Lean Six Sigma, people and politicians

Posted on Updated on

If there’s one thing that people and politicians alike can agree on it’s that tax dollars are constantly being wasted. Not only that but even when investigations are performed there’s hardly ever any means to hold one agency accountable. So much for Weber’s ideal bureaucratic model, how effective has that been? It’s time to try implementing something new, something fresh. Like lean six sigma! What is Six sigma you ask? Why it’s all the rage! I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it by now. Its helped businesses like GE and motorola save billions of dollars in the last few decades but the federal government has yet to give it a try.

Six sigma is a systematic approach to improve the process. It starts by observation finding what it is that the system is trying to accomplish as well as how it is received by consumers. The consumers in this case would be the citizens. Then it assesses the objective alongside the consumers feedback in order to determine the quality. Putting this to use in government for example might allow us to tackle the problem of over regulation. This occurs when many different agencies are given jurisdiction over the same areas, items or events. Like toilet seats. Thanks to Senator Ted Cruz’s speaking out against the government’s violation of the 10th amendment we now know just how invasive Uncle Sam can be when it comes to our most private habits. When it comes to toilet seats at least three different agencies have authority to tell anyone who owns a building what constitutes proper facilities.

This over regulation mandates that the building owners must be in compliance with not just OSHA standards but be in accordance with the  Americans with disabilities act, the International association of plumbing and mechanical officials and the Mine Safety and Health administration for some reason just to name a few. Yet there’s another problem in complying with all of their standards, not only does this prove troublesome for some building owners but these regulations make the experience uncomfortable for many public restroom users. While it may not sound like a big deal the thought of paying several different agencies millions of dollars a year to inspect and enforce these regulations only to wind up with something that you are discouraged from using gets many people a little triggered.

If that doesn’t make for a convincing argument there’s also the matter of school lunches where the FDA and the USDA fight over defining what constitutes a vegetable. Meanwhile most school lunch programs are contracted out to private companies and then a change takes place that costs the company, it winds up costing the taxpayers instead.

Embracing lean six sigma would help us understand what it is that people want and give us the most cost effective way to give it to them. Seeing how feedback lies at the core of the concept it can only grow to strengthen our democracy.


Why Career Development And Training Is Imperative In Your Organization

Posted on

Employees are the backbone of every organization, and it is therefore in every company’s interest to invest in the career development and training needs of their employees.  The development of employees is often used as a strategic tool towards the continued growth of an organization. When employees are developed, a company will realize higher productivity and high retention.

The key to successful employee development is aligning the employees’ career goals with those of the organization so that it’s a ‘win-win’ situation.

Why Career Development & Training Is Necessary

There are several reasons why organizations must take part in their employees’ career development and training, and they include social and demographic trends. As times change so do trends the industry. These changes have forced organizations to ensure that their employees are equipped to carry out their functions in our changing world so as to ensure the organization stay relevant and competitive.

The other reason companies implement career development and training in the workplace is when they realize that there are limited opportunities for advancement of their employees. It is easier and in many cases cheaper to train existing employees than it is to bring in new ones and induct them into the organization’s culture.  A high employee turnover destabilizes the company ultimately affecting the bottom line.

How To Successfully Implement Career Development & Training

The first step in implement a career development and training strategy for your employees involves communicating with them so as to identify what their individual career aspirations are. You also need to reintroduce them to the organization’s goals so that they can see how their individual career goals align with that of the organization and how they can develop their career given the various platforms available in the organization.

You’ll also need to analyse the needs of the organization against the skill set of your employees. By doing this, you identify any gaps and the best way to fill them. Will you outsource some of the work? Can you train your current employees so that they handle new or multiple tasks to meet organizational objectives? What specialized training is needed? Once you figure out the answers to these questions, you can move on to the next step.

The next step involves creating a training plan and budget. The training plan and budget are based on both the constraints and needs of the organization. Ideally, you should use the departmental objectives and goals to develop your employees. This is because employees need to be equipped to combat the challenges that come with the organizational goals.

