© 2021 – intoAction
Lean Six Sigma is of paramount importance at Signify (previously Philips Lighting). This tried and tested methodology forms the basis for their operational excellence. It was also the approach we took to examine ways of improving the publicising process around the introduction of new business-to-consumer products in various markets. How could we ensure that new products would always be introduced on time and in full? In other words, with all the necessary content.
We started with an intensive analysis to find out where optimisation was needed. Guided by an extensive questionnaire looking at people, process, information and technology, we interviewed dozens of people in the organisation, including Product Managers and Marketing and Communication Specialists.
We went on to map the dependencies of the various product content marketing deliverables for publicising a new product. This included content such as marketing texts, photography and other visual assets. What has to be finished first before the next can happen? Which activities can run in parallel? When does which deliverable need to be completed to enable all markets to publicise it on time? All this information gave us a basis for mapping all the deliverables needed for publicising a new product onto standard timelines with fixed deadlines. We also looked critically at embedding the process into the organisation: how can we ensure that the team continues to follow the new streamlined process once this project is finished?
Our analysis further revealed that we had to clarify the responsibilities for the various steps in the process and so we filled in the RACI.
We recorded who had to do which activity in the process (responsible), who had final responsibility (accountable), who could give advice (consulted) and who had to be informed when (informed). We embedded these agreements in the organisation during various online workshops with the most important stakeholders.
We made a number of improvements to the Product Information Management (PIM) system to support the streamlined process and the newly assigned responsibilities. For example, we added fields to identify the owner of a product. But we also introduced notifications so that colleagues from Product Management and MarCom know when they have to do particular tasks and are aware of approaching deadlines.
This project succeeded in optimising and streamlining the product introduction process. New products now appear on time, in full in the online product catalogues. We also made considerable improvements to data consistency in the PIM system. As a result, there is now a minimum set of technical and commercial product data available for similar products, which improves the customer experience. We used a deployment session to embed this project in the organisation. We reached explicit agreements with managers so that – now that this project is finished – they can continue to monitor developments closely and track this new process.