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Applying lessons learned from Six Sigma and Lean deployments in manufacturing to areas that drive corporate growth, such as sales, marketing and new product development, is the current hurdle for companies looking to stimulate organic growth. Employees in these nontraditional areas don’t want to “stifle” their creative brainstorming with processes. They tune out the quality jargon and believe standardization will harm their personalized customer relationships.
Given these conditions, quality professionals struggle to effectively integrate quality into the organization, communicate its value to sales, marketing and new product development, and easily manage continuous improvements in those areas.
At the September 2007 Global Benchmarking Council meeting, members and guests gathered to discuss quality deployment in sales, marketing and new product development, challenges and successes those initiatives bring, and best practices in spurring organic growth as a result of deploying quality tools and processes like Lean and Six Sigma in those nontraditional areas.
Master black belts, black belts, quality managers and directors, process improvement and productivity executives and other benchmarking professionals will benefit most from the case studies of eight leading companies and the summarized transcripts from 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 innovation and quality or how to eliminate the root causes of chronic quality problems. Speaker anecdotes, quotes, select slides, insights and key take-aways all liven the case studies with personal touches and graphics.
- Dell Inc. shared how in the computer technology sector, global competition is relentless and product lifecycles are forever shrinking. Its approach to integrated system improvements drive innovation, growth and agility to respond to rapidly changing global markets in “Integrated Improvement: The Essential DNA for Quality and Growth.”
- Wachovia explained how financial institutions are finding it increasingly difficult to acquire and keep customers. Differentiation must come from innovation across a myriad of business fronts. Examples and difficulties in harnessing innovation to achieve higher levels of organic growth are highlighted in “Linkage of Innovation and Organic Growth in Financial Institutions.”
- Motorola detailed its commitment to the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMIŽ) as a mechanism to assure high quality, rapid production time, low cost, and customer delight. The background for the group’s use of the CMMI and the results of combining an optimizing process approach with Motorola’s quality culture to drive continuous software improvement and organization success are explained in “Using Process and Quality for Software Competitive Advantage.”
- BP shared preliminary findings of its Indirect Procurement organization recent establishment of a new team to enact a go-forward approach to effectively manage change in its organization. The organizational components developed and lessons learned from implementing each component to ensure maintained benefits from its change initiatives are described in “Quality: Enabling Customer Value and Savings to Fuel Growth.”
- LifeScan Inc. and Conor MedSystems, Johnson & Johnson operating companies, delved into LifeScan’s initiatives to integrate its quality systems into business operations – using process excellence and lean sigma tools, automation, standardization, job redefinition, structural alignment, and other improvement tactics – to ensure it’s prepared for long-term profitable growth in “One Touch Quality Program.”
- WR Grace offered an insider’s view of its successful use of Six Sigma tools like LEAN/Kaizen to simplify processes primarily within the manufacturing organization that they are now rolling out to a larger audience to include Sales, Marketing, R&D and administrative functions in “Process Simplification – The Fuel for Growth.”
- PRTM addressed the notion of how operational strategy drives innovation and product leadership within an organization. Lean Six Sigma has emerged as a powerful tool applying management science to engineer profitable growth while maintaining customer-centric focus, according to “Product Innovation Excellence.”
- DuPont shared how quality issues were constraining current revenue and future growth. The data-based approach to identify the root causes of chronic quality problems and the key strategies in culture, planning, and execution necessary to eliminate the root causes were described in “Using a Strategic Quality Assessment to Identify the Key Quality Strategies for Growth.”
Following the first four presentations on integration, innovation, competitive advantage and growth as they relate to quality, Global Benchmarking Council members and guests divided into smaller groups for more in-depth discussion and information exchange on hot-button issues, including:
- Challenges: What are the greatest challenges you face in using quality to drive growth across marketing and sales operations and new product development?
- Wins & Gains: On which growth fronts have you experienced the greatest gains using quality tools and approaches? What were the specific improvement fronts and gains?
- Most Helpful Tools & Tactics: What tools, process approaches, and tactics have proven most effective across marketing, sales and new product development?
- Improvement Targets: What are the best improvement areas or targets for driving growth within marketing and sales operations and new product development?
- Managing Resistance to Change: What approaches have proven most effective in overcoming resistance to process improvement approaches with highly creative groups, such as marketing, sales and new product development?
This report was compiled from notes taken during speaker presentations and in-depth roundtable discussions at the September 2007 Global Benchmarking Council meeting, “Managing Quality to Drive Growth.”
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