their indirect benefits, (and I know I have before) but I would just suggest going into a store near you and find out more for yourself on the magic of their products alone. And after you’ve experienced the wonderfulness that is LUSH, you’d think they can’t possibly have enough time in the day to make their company/products any better, right? Wrong-o. Their manufacturing and distribution centers embody the  company’s exemplary ideals and values; everything from employee training to benefits and promotions hit the marks for “World Class Manufacturer” and “Best Place to Work.”

I’ve not meant for this post to be just a company review or promotional post. Instead, I’ve wanted to highlight some of the key differences between the traditional manufacturing practices and the ones LUSH has embraced to personify the epitome of corporate-social responsibility. LUSH ingrains the idea of thinking of others before oneself throughout their entire supply chain organization. One step in particular, the product development stage, is quite magical and takes a significant portion of input for new products directly from their customers. At their Hair Lab (remember: they don’t do animal testing so please don’t confuse it with the Hare Lab) their scientists, sans lab coats, converse in-person with customers on their personal hair grooming needs and what type of products they’re looking for that LUSH doesn’t currently offer. Recently, this very personable strategy has generated their first ever “co-wash” called Avocado Co-Wash, (a co-wash is a cleaning product for your hair that is around 80% conditioner and 20% shampoo designed to keep essential and naturally-produced oils in your hair that most traditional shampoos strip away).

LUSH’s product development strategy generates multiple variations of a product to fit each customer’s personal needs and, consequently, lends to the epiphany of creating a versatile product that satisfies a wide range of customers. This commitment to truly listen to their customers is what makes LUSH standout in the manufacturing and personal care industries. This devotion and commitment is rarely seen in manufacturing for reasons that I have not learned yet, (input, please!). Whatever the reason(s) may be, I truly appreciate LUSH’s demonstration of their values especially at this stage in the supply chain process/cycle. Because they’re searching for feedback, (customer service function that is normally at the last stage of supply chain) to help generate new products, (product development normally at beginning of the supply chain) for products that not only sell and satisfy, but personify the integrity and willingness to put others before oneself indefinitely.

Photo credit: http://www.dmarge.com/2014/10/avoid-bad-haircut.html

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