1. Six Sigma, the Baldrige National Quality Program, and ISO 9000 certification are all programs that aim to improve quality and performance, but they each take a different approach to achieving that goal. Do you think these approaches are competing with each other, or are they complementary? Explain your answer.
Six Sigma, the Baldrige National Quality Program, and ISO 9000 are all quality measurement systems, but they by no means compete with each other. Many companies use all three systems as tools for continuous improvement, and each of them plays an essential role in both satisfying customer and business needs. Thus, there is no need to choose one. An organization can successfully practice two or three at the same time, depending on its current needs.
For example, Six Sigma aims to measure product quality and improve process engineering, resulting in cost savings. While ISO 9001:2000 Registration, a part of the ISO 9000 family, guarantees equity in the marketplace. It also helps to solve quality system defects, as well as product or service nonconformities. As for the Baldrige Program, it concentrates on organization-wide performance excellence, helps to identify and keep track of such organizational results as customer or product service, human recourse, financial effectiveness. As we can see, Baldrige-based criteria guides the entire organizational process of a company, ISO 9000 focuses on customer satisfaction and product quality, and finally Six Sigma enhances continuous improvement. Therefore, a company has to analyze its needs and choose necessary tools, keeping in mind that all three are mutually complementary and are a part of the Total Quality Management.
2. If you were a major shareholder of a corporation, what kind of people would you seek, in terms of both experience and personal characteristics to sit on your board of directors? Why?
If I were a shareholder of a corporation, first, I would realize that top-executives and directors I need to find are people whose main goal is to maintain business success and multiply business profit and growth. For this reason, the main criteria for hiring executive board employees are experience. These people must meet the requirements of their positions in the company, as well as correspond to the company scale. For instance, financial director, who previously worked for a company with 200 million dollar turnover, does not possess enough experience to work in a company with the annual turnover of 1 billion dollars. Furthermore, top level position requires certain reputation in the business environment, which a person is unable to gain without having real experience, knowledge, and skills.
Besides, executive board members must possess perfect reputation and portfolio of achievements. I would seek good decisions-makers, team leaders experienced in managing and motivating their employees, thus, creating a team of like-minded persons. Board of directors would be represented by goal-oriented people who constantly seek new opportunities and take responsibilities for their decisions.
In terms of personal characteristics and qualities, executive board members must be emotionally wise leaders, who embody integrity and initiative. They must possess good communicative skills, rich socio-cultural background, and willingness for development and growth within a company.
3. Imagine for a moment that you’re the general manager of a local, upscale grocery store that is part of a national chain. You’ve just gotten word from corporate headquarters that all stores must install at least two self-checkout machines. Research shows that the machines will pay for themselves within about a year, by reducing labor costs. But you believe that cutting jobs would put your store at a competitive disadvantage. Your competitive edge, especially versus low price giants such as Wal-Mart is better service. Instead of reducing your workforce, you’d like to transform those superfluous cashier jobs to service jobs in places such as the deli and the bakery. In fact, you’d even like to add a childcare service for busy parents. You are convinced that the changes you envision could boost profits by a minimum of 5% in the first year. How would you persuade your manager at corporate headquarters to let you test your approach for the first year after the self-checkout machines are installed in your store? Keep in mind that if the plan succeeds, your boss may roll it out nationwide, but if the plan fails, your personal and professional credibility may be at stake.
As a manger, I would understand that business success largely depends on taking risk. However, bad risk is when goals and objectives are not clear. In case my manager at corporate headquarters does not realize it, I would prepare to persuade him to transform cashier jobs to service jobs, and add a childcare service for busy parent. In this case preparation would be developing a plan of actions, highlighting advantages of transforming jobs and disadvantages of cutting them off. My plan would thoroughly analyze necessary changes, clarify business objectives and goals, and assess all possible risks. There is risk, that transforming jobs to deli and bakery, and implementing child care service would not bring expected results. The risk management plan will help not only to identify risks associated with new changes, but analyze and evaluate them, develop risk treatment plan of how to avoid and reduce risks, and minimize their impact.
Therefore, I will not go empty-handed to defend my vision. Everything I say will be supported by thorough written assessment. I will claim that cutting of jobs would destroy morale and reduce productivity of our employees, and for this reason it is a good solution to transfer people to service jobs in bakery, deli, and new child care service. Child care service would put our store at competitive advantage to acquire new customers, while keeping employees happy and loyal at the same time. I will appeal to successful competitor experience in organizing child care service, and provide evidence that implied risk is minimal. Moreover, the plan does not require some global changes, and recourses spent on it will serve as an investment. This investment will significantly increase customer acquisition, as well as customer and employee loyalty, inevitably leading to profit growth.