Vishwadeep Khatri (VK) from Benchmark Six Sigma recently interviewed Manish Pharasi (MP). MP has had a rich industrial experience of 13 years and his specialities include Global Exposure, Process Improvement experience in many industries viz. Banking, Telecom, Financial Services, BPO. Leadership in driving setting up Performance Management and Service Management Frameworks. Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and Certified Master Trainer in Six Sigma & Quality. He has trained close to 1500 resources in Lean Six Sigma across the globe (US, Europe, Asia pac, India, Middle East).
VK: Manish, can you share with us details of your career journey?
MP: Sure VK. I graduated from IIT-BHU in 1995 and joined Reliance Industries Ltd. as a Project Engineer. I was involved in erection & commissioning of 6 polyster plants in that stint. It exposed me to nuances of project management at an operational level. After working there for 2 years I joined IBS, Hyderabad for full time MBA. I specialized in Finance and Information technology and graduated in 1999. From than for the next two and a half years I worked as a Product & Pre sales consultant with a start up company in Hyderabad. This was mainly in Business Intelligence & Knowledge Management products with a focus on Engineering, Banking and Retail Sectors. My next assignment was in Airtel, Delhi in the fixed line business. It was a quality role and it was setting up the Quality department with my Manager. It involved the very basics defining proceses, setting up the measurement systems, getting trained in Philip Crosby methodology and than training the larger organization in that. Primarily first six months was to lay a strong foundation for Quality. Next I got trained and certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt (GE was the consulting partner). I completed 2 high impacting business projects and mentored 5 other smaller green belt projects. My Project got the CEO's award. So this was the beginning of my Six Sigma journey. After completing 2 more projects I moved to Agilent Technologies as a Quality Lead for Global Financial services (GFS). This was a Global Role and also my first international exposure. I lead large end to end projects with brief stints in US and Singapore. These two projects were improving the overall Order to Cash Process (with DSO as a metric) and the Procure to Pay Process. This involved working upstream with businesses (in US & Asia Pac) and with off shored backend processes in India. During Agilent Stint I became an active Six Sigma trainer and did extensive training of Black Belts, Green Belts and Yellow belts across the globe. I also got an opportunity to work with Champions in GFS to work on operationalizing the business strategy through Six Sigma. Post Agilent I moved to GEcis (Genpact) as a Master Black Belt (MBB). I worked for Wachovia account as an MBB and also worked with Corporate Training. Key achievements were that all Wachovia processes that were transitioned to India met their agreed service levels right from day one with no lapse. This was much appreciated by the customers. I also lead roll out of Lean trainings and BPMS for Wachovia's outsourced processes and ensured that productivity improvement (5% for each process) was realised. With Corporate Training I lead the Green Belt training roll out across the organization and actively conducted Black belt/Master Black Belt trainings. I was given a ‘Gold award' for being one of the best trainers and implementer of Lean Six sigma initiative. Post GEcis (Genpact) I moved to middle east as a Quality Leader for Riyad Bank in Saudi Arabia. In that stint I worked with the Senior Management team to roll out the initiative with a specific focus on Retail Banking. We realised visible improvements in all areas viz. Mortgage, Credit Cards, other Products, Branch Processes (like account opening, money transfer etc.). An effective BPM (Business Process Management) framework was parallel created for Retail Banking. As a result of these initiatives bank show a positive growth in its Customer Satisfaction Scores in these areas.
Since July 2008 I have been working as a Consultant & Trainer in association with few companies in the arena of Operational Excellence. This includes giving consultancy for deployment of Six Sigma methodology, conducting Lean Six Sigma Trainings, Mentoring and Certifying Projects and Setting up Business Process Management System. I have worked with clients in Dubai (specifically Dubai Roads and Transports Authority), Singapore, Malaysia, Mohali and NCR during this stint so far.
VK:What importance do you assign to Six Sigma with regard to organisational success?
MP: Honestly I would say that Six Sigma is the foremost breakthrough Management philosophy that came up in the last century. It is the way business should be done. It is the most comprehensive end to end Business Strategy that I have come across in my career. It's a scientific approach that ensures a strong linkage with the organization's business results. Any organization that wants to consistent success should make Six Sigma as an integral part of its DNA.
VK:Which Six Sigma techniques do you think are being applied most often?
MP: Having worked in many types of industries I have really seen almost all tools from the methodology being applied depending both on industry as well as the project. But if I look at my entire experience across industries I would say that most frequently used ones phase wise are: Define & Measure (VOC Gathering, Charter, COPIS, QFD, Data Collection Plan, Measurement System Analysis, C&E Matrix), Analyze (Fish Bone, Process Mapping & Analysis, Pareto, Hypothesis testing specifically mean and median tests, Regression, Process Capability calculations, FMEA, ), Improve (Solution selection, Pugh matrix, Brainstorming, Mistake proofing) & Control (Dashboards, Visual Management, Control Charts). Tools like Brainstorming, Pareto, Fish Bone, Process Analysis and Control Charts have been widely used even without a Project. These have been used to solve basic problems and also in setting up an effective BPMS.
VK:How has Six Sigma experience shaped your career?
MP: Six Sigma has been the best thing that happened to me in my career. What does a person want from his work life: Variety of assignments, international exposure, global recognition, fast growth, a feeling of satisfaction at the end of day's work, a feeling that one is helping individuals/organizations to improve. I have got all this in my career after getting exposed to Six Sigma. One thing I always wanted from my work life was an opportunity to see all business functions and how do different industries function. During my MBA days I used to wonder will there by any such skill which would help me in doing this. Six Sigma gave me that one skill that I wanted. It shaped by thinking, it made me do lead and complete big high impacting projects., it made me make a larger contribution by shaping careers of others by adding Six Sigma to their skill set via workshops/trainings. I sincerely owe a lot in my career to Six Sigma.
VK:-Who do you think should be provided with Six Sigma training? