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To reduce waste and inefficiencies, abundant in most companies, without hurting growth drivers is the mission of process improvement leaders. During economic slowdowns, productivity innovators dispursed throughout the organization manage costs down, switching roles during economic expansions to apply improvement tactics that drive top-line growth.
Topping today's agendas from the boardroom to the front-line is the critical issue of cutting costs while maintaining quality. Sales, marketing, information techonology, product development, customer experience and process improvement leaders deploy tools, from social media to Six Sigma, in innovative ways in efforts to become leaner, more profitable organizations.
At the September 2008 Research and Advisory Services conference, members and guests gathered to discuss insights, innovations, best practices and lessons learned to improve processes, to reduce waste and to maintain integrity during times of tight budgets and broad economic woes.
Vice presidents, directors and managers responsible for promoting quality and process improvement in customer service, marketing, operations, sales and related areas will benefit most from these case studies from leading companies and the summarized transcripts from a targeted panel discussion and two facilitated roundtable discussions.
COMPANIES AND CASE STUDIES
Case studies include speaker biographies and company background before describing key challenges company leaders faced and how they overcame them, the connection between employee engagement, customer satisfaction and quality or tailored quality initiatives for organizations. Speaker anecdotes, quotes, select slides, insights and key take-aways all liven the case studies with personal touches and graphics.
- Sanofi-aventis gave an animated presentation on its software innovation, iTube, a social networking interface geared towards generation X and Y employees. The tool exemplifies how companies can identify with and engage their employees to prevent costly turnover of their younger sales staff to the competition as presented in "Social Media as a Tool for Employee Engagement."
- Nortel shared important points on how to connect quality initiatives to customer satisfaction by "planning the business and managing by it." Nortel has changed its processes for assessing customer satisfaction to align it directly to the company’s top business indicators, ensuring the company improves what is important to the customer and to the bottom line as shown in "The Critical Link Between Quality Excellence and Customer Satisfaction."
- Hewlett-Packard provided insight into HP’s Lean Sigma efforts and how focusing on quality, waste reduction and speed will impact the customer experience. Careful planning and execution of Lean Sigma projects and ensuring commitment of team members past project kick-off were emphasized in "Reducing Expenses while Improving Quality."
- FedEx Express elaborated on building a quality-oriented culture that starts with senior leadership direction. FedEx’s ABLE framework - assess, build, launch, evaluate - blends multiple quality methodologies and is applicable in every part of the organization, top to bottom as explained in "Quality Driven Management."
- Roche shared insights on how it applies market and customer segmentation in sales and marketing to better focus on what’s important to its key customers and how that translates into process improvement activities in "Leveraging Information Technology within Pharma Commercial Operations."
- DuPont shared learnings from its long history as a quality organization, arriving at Lean Six Sigma in 2004. The CEO and leadership team play critical roles in driving quality and in creating a custom methodology that fits the organization. 'One DuPont View' helps standardize processes across many business units as presented in "DuPont's Improvement Journey."
- InfraTrac shared perspectives on how to increase product integrity, which could save pharmaceutical companies millions by fending off counterfeits in "Cost-Effective Product Integrity."
Following the first four presentations on employee social networking, quality excellence through customer satisfaction, maintaining quality during cost reduction and quality driven management, Research and Advisory Services members and guests divided into smaller groups for roundtable discussions and information exchanges on How Process Improvement Professionals Can Best Add Value during Turbulent Economic Times, discussing:
Implications of the Current Economic Situation on Quality Groups
Choosing and Managing Process Improvement and Quality Tools for Optimal Results
Strategic Drivers to Leverage Scale and Scope of Globalization
Challenges in Execution of Globalization
The second day of networking and best practice sharing featured a targeted panel discussion on Leading Cost Reduction Efforts with Both Customer and Bottom Line in Mind. Cross-industry representatives fielded questions from the facilitator and from Research and Advisory Services members and guests on:
Case Example of a Leadership Lesson Learned
From the Customers’ Eyes: Managing Cost Reduction while Maintaining Strong Customer Relationships & Loyalty
The Current & Future State of the Process Excellence Function
This report was compiled from notes taken during speaker presentations and in-depth roundtable and panel discussions at the September 2008 Research and Advisory Services conference, "How Process Improvement Leaders Produce Profits in Recessions." For more information on the Research and Advisory Services or to register for upcoming meetings, visit www.best-in-class.com/research-advisory.
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