The company selected for the assessment is an Australian internet service provider or ISP called Internode. It is headquartered in Adelaide, Australia, and the key founder is Simon Hackett (Internode, 2021). The company was founded in 1991 in South Australia (Internode, 2021). The key business activities are centered around the provision of internet services, which are primarily comprised of Internode NBN Fibre Plans. The standard plans range from NBN12 to NBN100 depending on the speed of the internet as well as the package bonuses (Internode, 2021). In addition, the company can also provide ultrafast plans for customers who rely on high-speed internet connections. Other business activities include voice over IP, website hosting, and business broadband access provisions. Although the company can be considered as a separate brand and corporate entity, it is owned by iiNet, which purchased the company in 2011 (Internode, 2021). However, both organizations agreed to preserve unique brand identities and organizational cultures by operating separately.
Reasons for Continuous Improvement
The company was selected due to a single major reason, which is the acquisition of a competitive edge and advantage in a highly saturated market of Australian internet providers. It should be noted that there are a number of larger internet provider rivals in the country, such as Telstra and Belong, TPG Group, Optus, Vocus Group, and others. For instance, Telstra and Belong combined have a market share equivalent to 47%, which is nearly half of all Australian internet provider market share (Granwal, 2021). Therefore, the company with a small market share as Internode requires to utilize its internal and external resources to their maximum benefits in order to be able to grow in such a tightly saturated market. Therefore, the proposal is made to ensure that Internode is able to increase its current market share.
The concept of continuous improvement or CI can be described as a map of strategic methods utilized to improve a company’s current practices in order to gain growth, sustainability, effectiveness, efficiency, and competitive advantage. There is a wide range of different theories and models of the CI framework, such as Six Sigma, Kaizen, the theory of constraints, lean, and others (Bach, 2021). Lean focuses on resource wasting points and their subsequent elimination, whereas Six Sigma modifies the previously described theory by focusing on consistency through a variability decrease. In contrast, Kaizen is mostly centered around the cultural element, where all individuals working at a company are encouraged to contribute to the improvement. Kaizen is less rigid and strictly organized than Six Sigma, but it brings flexibility.
The proposed solution is the Six Sigma model, which is focused on consistency over variability. The main reason is based on the fact that “TPG owned Internode has won the Internet Service Provider Customer Satisfaction Monthly Award for June with a customer satisfaction rating of 82%. Internode’s victory comes on the back of an impressive 18%-point improvement in customer satisfaction since June 2018” (Roy Morgan, 2019, para. 1). In other words, the company already has a high degree of customer satisfaction, and its customers are the least likely to switch their providers in the following months. In other words, Six Sigma will be able to make such improvements more consistent, which, in the long term, will establish Internode as a market leader. Since Six Sigma is also related to the lean model, it is important for Internode to solely focus on its internet services by eliminating any additional and unpopular services in regards to other products, such as hardware.
A full-scale approach to the formation of a system of continuous improvement in an integrated structure covers all levels of management and ensures the improvement of the entire company at the same time, both for the parent organization and legally and economically sustainable. Modern management and quality management, including only then, can be truly successful when it is in constant and continuous development when it is focused on changes that ensure the vitality of the organization, the accumulation of its innovative potential, and purposefulness.
Expected Benefits and Strategies
The expected benefits of implementing Six Sigma in Internode’s operations include consistent improvement in customer service, customer satisfaction, sustainability, and a high degree of efficiency due to the elimination of ineffective business operations. The key CI strategies will focus on enhancing the service delivery processes through the integration of strict protocols of action, which will minimize variability in internet provision. In order to achieve a consistent level of high customer satisfaction, the internet provided needs to be resilient to disruptions, disturbances and deliver the agreed internet speed reliably. Key performance indicators or KPIs are customer satisfaction, internet speed alterations, and the number of disruptions in service delivery per month.
The Six Sigma model will be implemented by focusing on three key elements, which are human resources, equipment, and products and services. Employees of the company will undergo a series of training sessions, where clearly outlined work protocols and company policies will be announced. In other words, workers need to operate strictly within the limitations of these instructions. Therefore, each employee will have a set of responsibilities and duties, where a purely transactional leadership style will be used. Training and transfer of technology to employees of the organization allow the implementation of a system of continuous improvement throughout the organization in a short time by the employees themselves. At the same time, the organization becomes self-improving, and the help of external consultants is required only on the first pilot projects, which allows the company to minimize project costs.
In addition, non-internet delivery service-related products, such as hardware, need to be eliminated since the company needs to be focused solely on NBN packages as sole products. It will adhere to the fundamental principles of Six Sigma, which are consistency and minimal variability. Lastly, the company needs to invest in its equipment and hardware, which are essential for reliable internet provision. The company needs to establish an infrastructure, which delivers internet constantly without any disturbances, which might include cyber protection and outdated hardware replacement.
Communication Plan and Evaluation
The proposed solution needs to be communicated to stakeholders on the basis of data and evidence. The logos will be the core appeal of the proposal, where it is evident that the company has made significant progress in its customer service and customer satisfaction and recently became a leader in the latter area. Therefore, in order to ensure that the company grows its market share and increases its profits, it is critical to be able to consistently deliver high-quality internet. The feedback and evaluation will be used to assess which efforts made the highest degree of positive impact on the performance. For example, it is possible that updating equipment might not be as important as personnel training or vice versa.
Bach, N. (2021) What to look for in a continuous improvement model.
Internode. (2021) About Internode.
Roy Morgan. (2019) Internode tops for satisfaction and customers least ‘likely to switch’.