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SIX SIGMA BUSINESS SCORECARD DEVELOPMENT
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nderstanding profitability is key to understanding how the Six Sigma Business Scorecard works. Measurements for profitability have existed in businesses from the start, from bartering or trading to mass production. The basic building block of business is shown in Figure 6-1. When a visionary person starts a new business, that business offers a product or service that is bought or produced and sold, packaged, and delivered for a price. The product or service may then be sold again. As the spiral of selling and getting paid continues, the business leader envisions producing and delivering more and more. If, with luck and diligent effort, the business model works, the business succeeds and begins to grow. The simple measurements in this model include the cost to buy or build, the cost of selling and delivery, and the revenues earned. Profitability is a by-product of these measurements. Remember, profitability is a function of revenue and cost: Profitability f(cost, revenue)
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where cost and revenues are independent measurements for a business, and profitability is a dependent measurement. In other words, to maximize profitability, a business must maximize the difference between the revenue and cost by focusing
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CHAPTER SIX
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Cost
Cost Profit = Revenue Total Cost
FIGURE 6-1.
Basic business building block.
on both cost and revenue at the same time not on just one or the other. What a breakthrough! This function is a building block of business management, and business owners must keep it in their subconscious all the time. As a new business survives or succeeds, it starts growing because of increased demand or the founder s ability to offer additional products or services. The founder can no longer run the business alone and hires the first employee. He or she probably rents some space and buys some tools of the trade. The control of the business now rests in the hands of the employee and the founder or the leader. Although the performance of each person is still clearly visible, the complexity of the business is increasing. The new costs that come with growth are added to the existing costs of the business. These additional costs may be ignored as the focus on the basic equation of profitability continues. However, the basic cost model, and its relationship with profitability, has changed as follows: Profitability f[cost(build/buy, building, tools, employee), revenue]
The profitability is still the difference between the cost and revenue; however, the cost part of the equation has become a little more complicated. As long as the business founder is making money and living comfortably, costs may be assumed to be under control and thus taken for granted. If the business loses customers or demand subsides, business management will then become an issue. On the other hand, if a business is successful, other people try to copy it and create competition.
SIX SIGMA BUSINESS SCORECARD DEVELOPMENT
PROFITABILITY VISIBILITY
When the factor of competition is added, one or more of several things might happen: The market will expand, the price will increase, or profitability will be sacrificed, or the business must be shared by more players. Creative selling strategies, such as financing the sale, marketing, or offering discounts, add even greater complexity to the business model. It suddenly becomes a very complex model of cost and revenue, with many factors that can reduce profitability. The clear mental picture of profitability becomes lost, and the risk of not being profitable increases. The partial profitability equation may look as follows: Profitability f[cost (material, suppliers relationship management, tools, employees performance, waste, buildings, interest on loans, tools, development, innovation, legal, accounting, equipment, overheads, utilities, . . .), revenue (inside sales, direct sales, distribution, relationship management, marketing, advertising, discounts, . . .)] Even in this equation that simplifies the factors, unless cost and revenue are highlighted, it is difficult to separate cost from revenue variables. In a real business, small or large, most of these variables occur. Complexity increases even more if a business has multiple locations, multiple leaders, multiple minds (and egos) on the management team, and multiple countries of business. To stay profitable and maximize profitability, a business needs a hierarchical measurement system that highlights the simple relation between profitability, cost, and revenue and makes the components of cost and revenue visible at the point of operation. In other words, there must be an integrated measurement system for various complexity factors contributing to cost and revenue. The cost, revenue, and profitability of the business can then be optimized. To monitor many of the variables contributing to cost and revenue, businesses establish measurements. As a business
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