In 2001, ServiceMaster committed to bringing its quality and customer service to a higher level using Six Sigma techniques. “We were service leaders and wanted to continue to lead in our chosen markets,” said John Biedry, senior vice president of Continuous Improvement and Six Sigma. “We saw the opportunity to differentiate our services by improving the processes that touch our customers every day.”
ServiceMaster’s Six Sigma program is driven by more than 40 Black Belts, 10 Master Black Belts and six Deployment Champions. Their job is to drive each Six Sigma solution across hundreds of locations. Multiple solutions add up to thousands of replications in ServiceMaster and make for a formidable communications challenge.
ServiceMaster was having difficulty actually implementing recommended process changes because documentation regarding new processes was hard to understand and difficult to use. Workers were frustrated, and it was taking too long to realize the expected benefits from process improvement.
With CEO support and commitment for the entire effort, ServiceMaster recognized that effective communication was essential for true success. Looking for a solution, ServiceMaster discovered a research-based methodology called “Information Mapping” that helped authors to analyze, organize and present information so that it was easier to understand and use. ServiceMaster adopted Information Mapping’s methodology as a standard in order to:
- Increase the speed of replication of process improvement.
- Enhance the sharing of information across departments and geographies.
- Improve the ability of the staff to quickly find information and adopt new processes.
- Improve the readability of important documents.
“The result has been quicker implementation and a better return on investment from our Six Sigma program and more than $50 million in benefits to date,” Biedry said. “Information Mapping is now a core element of the Black Belt training curriculum and has become the standard for all Six Sigma solutions that will be communicated to the field.”