Sigma Strategic Business Consult Ltd

Career development and training of employees is imperative in every organization. You need a trusted and qualified firm to help you make this possible and Sigma Strategic Business Consultant Ltd is your best option. SigmaStrat, a wholly Ghanaian owned multinational company which serves clients internationally through its offices in Ghana and Kenya and with strategic partnerships in Europe, Asia and America, is accredited by the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), Montreal, Canada. Sigma Strategic Business Consult Ltd is recognized by the World Bank and the Government of Ghana and has won international awards including Training Service Provider of the Year in 2014 and Business Strategy Firm of the Year in 2013 by a UK based business publication, at the M&A Awards. When you choose SigmaStrat you choose our international reputation for being THE team Development and Performance Improvement People. With over a hundred years combined experience in business growth, we will give you the best career development and training solutions in the market.

SigmaStrat is your solution to guaranteed success.


Put your money where your mouth is

Posted on Updated on

If you walked into a banking hall or mobile telecom service center today you would find exciting posters and purported valuable doohickeys which seek to depict excellence as their schtick. It’s not uncommon to find many businesses gussied up for the stage while they struggle behind the scenes to make a headway. I wrote about People, Technology and Processes in my previous article. This is my little attempt to waft the aroma of business excellence. I’d like to zoom in on processes today. You manage your suppliers, revenue, cash flows, inventory, distribution and personnel. Why would you not manage the processes that make sure all these things work together effectively? My compatriot Steve Ball puts it this way that Business Process Mapping is a satellite navigation system for your business. “Without it you probably will reach your destination,” he says. “But the journey will take you longer, you’ll find out there are a lot of dead ends out there, you will feel lost sometimes or worst of all (for the men) we might have to stop and ask someone for directions.” I am E Kweku Haizel. I bet you would rather go dear hunting looking at your target through the crosshairs of a Kalashnikov. Get in touch and let’s work this out together. At SigmaStrat we will be able to walk you and your organization through a CI journey that would propel you and your organization higher. http://www.sigmastrat.com

Stop throwing money at business problems

Posted on Updated on

Business leaders place resources into operations and do expect optimal returns. Many times, CEOs and managers resort to throwing money at problems in a bid to obtain the required results. Sometimes, the idea that money answers all organizational problems is “seductive.” But the seduction is about as real as the beautiful/handsome person across the room winking at us, only to discover it was a stray eyelash causing the winking. I’ll tell you what is NOT a secret and not intended to be foisted on your good selves as anything ‘ex cathedra’. It is that to adequately rake in returns you would need to improve your People, optimize the use of Technology, and streamline your Processes. At SigmaStrat we will be able to walk you and your organization through a CI journey that would propel you and your organization higher. http://www.sigmastrat.com


Posted on

Customer service is the practice of providing customers with a positive and helpful experience, like a brand, it’s what the customer perceives and remembers of the product they used or the service they received.

So voice of a customer is crucial, it’s the driving factor of any organization to deliver quality products/services, conformance to customer’s needs, and developed products/services demanded in the market.

The “voice of the customer” is a process used to capture the requirements/feedback from the customer (internal or external) to provide the customers with the best in class service/product quality. This process is all about being proactive and constantly innovative to capture the changing requirements of the customers with time.

In customer service provision, the voice of the customer represents the aspects which the customers expect or demand from a product and how this can be translated to more specific relevant aspects of the process, this helps firms prioritize goals consistent to the specific customer requirements.

The customer either internal or external, is always the most important focal point for a Lean Six Sigma project.

Lean Six Sigma’s main goal is organizational survival and/or growth through superior and improving customer satisfaction.

Lean incorporates customers in the supply chain and allows them to pull the product through the supply chain which increases process speed whilst Six Sigma focuses on the customer as a source to define what aspects of a certain process are critical to quality.

The Lean speed and Six Sigma quality are brought together in Lean Six Sigma to be able to fulfill the delivery and process control requirements according to the Voice of the Customer.

Many companies tend to focus much on their revenues and forget to manage the expenses. Many realize the need for being lean just because of the realization of emerging competition and technology capability from rivals or other countries who can produce the same quality product at an extremely lower rate by being more efficient and managing their expenses better.

