Content By Akhilesh Gulati

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

Barry was excited about the journey he was to embark on. He had just contracted a professional organization in his industry that would help his company implement lean practices. These professionals understood Barry’s challenges: “Making it” isn’t easy in U.S. manufacturing, especially with increasing demand for lower prices, higher quality, and just-in-time delivery.

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

Starting from scratch, Gil had slowly built a small business and was running it quite successfully. He was a professional at heart: He gained the confidence of customers and prospects, met their expectations, negotiated better prices, and provided personalized service. Life was good. Things were settling in. And then the tide turned.

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

An optimist would say a glass is half-full, while a pessimist would say it’s half-empty. Someone with a mind for physics would say, “The volume of this cylinder is equally composed of a colorless, odorless liquid and a colorless, odorless gas. Thus, the cylinder is neither full nor empty.”

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

The IT department of a school district supported itself by providing application development, database maintenance, training, and other services to its internal clients, although no money exchanged hands. The school’s outreach unit, which provided training and education to local organizations, also maintained its own profit and loss statement but was having issues with invoicing. Somehow the invoiced amount always seemed to be different from the quoted amount, which meant manual corrections, delays in receivables, and most important, unhappy clients.

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

Given the current dynamic business environment, there is a tremendous need for operational agility and the ability to quickly respond to changing market forces. Time to value (TtV) is an important metric that can be used to manage such environmental conditions. It can drive the development of methods enabling the rapid realization of delivering business value as soon as possible.

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

You check into a high-end hotel for an exorbitant fee. You are tired, thirsty, and you want a drink of water. Either you find no water or the bottled water costs an additional $5.50. You see a coffee pot and complimentary coffee or tea, but you don’t want to drink something hot; you want water. Coffee is free; water is not. Reluctantly, you open the bottle of water and wonder why the hotel would nickel and dime a customer who’s paying hundreds to stay overnight. Hotels are in the hospitality industry, but they just don’t get it!

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

The city of Austin, Texas, wanted to be listed as one of the top five places to live in the United States. Explaining that vision to the various municipal departments wasn’t difficult. Managers set about benchmarking from previous years, looking at the numbers, and deciding where they should take the big steps to improve performance, such as with emergency-response time.

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

Lights, camera, action! Sound familiar? Given the continuous release of movies, we are all familiar with this phrase. But what does this have to do with the quality profession or strategy?

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

When you try to improve your athletic abilities (e.g., playing tennis, swimming), how do you go about it? There are quite a few options, including observing how those who are best-in-class perform. When we learn from others, we gain from their insights without having to endure the mistakes they may have gone through to reach their expertise. The same tactic works for teams trying to improve their collective skill sets. Why should businesses be any different?

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By: Akhilesh Gulati

In part one of this article, I described a rapid strategic planning session for fire-service response time, and included a comment from one of the planners that he’d like to “see a fire station on every corner.” This was a terrific starting point because of the visual it presented.