Summary of Six Sigma for Financial Services

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Qualities

  • Concrete Examples

Recommendation

The title of this book is misleading. In fact, its subtitle is more relevant. It does not focus on Six Sigma only, but rather on a variety of tools that companies offering financial services are – or should be – using to achieve what Rowland Hayler and Michael D. Nichols call "business process excellence": creating the greatest possible value for customers. The book is based on a study (described in the index) of 11 leading financial-services companies, some international and some local. The authors frequently cite useful examples from their respondents to anchor some of their theories in real life. Unfortunately, managers who are eager to benefit from this important information may find the authors' prose opaque and abstract. The charts and chapter summaries are helpful, but some readers may need perseverance to learn from this book. Nevertheless, getAbstract finds the authors' goal laudable: to show how financial-services companies can improve their often-abysmal customer service standards, and thus increase their profits and competitiveness.

About the Authors

Rowland Hayler is the vice president of international operations for an international consulting firm and has worked with many leading financial institutions. Michael D. Nichols is a principal consultant and senior master black belt for a consortium of Lean Six Sigma professionals. He co-developed a major corporation's Six Sigma process management programs and is president of the American Society for Quality.

 

Summary

Change and Complexity

The financial-services business today is complex and in constant flux. Some people believe that companies offering financial services can break through the competitive clutter either by introducing exceptional new products or by making tremendous advances in customer service. In fact, both changes would help them succeed. Companies must consistently deliver innovative products and good service – something the industry currently fails to do. Financial-services companies can achieve the quality and reliability they need to succeed by using techniques, such as Six Sigma, Lean and Business Process Management, which were originally developed in other industries.

Six Sigma

Motorola originally developed the Six Sigma process in the late 1980s to improve manufacturing. Later, the company realized it also could apply Six Sigma to customer service. Statisticians use the Greek letter "sigma" as a symbol for "standard deviation," a measurement of the average distance of a value from the mean. In Six Sigma, your goal is to deviate from the mean – your customers' manufacturing or quality specifications – by no more than six sigmas, a rate...


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