Willy Shih on restoring American competitiveness at Discovery Summit

8 Aug

In their award-winning Harvard Business Review article “Restoring American Competitiveness,” Willy Shih and his co-author, Gary Pisano, note that “nearly every US brand of laptop and cell phone is not only manufactured but designed in Asia.” “Most Americans have no idea where the stuff they buy comes from and don’t […]

Vía JMP Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JmpBlog/~3/hmRlTENHjzg/

JMP Student Edition: Help students master statistical concepts quickly

7 Aug

People are often surprised to learn that of all students taking college-level statistics courses, well over 90% are enrolled in introductory service-oriented statistics courses. This amounts to more than 1 million students every year in the US alone! While these are typically terminal courses that satisfy graduation requirements, they are […]

Vía JMP Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JmpBlog/~3/krcKc34bbAg/

Customer Focus by Everyone

7 Aug


There are many critical elements to a management system. One that is fundamental, yet still poorly executed far too often, is creating a system where all staff can focus on enhancing value to the customer every day.

If your enterprise does not focus on this, it should. If you think your enterprise does, my first, second and third suggestions are to think more critically about whether it really does. If the answer is yes, then you are lucky to work in such an organization.

Saying that customers are valued is easy. Actually designing systems to focus on providing value and continually improving to provide value more effectively is not. It really shouldn’t be obvious to a customer in 5 minutes of interacting with your organization that it is obvious customers are not very important.

It is very difficult to create a system with customer focus by all staff without several basic supports in place. Respect for people needs to be practiced – not just mentioned. If there isn’t time to work on improvements to the system, often meaning you have the equivalent of sickness management instead of a “health care system” that is a shame. The reality of most organizations seems to be to make it very annoying for customers to even bring an issue they are having to the attention of the organization and even then the gaol is to use the absolute least amount of effort for the band-aid that can be tolerated.

Staff have to be given authority to act in the interest of customers. But this can lead to chaos if a good system isn’t in place to steer this process. And without processes in place to capture (systemically) needed improvements there will be huge waste.

Given staff authority to act is good. But you don’t want staff just slapping on band-aid effectively thousands of times. Systems (documented processes, data collection, training…) have to be in place to let everyone improve systems to improve results. Staff need to not just provide customer value right away they need to determine if the actions they are taking could be better handled by changing the process.

It is very rare, in my experience, to see anything close to what management experts will suggest or leaders claim exists, actually working when the customer comes in contact with the organization.

Go to the gemba as a customer of your organization. I would be surprised if you can’t think of things that would make your experience better. Try to request those improvements and see what happens. If you get a great response that is awesome (but not something I believe will happen often). In some cases it might not work if you try yourself (smaller organizations where you would be recognized and not treated as a normal customer, if so just have a friend try it).

There are lots of details on what should be done to make this work well. But the state of most places I interact with as a customer are so missing in any effort at doing this well that the first steps needed are not tricky. Once you have a few things in place and things are starting to work, read some good ideas and encourage staff to do so and then just adopt ideas from Deming, Ohno, Ackoff, Scholtes… it isn’t hard to do hugely better than what is going on now.

Are your staff really focused on how to provide the most value to customers every day? Or are they just trying to survive the day? How are they encouraged to be thinking of providing customer value? How do managers know if they have created an environment that is encouraging that focus? How are senior executives focused on customers (not just spreadsheets actual customers)?

Often a real challenge to focusing on customers is the much great focus on minimizing costs. In many organization the cost minimization focus is so far ahead of anything else that it is not possible to imagine that it is sensible to value customers instead of seek to stop customers from contacting us in the first place and if they do then do the absolute least that can be done. Reducing costs that don’t provide customer value is good. The abandonment of customer service by most organizations in the name of saving money is lousy.

Related: Engage in Improving the Management SystemChange is not Improvement

Vía Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/curiouscatblog/zeDq/~3/rdU92Vi_0ao/

Constructing a custom design with 2 nested random blocking factors

6 Aug

My previous post demonstrated some advantages of designed experiments using random blocks rather than the more traditional fixed blocks. My main point was that random blocks can allow for more cost-effective experiments because they require fewer runs for a given set of factors and model specification. There is another advantage […]

Vía JMP Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JmpBlog/~3/5HfOlGHde6M/

Job posting: Analytics software tester at JMP

4 Aug

Good news! I have a JMP job listing to share with you. This time, it’s a software testing job in JMP R&D. Here’s the description of the job from the SAS Careers site (where all JMP jobs are posted): “As a JMP Analytics Software Tester, you will validate statistical features […]

Vía JMP Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JmpBlog/~3/8ZY6Qy4ZrOI/

Data visualization of funding of 2012 Olympics

3 Aug

The Guardian, a London newspaper, recently published a blog post, “What’s the Real Price of the Olympic Games?” that showed the sources of funding and use of those funds for the 2012 Olympics. The blog post included an interactive graph, shown below: A viewer could click on one of the […]

Vía JMP Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JmpBlog/~3/6ydK6jepff0/

Evolution of statistical graphics and visual analytics at JSM 2012

2 Aug

At the Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego this week, I attended a panel on The Evolution of Statistical Graphics and Visual Analytics. The panelists, Antony Unwin, Hadley Wickham and Michael J. Kane all commented on this graphic from The New York Times.     There was a lot of discussion […]

Vía JMP Blog http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JmpBlog/~3/lo2wd9psKm0/