From the Eye of the Storm

Mediating Decisions, Facilitating Solutions, Sustaining Prosperity

Case Study – Delivery Quality and Cost Initiative


  • To achieve a Reliability and Quality Measurement Systems (RQMS) target of 99.0% Delivery Application Success Rate
  • To maintain or reduce associated operational costs


The vendor was charged with providing upgrades to network systems for customers located in the United States and Canada. Many significant improvements had been implemented during the previous two years, resulting in a 94.0% Application Success Rate, up from 70.0%. The challenge now, was to obtain the additional five percentage points (5%) required to meet the RQMS target, thereby positioning the vendor to capitalize on additional revenue opportunities.

Project Description

Obtaining 99.0% from 94.0% proved to be as challenging as reaching 94.0% from 70.0%. All obvious operating deficiencies had been resolved. In addition, spending constraints made investments in new technologies infeasible. The responsible organization was also challenged with increased delivery volume, approximately 1000 deliveries/year over a two-year span (33% workload increase). The organization consisted of approximately 70 employees, 5 Managers and 5 departments based in the US and Canada. The operating budget was $8M US.


By capitalizing on a problem report system, detailed Root Cause Analysis (RCA) was implemented as part of ongoing operating procedures. Clear problem tracking eliminated emotional reactions to delivery issues. Management was able to pinpoint where problems had been introduced into the operations instead of just resolving them at the point of appearance.

An objective alignment process was implemented across multiple organizations and business units.

A costly and obsolete process was eliminated, saving $1.2M annually.

Obsolete functions were reduced by 10% via attrition. Replacement positions were scrutinized and a ‘New Hire’ process was introduced.

A communication process was formally introduced. Employee ownership was obtained by consistently ‘refocusing’ on the goals.  Results, traditionally reserved for management were shared.

A leadership feedback process was introduced, improving the quality of leadership, measured by organizational performance results.

A pay for performance initiative was introduced, improving the performance and accountability of all employees.

Quality of Life improved, measured by employee attrition rate and employee satisfaction survey.

33% more capacity was added to delivery schedule.

The 99.0% success rate was achieved in 18 months.

Key Learning

Although the organization had undergone tremendous change to reach the 94.0% success rate, a new approach was required to assist the organization reach its goal. Doing more of the same thing simply would not obtain the desired results.

Standards have the desired effect only when the space in the environment is opened and operational innovation is allowed to occur.  Results are not sustainable without addressing the organizational structure, leadership and the culture.


  • Recognizing when assistance from outside the organization was required.
  • Executing in a resistant environment created by fear of the unknown.
  • Repositioning resources (including managers) to better utilize their strengths.

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