May 19, 2020

Lean Six Sigma success secrets

Food Digital
Diageo
contributors
Acquisition
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Lean Six Sigma success secrets
South Africa-based Pietro Pazzi, MD at NuBiz, and Consultant at Afrox/Linde, BHP Billiton, Sanlam and Linatex, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with solid experience in successfully applying Lean Six Sigma.

Having led the design and execution of several operational and transactional business improvement projects, positively impacting balance sheets and income statements, his success secrets are most definitely ones to take note of. So read on as we present his top secrets to winning with Six Sigma…

1. READYING THE ORGANISATION

The first step involves a Readiness Audit to ascertain the current culture of the organisation and its acceptance to change, says Pazzi. Several areas should be explored, including financial statements; relationships across departments; leadership team commitment levels; willingness to adopt a data-orientated approach to decision-making; project management mentality; and the level of analytical skills in the business, among others.

Aside from assessing the readiness of the business, the audit aids in developing a deployment plan and methodology selection – Lean, DMAIC or DFSS - and identifies areas requiring extra attention.

To maximize Six Sigma benefits, “it is imperative to align behind the company’s strategy”, Pazzi says, adding that a key element of any change is “absolute clear communication of the purpose and benefits of the ‘new way’”. This means issuing a plan to all stakeholders.

2. DEPLOYMENT STRUCTURE & PROJECT SELECTION

Six Sigma requires a solid infrastructure to enable good management. Pazzi talks us through the ‘Six Sigma Organogram’: “In essence a typical Six Sigma organization includes - Leaders Sponsor/Chief Champion, VP/Director of Six Sigma, Champions, Master Black Belt, Black Belts, Green Belt, Yellow Belt, Process Owners, Team Members, and Financial Validate.” Typically, the VP, MBB and BBs structure the Six Sigma organizations, while the remaining roles ensure success, he explains. “Belt selection is another area that can make a difference,” he says.

Next comes the project selection: “This is one of the key success factors that can make the difference between a winning business and a frustrated one.” Although this is a critical factor, Pazzi says it is often riddled with error.

“A project idea hopper should be in place and updated continuously with new project ideas. Evidence, data and facts should be used to select projects.” Once selected, “the project objectives, metrics and benefits are buttoned down. This forms the basis of the chartering process”. It is absolutely key that projects are correctly scoped and the right balance between cycle-time is achieved, he adds.

3. KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER, BELT COACHING & PROJECT REVIEWS

Next the transfer of knowledge commences, which Pazzi says is best done in the class room: “Not only does this type of training promote integration and dynamic discussion, it allows for practical exercises that help cement the new concepts that are being taught.”

Training sessions should be facilitated by an experienced MBB, balancing theory and experiential work. Candidates have their own projects to implement new tools and techniques on.

“A vital component of ensuring that belts steadily progress with their projects is the level of coaching and mentoring they receive. The champion and the MBB take responsibility for this role,” he says. Project stage gate reviews should then be presented by belts, taking evaluation criterion into account, which in turn is reviewed and presented to stakeholders.

4. DEPLOYMENT & PROJECT TRACKING

Once past the initial learning phase, BB’s should be running four projects comfortably, with support and mentoring, Pazzi goes on to explain.

By now, Six Sigma should be the primary initiative deployed within the company. “As such various levels within an organization need to have access to Six Sigma related status information,” says Pazzi. “One of the key elements of a successful deployment includes some sort of deployment and project tracking mechanism,” he outlines, adding that it should be “user-friendly, fast and simple to use”. The mechanism should be accessible to stakeholders; include a dashboard that indicates benefits, projects, cycle time, resources, and trained individuals; house a complete project charter; and allow belts to attach project documents.

5. REPLICATION & MAINTAINING MOMENTUM

“With projects underway success will begin to emerge. To build confidence and speed up the adoption of Six Sigma, these successes should be communicated to the organization,” Pazzi stresses. “As projects are concluded and the company reaps their rewards, it is important to consider taking these to other areas within the organization that may have similar processes.

“With projects logged into a centralized repository all the project information should be readily available. The belt will learn as much as possible from the success story, which allows for accelerated cycle time of the project.” Leaders must then ensure that the initiative’s momentum is sustained, Pazzi concludes.

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Jun 12, 2021

Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey

CX
customerjourney
Limitless
gigeconomy
Roger Beadle, Co-founder & CEO...
6 min
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless looks at how CX can directly Influence revenue generation in streaming services

There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.

There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.

There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.

In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.

Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.

So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?

Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney

While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.

For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.

For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.

Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.

It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.

How do companies support the new customer journey?

More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.

These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.

The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?

For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.

It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.

And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.

It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.

At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.

About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.

About Limitless
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.

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