Most people would agree that customers are the most important part of a business – no customers, no business. In order to be successful, a business must know who its customers are and what the expectations of those customers are for the product or service the business sells. In Six Sigma, that process is known as identifying the voice of the customer (VOC). The key to having success in that process is gathering customer data and converting it into measurable critical-to-satisfaction elements.

 Tony Watima – SigmaStrat

Making Products Customers Love

Posted on

Creating products that have long lasting impressions on your customers takes more than effort to put smart products on the market- a market already inundated with competing and compelling products. So, what do you need to do differently to create stellar products or services that will create meaning for us?


Process cleansing

Designing products and services that seek to solve a problem, change systems and behavior, improve or provide value addition rests squarely on the processes you depend on to deliver such results you intended, not accidentally offered.

 Your business and service processes are what inform the kind or nature of your product and service offering. Any system that that suffers from irregular assessment, servicing and improvement produces an expected outcome, not unplanned.  

 An infected meal causes upset in your stomach; which leads to ill health and an eventual poor outlook in your health. Until your gastronomic system is treated, we rarely shall have a healthy YOU. Using this analogy you can imagine how much horror your product and serving offerings are causing your customers.

 The take home message here is that be mindful of your process delivery.

Optimum corporate productivity and performance improvement finds energy in highly effective and efficient corporate processes. If your processes are weak, less robust and efficient your products and service delivery suffers.


When the flag is red

Your performance results are lousy when the bottom-line status quarter on quarter is weak against planned target. Which means we are not buying from you, or telling friends and family about you. You lose money, and market share. The red flags are then raised! ‘We need to re-strategize’ says your leadership. Ironically, the red flag record is not the first of its kind in the company history, even for the year. It is symptomatic of your corporate delivery.

When the red flag is shown by the corporate referee (your leadership), it is about time to reconsider and question the processes you are using to deliver results; no matter how abysmal.

 Let’s show value

Your failure to recognize and deliver value to a customer can increase your journey from Johannesburg into Harare-that is if you think you know the route so well! Don’t kid yourself. You only kid yourself when you underestimate the journey (process), aware of the borders of change and where to take sensible detours. You cannot accept to be a nomadic traveler, when other travelers show more than enough from their stories. Stories of value, change, long lasting meaning that is shaping people’s live and thinking. Be a smart traveler. Be a process-driven ambassador offering superior value and products to your customers. We are going to teach you more at the CPI2014 event in Accra and Nairobi. Join us.

By Benjamin Yaw Manu

Photo credit: istockphotos


Team Management & Leadership

Posted on Updated on

Hello “interested business developer” welcome to this week’s post. Last week it was all about getting to know WHAT business development is and also knowing WHO orchestrates business development – the business developer. This week we continue on our interesting quest of  HOW a business developer brings about sustainable business development.                                                                                       Team Development Right

Team Leadership and Management

A good business developer strives to achieve sustainable business development by motivating and developing his or her team to continuously improve their performance. Business developer’s are well vested with insights into the roles and responsibilities of being a supervisor, understands and practices effective leadership and uses techniques that will get the best out of every team member.

As a business developer you will not always be a member or in charge of a team that is understanding and easy to work with. There might be cases where a team member or a number of team members will step on the toes of others or feel misunderstood by other members and engage in actions that might hamper the success of the team. It is at this point in time that the BUSINESS DEVELOPER exhibits good management approach to take care of difficult people and difficult situation.

Time management is key to the development of an organization. Good business developers are equipped with the necessary skills to plan and deliver efficient business solutions with the conscious effort on delivering just in time. Business developer also knows how to avoid activities that steal precious time from the organization.

In the later section of last week’s post, feedback was mentioned as an important tool for the business developer to use in interacting with his or her team. This week I will like to reiterate the importance of feedback to the business developer and the organization. Feedback helps the business developer to understand his or her team, the challenges they are facing and the way the problem is evolving. Feedback is to facilitate better communication, organization, planning and control of the team’s activities. As important as feedback is to the business developer, he or she has to pay detail attention to the events happening around so as to evaluate feedback properly.

What more does a business developer do to achieve sustainable business development? Stay tuned to our next blog post for more tricks and tips. Please don’t forget to leave your comments on this post, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.


