The balanced scorecard was developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton and serves as a useful tool for designing strategies along different types of important objectives in any organization. Other business models were deemed too narrow and they wanted something more comprehensive to translate vision and strategy into objectives and measures across four balanced perspectives: the financial perspective, customer perspective, internal process perspective, and the learning and growth perspective. Each perspective is important to look at individually, however when the four approaches are “balanced” then the organization is in the best position to create value for all stakeholders.
According to its founders, Robert Kaplan and David Norton, it consists of four major performance measures- Financial, Customer, Internal Business Processes, Learning and Growth (Kaplan & Norton, 2007). The financial measure gives an idea of the past performance of a company, whereas measures like customer satisfaction and learning and growth give a fair idea of what the performance will be like in future periods. The internal business perspective is important to an organization because this represents the firm’s true resources and measures of human resources capabilities that can create value. The learning and growth perspective considers how the organization will be positioned to continue developing into the future. When the four perspectives are considered in unison then a comprehensive organizational evaluation emerges in which the leadership can base an organizational strategy.
The principle factors that determine the organization’s competitive success are provided in the case and include accessibility, flexibility in scheduling, affordability, ability to offer high value at a low cost, the effectiveness of the curriculum, the time to complete programs, and the range of programs offered. In order to become more competitive the organization is implementing technology in three ways to increase its competitive advantage. First it is implementing more technology in the actual classroom that will likely better prepare students to the types of technology that they will undoubtedly encounter in the real world. This will improve the quality of education and better prepare students for their professions.
The second two ways that technology is being used to create a competitive advantage is that it is making the instruction more flexible and cost effective by creating digital platforms in which students can work at their own pace and take classes from virtually anywhere. This technological advancement will support all of the organizations primary objectives in regard to competitiveness and represent a critical success factor for the future growth of the school. The distance education model represents a rapidly growing segment in educational environments and both students and teachers have found this model to have many advantages that enable them to further their educational goals.
The leadership has already developed a customized set of categories to base their balanced scorecard on including:
1. Funder/Financial Perspective
2. Student/Participant Perspective
3. Internal Process Perspective
4. Innovation and Resource Perspective
The implementation of the technological solution should positively influence all four categories of stakeholders. The financial perspective will need to be evaluated in monetary figures and will represent the total amount spent of building the technological infrastructure relative to the amount of time it takes to return that investment. The student perspective can be measured in the amount of new students that become enrolled and use the more accessible distance learning modules.
From an internal process perspective the implementation of a technology solution should improve efficiency as well. For example, one teacher should be able to increase their student ratio because some of their lectures will be recorded and can be played back at any time. Therefore, this should also impact the resource perspective as well because the human resource team will be able to operate with a greater efficiency and have more technological tools and automation of certain teaching functions at their disposal.
3 pages-Real World Assignment 4
Three popular Web sites for Six Sigma are http://www.ge.com/sixsigma, http://www.sixsigma.com, and http:www.sixsigmaformum.com.; Explore these sites and answer the following questions:
1. How does GE use Six Sigma to enhance customer perception of its products and services?
GE states that “Today’s competitive environment leaves no room for error. We must delight our customers and relentlessly look for new ways to exceed their expectations. This is why Six Sigma Quality has become a part of our culture (GE, N.d.).” Six Sigma basically means that there should be less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. This is an ambitious target and companies use this perspective to try to perfect their operations. The idea is basically to get as close to zero defects as possible and the definition of defect is defined from the customer’s perspective. Thus if GE fails to deliver what the company really wants then this is considered a defect that should be improved.
2. What is the apparent purpose of the isixsigma Web site?
The purpose of this website is to assist professionals or future professionals with the material that they will need to become Six Sigma certified or become certified at the next level. The company also offers a set of marketing tools that can help Six Sigma consultants to promote their businesses and the Six Sigma approach to quality management in general. These is also a knowledge base and different tools that professionals have provided as well as a forum where members can ask questions of other members.
3. Who are the customers of the sixsigmaforum Web site?
The Six Sigma Forum appears to be dedicated to members that are already working with Six Sigma; although roughly half the membership is comprised of “beginners.” The site offers original content and gives members the opportunity to publish and even provides editorial services. There are networking opportunities both in face-to-face and digital formats that are available as well as a monthly publication to keep members abreast of news.
4. Is there a basic agreement about what the Six Sigma concept includes based on what the three Web sites present? Why or why not?
In one sense there does seem to be agreement on the overall concept of Six Sigma. For example, the 3.4 defects per million opportunities is a central theme. However, the ways to reach this target vary significantly and can include many different strategies.
5. How do these Web sites differ in their concept of what Six Sigma includes?
There are many different variations of Six Sigma. A newer version of this style of quality improvement has been called Lean Six Sigma.
“From a fifty thousand foot level, Lean Six Sigma is a customer focused change strategy. It’s a business strategy that helps improve business performance. Inside of Lean Six Sigma is a systematic approach to improving the way people do process improvement. (Six Sigma Quality, N.d.)”
The lean version of Six Sigma seems to focus on the customer’s perspective and tries to meet their requirements with as few resources as possible through operational efficiencies. The emphasis is cutting out any unwanted features or wasteful steps in the operational process.
Essentially, Six Sigma and Lean systems have the same goal; they both seek to eliminate waste and create the most efficient system possible, but they take different approaches toward how achieving this goal. In simplest terms, the main difference between Lean and Six Sigma is that they identify the root cause of waste differently (University Alliance, N.d.).
Waste from a lean perspective is defined as anything that does not add value to the end users of the product or service whereas in the traditional model is more focused on the variations in production and being able to produce a product and service efficiently.
1-page-Module Four Discussion
Talk to individuals that you know from some local organizations (companies, schools, government agencies) about the organization’s commitment to quality principles. In your post, discuss the factors they believe attribute to either the success or failure of their organization’s approaches.
I talked to an individual that works at a small locally owned appliance center. The company has a strong dedication to quality and customer service that they state cannot be duplicated by the big box stores. For example, when a customer buys an appliance from their business they talk to the same employees throughout the installation, service, and even the disposal of the appliance. The primary focus of the business is quality rather than marketing or trying to hit various price points in the market.
The individual stated that companies like Home Depot or Lowes will sacrifice quality at the expense of marketing or different pricing strategies. For example, many of the brand names that are sold at these stores will offer different goods to either local businesses or the big box operations. The big box products often cut corners or reduce features to bring down the prices. The different product lines will contain different internal components and will be much different on the inside even though they might look the same on the outside.
The local business charges more money for products that look nearly identical. However there focus on quality, local service, and dependability makes it possible for them to compete with larger operations. The local business often receives a great deal of its business from word of mouth endorsements that attest to their products quality. In today’s market many consumers are price conscious, however there are many more that focus on quality as well as the quality of service and place a premium on these considerations.
GE. (N.d.). What is Six Sigma? Retrieved from GE: http://www.ge.com/en/company/companyinfo/quality/whatis.htm
Kaplan, R., & Norton, D. (2007, June). Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: http://hbr.org/2007/07/using-the-balanced-scorecard-as-a-strategic-management-system/ar/1
Six Sigma Quality. (N.d.). What is Lean Six Sigma? Retrieved from Six Sigma Quality: http://www.sixsigma.com/what-is-lean-six-sigma/
University Alliance. (N.d.). Six Sigma vs. Lean Six Sigma. Retrieved from Villanova University: http://www.villanovau.com/resources/six-sigma/six-sigma-vs.-lean-six-sigma/
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