Six Sigma analysis of a contracting process

ACC Docket, Vol. 25, Sept. 2007 at 42, describes a Six Sigma project conducted by the Law Group at Becton Dickinson (BD). A team tackled the information-technology contracts process. During the define phase, the team “drew a process map reflecting each step in a typical contract negotiation.”

One lesson from that map was that a fair amount of communication between the employees of (BD) and the buyers was going on without everyone on the selling team knowing (See my post of Nov. 22, 2008: control of communication during an RFP process.). In a good process, there are few places where everything can stop, yet these “one-off” conversations caused such delays and there were many of them.

Another lesson from the project was that number of negotiation hours for a contract were less insightful than contract negotiation days. I have knocked process mapping (See my post of Aug. 28, 2005 with some criticisms; Jan. 10, 2008 #3: a fan of mapping; and Feb. 16, 2008: flow charts compared to process maps.), but if preparing one discloses opportunities to improve, go for it!

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