Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bharati Broadband Case Study

Bharti Broadband saves with Six Sigma:

Six Sigma helped the service provider improve its customer service.

Bharti Broadband Networks (BBNL) is a leading integrated broadband service provider operating in the broadband, Internet and VSAT markets. It provides customised and integrated solutions to corporate customers. The company had a goal of delivering error-free services to customers by doing the job right the first time, every time.

Why Six Sigma:

With the quality objective having been decided, an executive committee (EC) comprising nine officials, including the CEO, was formed. The committee studied various other quality tools and processes like ISO and TQM in addition to Six Sigma. The choice for Six Sigma was made as it was closely aligned with the outlined quality objective. According to Ashok Juneja, CEO, BBNL, "We realised that the telecom industry is undergoing rapid change and so are customer requirements. Six Sigma met the requirements of this changing environment." There were already several case studies of successful Six Sigma implementations in large companies like GE, Motorola, Wipro, TCS and Satyam.

Making the customer a priority:

The Six Sigma initiative was formally launched in June 2003 with the tagline: 'Six Sigma-my customer, my priority'. The company has outlined that improving customer satisfaction is the business objective for first year of the initiative. The executive committee identified the processes that were in conjunction with this focus area.

In the first phase, critical business processes were aligned with business objectives. The critical objectives identified were customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, improving revenue and free cash.

First, the projects with processes mapped against these objectives were to be undertaken. And then the quality improvement projects for existing and new products were to be undertaken. Almost 85 percent of Six Sigma projects at BBNL are based on customer satisfaction.

A cross-functional team was formed to tackle each project. The team consisted of a champion, a Black Belt and four to five Green Belts. The duration for each project can range between 4 to 6 months. For the first phase the team chose 15 critical projects that offered substantial gains. Black Belts are involved full-time in the quality improvement process while Green Belts spend around 25 percent of their time on the quality improvement initiatives.

Each project followed the five-phase DMAIC methodology. These include defining and quantifying the problem, measuring the defect rate, i.e. the baseline. This is followed by the analysis phase where analysis is done on when, where and how the defects occur. The fourth step is improvement, finding probable solutions and applying them. The final step is control in terms of sustaining the improvements.

BBNL has applied Six Sigma to processes for timely complaint resolution, timely order implementation and timely invoice submission.

When the teams started measuring critical business processes they found that the baseline was not as per customer expectations. There were gaps of around 30-40 percent in some processes. The baseline having been measured, targets were set for improving the processes. After analysing defects, process improvements were kicked in. Simplifying the process instead of changing the entire process brings in the improvement. The tool essentially requires fine-tuning the process and eliminating those that do not add value. "When you are simplifying the projects, productivity goes up within the same resources, thereby leading to optimum utilisation of the resources," says Juneja. One of the ways of simplifying processes is to use IT for automating processes.

The executive committee continuously monitored the projects. A quality dashboard was created, wherein every month performance is reported. The CEO and the COO monitor whether the objectives are being met.


The Six Sigma process improvements have translated into productivity enhancements, improved customer satisfaction and process effectiveness. BBNL targeted a saving of around Rs. 100 million in the first year of operation. The target was to achieve 99 percent (i.e. approximately four Sigma level) Right First Time on all critical processes.
Within six months BBNL had achieved timely complaint resolution 66 percent from the baseline, Timely order implementation up 70 percent from baseline and Timely invoice submission up 51 percent from baseline.