More often than not, these are the questions that local companies must address when looking for ways to improve their bottom line.
A major local security company thought their clients were happy until they did some research.
The company -- which provides security services to major banks including National City -- felt their regionwide customer base was satisfied. After conducting a survey of 700 customers, they were devastated to find their satisfaction rating was a mere 4.2 on a scale of 10. "That's the difference between a good company and a great company," says Vera Lewis-Jasper, executive director of the Institute for Organizational Excellence at Tri-C's Corporate College.
"This company was willing to look at the issues, invest in research and manage all aspects of their business from training, finance, human resources, operations and quality systems and when all was said and done, their satisfaction rating rose to 8.7 and today they are saving $100,000 a year as a result of implementing a holistic continuous process improvement plan," she adds.
The security company recouped their investment the first year after installing an ISO-9001 quality-management program. So just how do organizational excellence initiatives improve a company's performance?
"We look at how a business operates and what processes they use that can be improved. We have the tools to help businesses look at their organization as a whole," Lewis-Jasper says.
She adds that companies should consider asking the following questions when thinking about improving their productivity.
- What I am doing to operate as lean as possible?
- Am I only taking steps that improve the processes of getting the product into my customers' hands?
- Where can I remove costs when it comes to machinery and projects?
- Do I have a team in place that can address these questions?
Area institutes and organizations provide programming to assist businesses in streamlining operations, as well eliminating inefficiencies, which results in greater quality management. And it doesn't always have to hurt.
With today's blended learning and e-learning options, time spent out of the office or plant is minimized. Where previously a Six Sigma certification required 122 hours of classroom time, today only 60 hours of classroom time is required.
The drastic time reduction is a result of an individual, online, instructor-led curriculum, chat groups and Internet research -- all of which are reinforced during class time.
"When we show this to people, they are floored," Lewis-Jasper says.
Local businesses -- in any sector -- can improve their profits by engaging in a wide variety of quality training programs including Lean, Six Sigma, Baldrige Quality, Process Improvement, Environmental Health & Safety and Organization Process Improvement.
Denise Reading is president of Corporate College. For further information on Corporate College, visit http://www.corporatecollege.com or call (866) 806-2677.