By Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel. Image from New Yorker.
While stumping for votes prior to an election to a company board of directors, Paul Keating used a coffee break to share some strategies for squeezing greater productivity out of his fellow programme specialists. He could have been reading information on my blogroll. Although he didn't say it directly, Keating advocated a Six Sigma approach to the problem of returning more value to the catchment area of Tipperary Institute. It's an approach used by Caroline O'Reilly in much of her committee work here.
Motorola uses Six Sigma in its Mahan development facility in County Cork. GE uses Six Sigma to squeeze higher returns out of product investment.
Some of my colleagues think the Six Sigma approach is too granular--it spends too much time defining the roots of problems, selecting specific metrics, and proposing specific deliverables. It's also too rigid and does not fit companies searching for innovative breakthroughs. For Keating and those interested in devising a methodology designed to pull together people working in distributed offices, Six Sigma gives the framework for a teamwork ethos that has produced results the world over.
John Porcaro has been down the same path and considers Six Sigma to be an important business process. He knows the "downside is that it's often a bit counter-intuitive (especially to marketers) to spend so much energy finding and fixing something so specific in such a detailed way. But the results are often breathtaking. Therein lies the beauty."
Sam Decker, a senior marketer from Dell, explains ways of integrating Six Sigma into marketing. This is a philosophy that needs serious review by people charged with ensuring the future viability of third level institutions in Ireland because the Irish government has mandated all colleges and universities source portions of their funding from alternative revenue streams.
- Realise there are three sources of revenue for your company:
a. Adding new customers.
b. Getting existing customers buying more.
c. Getting existing customers buying more frequently.
- Identify the processes you do within your company to effect each of the above sources of revenue.
- 3. Break down these processes into steps. Identify the variables that effect the quality (output) of each step.
- Now, choose a problem or process to improve and go at it using the DMAICR framework.
“Define” and “Measure” the problem or process.
“Analyze” why it’s performing poorly.
“Improve” it based on your analysis.
“Control” the process to sustain results.