4 | Info Mgmt
Section 4.2 of the Baldrige criteria ask applicants how their organization manages and grows its knowledge assets and learns. The processes behind the assurance of quality and availability of data, information, software, and hardware needed by the workforce, suppliers, partners, collaborators, and, of course, customers, are outlined. Applicants are expected to describe how they acquire their data, how they know it’s good data, and how they use it. In Dr. Joseph M. Juran’s 2004 book, Architect of Quality, he describes the birth of Statistical Quality Control at AT&T’s Hawthorne plant and puts a new perspective on the ripple effect that innovative thinking can have.
In late 1925, AT&T’s Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs) set in motion an initiative that would change inspection practices profoundly, first in Hawthorne and later in industry generally. The end result came to be known as Statistical Quality Control (SQC).
AT&T and Use of Probability Theory
The roots of Bell Labs’ initiative go back to AT&T’s use of probability theory, starting early in the twentieth century. A seminal event was M. C. Rorty’s memorandum, “Application of the Theory of Probability to Traffic Problems,” dated October 22, 1903.
When any subscriber took the telephone receiver off its hook, he or she needed to be connected to an idle trunk line and given a signal (dial tone) to go ahead and dial. The question then …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
Most hospitals face similar challenges as they upgrade their paper-based record systems to electronic medical records (EMRs), and those challenges tend to center around managing change within the organization as the ways and means that information is recorded evolves. Hospitals move very fast, and those that get used to the hectic pace of things aren’t very fond of change as it has the potential to initially create chaos, even if there is a promise of increased simplicity, usability, and accuracy.
Within the Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management section of the Baldrige criteria, applicants are asked how they make needed data and information available to the workforce, suppliers, partners, collaborators, and customers, as appropriate. To address the reluctance that many healthcare organizations have over switching to an electronic system, some EMR vendors have resorted to very interesting tactics in order to woo these potential customers.
Athenahealth is a very popular EMR and data management platform used by hospitals, which has recently made the news for the purchase of Epocrates, a startup whose mobile application provides drug reference advice to healthcare providers. Epocrates pioneered the development of what has been widely recognized as the most popular point-of-care medical application among U.S. physicians, providing vast swaths of data regarding pharmaceutical usage and interaction at the touch of a finger. Together, these two giants will manage data and information for hospitals and healthcare …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
One of the strengths of Baldrige Award winners is alignment. Strategies and goals are aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. Action plans are aligned with strategies and goals. The performance measurement and performance management systems are aligned with strategies, goals, and action plans. As a result, everyone in the organization is contributing to achieving the organization’s mission and vision. On every project. Every day.
The power of alignment can be seen in the results Baldrige Award winners deliver, a sampling of which you can review here. These organizations prove that alignment is critical to performance excellence.
A recent study by IndustryWeek and MESA International showed the frequent disconnect between objectives and metrics throughout manufacturing companies. The chart shows that only about a third of respondents believe their objectives and metrics are well or very well aligned across their companies. In which category would your organization fall?
One of the interesting results of the survey was the discrepancy among positions of those who “always” leverage metrics to improve performance: 28% of senior leaders said they did, 35% of department heads, and 50% of team leaders or supervisors. At the “staff” level, 40% claimed they always leveraged metrics. IndustryWeek tried to explain the low figure for senior leaders as agreement with W. Edwards Deming’s caution against running a company on visible figures alone, but the survey doesn’t say anything about …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
As the Baldrige program works on its own balanced scorecard (more here), Mark Graham Brown, a Baldrige expert who also happens to be a measurement expert, recently wrote about how leaders are populating their scorecards with more indices to provide more meaningful measurement. The indices consist of three to five submeasures. In his article in BusinessFinance, available here, he lists “the nine most useful and creative performance measures I have seen in government and business organizations over the last few years”:
- Communication Effectiveness Index. The frequency and media used to communicate important messages is worth 30-40% and the effectiveness of the communication is worth 60-70% of the index.
- Customer Relationships Index. The index includes two major components: customer attractiveness (based on such factors as profit margin, volume of business, timely payment, ease to work with, and history/partnering with suppliers) and customer relationship (i.e., number of years working together, products purchased, knowledge of customer’s business and needs, etc.).
- Employee Satisfaction Index. This index may include casual absenteeism, complaints/grievances, voluntary turnover, employee focus groups, overtime, and employee survey data.
- Distraction Index. Employees record hours worked each week, sorted into three categories: (a) job – tasks that are directly part of doing your job; (b) administration – activities you need to do, such as preparing budgets, attending meetings, learning about new programs, etc.; and, (c) programs – management programs such
Item 7.1 in the Baldrige Criteria asks for your key product, healthcare, or student performance results and your process effectiveness results. The following examples from Baldrige Award-winning applications show strong current levels, positive trends, and positive comparisons to key benchmarks. To read the descriptions of these measures and to see a broader range of Item 7.1 measures, go to the Results category responses of Baldrige Award-winner applications here. Chart numbers may not correspond to the Item number because of changes to the Criteria.Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
For the first twenty years of the Baldrige Award, the weakest category in terms of scoring was measurement and analysis. While the balanced scorecard movement has helped close the measurement gap, reliable and actionable analysis of data is still a struggle for many organizations.
Minitab, an industry leader in statistical and process improvement, addresses that gap. Virtually every major Six Sigma initiative worldwide uses Minitab software, which is also used to teach statistics in more than 4,000 colleges and universities.
The great thing about Minitab software is that it turns anyone into a statistician. The latest version of its software, Minitab 16, uses an interactive decision tree to help users choose the right analytical tool and walks them through their analysis step-by-step. It can then assist with interpreting the results and producing reports.
You can see how it works by clicking on the green box on the right. A short video introduces you to the features and benefits of Minitab 16, including the ability to use the software in seven languages.
If you want to learn more, click on the “Webinars” link at the top of the Minitab 16 web page for a list of free webinars about the product, or click on “Tour” for a list of videos about the software.
If you want to take it for a spin, click on “Free Trial” and sign up for …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
(This excerpt is from The Baldrige Edge, an e-Guide from Baldrige.com. You can learn more about the guide by clicking on the black-and-red box on the right.)
Next to blaming people for process problems, making assumptions is a surefire way to miss the right solution. Which of these scenarios is more common in your organization?
(a) Options are debated based on what people think about a problem or issue and how they think it should be handled; or,
(b) Options are debated based on reliable data and information that illuminate the nature and causes of the problem or issue and point to possible solutions.
Most people act as if “a” is really “b”: My assumptions are based on experience and they’re as good as facts. They’re wrong. Guessing that you know what’s going on is not the same as actually knowing what’s going on, and the only way to know what’s going on is to collect and analyze relevant data and information. That’s where the second smart question comes in: How do we know that?
You have to be careful how you ask this question. If your boss says, “We’re getting customer complaints about how long they have to wait for service so we need to put more people on the phone lines,” you can’t just blurt out: “How do we know that?” It’s absolutely the right question to ask. …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued