I choose to see the economy as re-setting rather than in a depression. The reason is simple, a depression is just plain depressing, while a re-set connotes changes, perhaps huge changes, but it still provides for a future with hope.
As the economy re-sets with an uncertain future, it is more important than ever that as employees and business owners, we look at how our processes are delivering value. To our internal customers as employees and to our external customers as business owners, the value we add is essential to know and to survive and even thrive during this period in our economic life.
A couple of simple tools from Six Sigma can aid us in this process. The first is Critical to Quality or CTQ.
CTQ helps us align our business processes with our customer requirements. As an employee, have you revisited how well you understand and are meeting the requirements of your co-workers, your bosses and the customers of your company? This is an opportunity to do so.
The same goes for business owners. Have you done the same with your suppliers, your business partners, employees and customers?
The Kano model below is the second tool. It is frameworks for considering, measuring and implementing activities to not only provide customer satisfaction, but to bring delight.
So a must have at a hotel would be clean sheets, an accurate bill, etc. Nobody is going to get extra praise for this, but there will be “hell to pay” if they are not present and fully implemented.
Satisfiers are activities that please or displease. The more you have the better. The more amenities and services provided, the more happy the customer, right? Well, yes and no. Only if they really meet customer needs, are executed flawlessly and are free.
Delighters are things that are ‘unspoken and unexpected.’
In terms of re-setting your processes, you need to look for simple, inexpensive delighters. These will distinguish you as an employee or your products and services in the marketplace.
You have to take care of the basics, your must haves, execute them flawlessly and keep the costs low. How well are you doing this? You better check with your key customers, whether they are internal or external.
Finally you need to determine what satisfiers your customers really want, what they cost and what you can afford. In this economy, as it re-sets, you’ll need to really watch these satisfiers. They can cost you money that delivers no really value and that customers will really not want to pay for.
Ultimately, you will want to develop metrics that help you measure the effectiveness of your operations and processes.
In an economic environment that is uncertain at best, running a tight ship and understanding how to meet the requirements of your customers is more essential than ever.