What is Sustainable Business Development

Posted on

Most business owners are looking for new ways to get their products out into the market and known by consumers. They are also looking for ways of making sure they continue to stay in business by adapting to the fast changing business environment. The question they find themselves asking time and time again is HOW to do this. In the weeks ahead the discussion will be centered around Sustainable Business Development and answering the important question of HOW to develop a business in a sustainable manner. Today’s post will start off by looking at what business development is and as always the rest of the goodies regarding sustainable business development will be unraveled.  

Business development is a term which takes its roots from the world of business and commerce. It generally comprises tasks and processes that are designed to develop and bring about sustainable growth in a business. In today’s dynamic and vibrant business environment, the fusion of information technology with traditional business practices, advance marketing techniques, detailed accounting of activities, ground breaking sales and customer relations development all form part of business development. We have made an attempt to give meaning to WHAT business development is, but the question of WHO brings about business development needs to be addressed.  

Through the use of analytical thinking and problem solving the business developer is tasked to find potential growth opportunities and implement best strategies and practices that will help an organization take maximum advantage of its opportunities. In the implementation of task and processes that will bring about potential growth opportunities, it is key for the business developer to pay close attention to feedback from the organizations working units such as production, marking, sales, and operations. Oops that tip wasn’t supposed to come out until later. But I guess now we know feedback is key in bring about sustainable business development. What more does a business developer do to achieve sustainable business development? Stay tuned to our next blog post for more tricks and tips. To learn more about what has been discussed in this blog post, visit us at www.sigmastrat.com .

Cheers Mate. 

Continuous Improvement Blogs Ghana

Posted on Updated on


If you are into Process/Performance Improvement, then join us on linkedin ‘Continuous Process Improvement Africa’ . This is a group for you.

You can also post blogs here or reply to posts.
A continuous improvement process (CIP or CI) is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.

This is what a friend of mine said:

CPI = Continuous Process Improvement, which begins with Continuous Personal Improvement Continuous Personal Improvement is the process of sanctification.

Sigma = standard deviation = missing the mark = sin. The closer we can get to the designer’s intent, the more consistently we can deliver the “ideal” to those around us. Missing the mark may not mean falling outside of the specification limits, but always has a cost to society.

Spec limits = the law. Think 10 Commandments. Thou shalt not…. doesn’t tell us what we should be doing — only what we shouldn’t. Focus on the law begs us to challenge every little activity as acceptable or not acceptable (“don’t commit adultery” is the law, but does that mean I can still flirt? Can I read baudy magazines?). Focus on the law will always lead our eyes away from the true goal, and will always have a cost to society. But, focusing on the ideal state — on the designer’s intent or the “middle” of the spec will always drive down variation, because our focus is continuous improvement rather than “good enough”.

Come onboards lets discuss CI/CPI/CIP in relation to Africa

Performance Improvement in Ghana

Posted on Updated on

Sigma Strategic Business Consult Limited (Sigmastrat) is a business strategy, performance Improvement and  project management consulting firm that serves as a key advisor to leading companies in Ghana and the West African sub-region. We provide our clients with unique insight to drive critical decision making and solve their most pressing problems. Sigmastrat also provides LEAN Kaizen and Six Sigma solutions. We are dedicated to helping companies and organizations improve their performance and achieve sustained profitable growth.
Sigmastrat has a widely spread footprint with a mobile, highly experienced team of technical specialists and performance improvement experts with impressive track records and over 100 years combined experience in various fields of business growth.
Apart from Corporate level strategy, Sigmastrat offers bespoke Management training services, both online and class rooms based, and have tailored on-site sessions to meet specific corporate needs.
Every year, the majority of our business comes from clients with whom we worked in the previous year, an indicator of our ability to achieve lasting results for our clients. Our client relationships are enduring, as many clients have remained partners for years. We are dedicated to helping clients achieve meaningful and measurable results in areas critical to their success. We measure our success by the results our clients achieve and by the depth and extent of our relationship with them.
Sigmastrat is registered in Ghana as Sigma Strategic Business Consult Limited. Registration Number CA 89379