BenefitsEngaged Workforce

Secret No. 7: Embrace Continuous Improvement

In the final installment of the series, a look at adopting Six Sigma as a tool for giving the customers what they want.

by Atul Vashistha

In my last column, I wrote about how important a strong governance model is to the success of a globalization initiative. But I didn’t address two important questions: How will the client organization know if its governance model is strong enough and how will the client know if its globalization initiative is successful?

Answering those questions is where a continuous improvement mindset comes in. Embracing such a mindset throughout the entire lifecycle of the sourcing initiative will allow the organization to understand how well the initiative is working.

There are a number of well-thought-out, tested models for process improvement. Six Sigma has proven the most resilient as well as the most cross-applicable throughout a variety of processes in a variety of industries.

A number of proven Six Sigma methodologies, including Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) and the voice-of-the-customer (VOC) principle, can be used. One of the globalization-specific tools we’ve developed to assess services globalization initiatives is Healthcheck.

Healthcheck will measure output on a variety of factors and compare those measurements to established benchmarks, goals, and expectations.

Conducting a health check is a way to use Six Sigma principles to measure the relative health of a globalization initiative. Healthcheck can benefit the organization at a number of different points, including:

  • Prior to completion of the sourcing phase of the lifecycle, the organization can use Healthcheck to assess its readiness for globalization and to assess
  • proposed contracts;
  • Post-transition, organizations can use Healthcheck to ensure that the service management and governance arrangements are working and positioned to adapt to future changes;
  • Midway through the initiative, Healthcheck can be used to refresh the organization’s relationship with the supplier, processes, pricing, and contracts.

Healthcheck can also be useful when it comes time to renew the contract, to enable appropriate contract revisions, or to terminate the agreement and set up cross- or reverse-transitioning.

A health check conducted objectively using rigorous Six Sigma methods can open the client organization to numerous opportunities, including returns on competitiveness, human capital, delivery and technology efficiencies, and investment. Table 1 details these potential returns and the specific activities necessary within Healthcheck to open up the organization to these returns.

Applying the principles of Six Sigma to services globalization reminds us that global sourcing is actually the means to an end—an end that is ultimately about giving the client organization’s customers what they want.

At the end of the day, the purpose of embracing a continuous improvement mindset in services globalization is to allow for continuous gains.

To realize continuous gains: adopt a continuous improvement mindset, never stop learning, use the DMAIC model, conduct regular health checks, and always keep a lookout for new opportunities to do better.

Tags: Benefits, Engaged Workforce

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