January Ė March, 2014

Volume 4, Number 1

In This Issue

    Sprints and Marathons

    Did You Know?

    How to be Creative Even if You Donít Feel Like it!

    ASQ Annual Salary Survey Results

    Featured Link

    The History of Six Sigma

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Sprints and Marathons

 

As I mentioned in the last issue, a year is often like a marathon race with a sprint at the end.†† Sometimes though it feels like weíre sprinting through a marathon Ė the work never ends!†† Even worse Ė sometimes it feels like weíre sprinting on one of those hamster wheels and going nowhere Ė weíre running in circles instead of toward a goalÖ

About 1/3 of 2014 is behind us - how is your race going?†† I hope as you read this, things are better for you now than a year ago, or even better than in January!††

Itís always great in any race to have mile-markers you can watch as you speed by to both gauge your progress and motivate you.†† Now is a perfect time to revisit and adjust your project milestones.† Reflect back on all the progress youíve made thus far!† If future milestones seem daunting or intimidating, simply break them down into smaller, more easily digested pieces.†† Itíll be a great feeling as you watch them fly by and cross things off your to-do list.†† A great year awaits you!

Have an excellent quarter!

Best,

Jeff Cole

President

JCG Management Consulting

Did You Know?

As noted recently in Connections magazine, The Customer Contact Association along with Verint recently released some interesting research information regarding customers and how to keep them for life.†††††

Did you know Ö

  • Ö† only 25% of customers believe businesses pay attention to their opinions?
  • Ö† 29% of shoppers feel valued?
  • Ö 42% of shoppers are unhappy but rarely complain?

 

What can you do?†† Here are several ideas:

  • Implement a customer satisfaction survey process (and act on the results)
  • Study Voice of the Customer techniques such as KJ Analysis, Kano techniques, and other such methods as advocated by opex methods like Lean Six Sigma
  • Ensure your customers have multiple feedback channels to communicate with you (and are incented to do so)
  • Make it easy to complain!

How to be Creative Even if You Donít Feel Like it!

Letís say itís a Monday morning, you havenít had your coffee yet, and you have to be creative but donít feel like it.† What to do?† Fortunately, there are a variety of creative thinking tools you can employ.† One of these is the Idea Box, which you can learn quickly and use immediately.

The idea Box is an offshoot of Morphological Analysis, invented by Swiss astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky.† It works well in OpEx methods as it systematically allows you to investigate all relationships for a complex or multi-dimensional problem.†† You start by drawing a box (or table or matrix if you prefer) Ė and across the top you list the different elements or parameters of your design or situation.† Under each of those column headings you list various options of how you might address those elements.† Then itís a matter of taking a random walk through the matrix picking options that become your solution.† A simple 4 x 4 matrix would actually generate up to 256 unique ideas!†† For a very brief video showing the Idea Box in action, click here.

ASQ Annual Salary Survey Results

Each year, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) conducts and publishes its annual Salary Survey, which is often of interest to those working in the Operational Excellence field.† Here are a few interesting highlights from their recently published 2013 study of 6445 quality professionals:

 

  • Weíre earning more: The average quality professionalís salary increased 1.58% in 2013 to $88,458.
  • Weíre working longer hours:† Over 40% of US respondents work an average of more than 45 hours per week.† 8.9% work over 55 hours per week.
  • Six Sigma training still pays off:† In the 2013 study, both Green Belts and Black Belts showed average salaries that were over $9,000 higher than their untrained counterparts.

 

To view a summary of the study, click here.††

Featured Link

How many search engines can you name?† Iíll waitÖ† That didnít take too long!† Iíll bet you got a handful.† Ebizmba published a list in March of the Top 15 Most Popular

Search Engines.† Google tops this list with an estimated 1.1 Billion unique monthly visitors, followed by Bing and Yahoo.† Beyond that are players in the search engine game you may not even know existed.† To see the complete list of 15, click here.

The History of Six Sigma

The Origins of SIx Sigma

Youíve likely heard of Six Sigma, but did you ever wonder where it originated?†† It didnít just magically appear one day and assume its position as one of the leading improvement methods of our time.† Ask any two people what six sigma is and where it came from and youíre likely to get two different answers!†† Some assume it came from GE, but it actually originated at Motorola in the 1980ís and is often credited to Bill Smith, one of their engineers.

John Forsberg was a Motorola Master Black Belt and had a front row seat to the creation of this popular methodology.† In his latest book, The Origins of Six Sigma, he takes you back to a time before the internet, before texting, tweeting, and laptops, and shows you the logic that people like Bill Smith, Mikel Harry, and Ken Enger used to help Motorola drive massive business improvements.† Some of Bill Smithís very early notes and original training materials are meticulously recreated so you can see what the very first thoughts were on this topic in the mid-1980ís.†† Itís a great historical reference for anyone involved in Operational Excellence.†† To see Johnís book, click here.

 

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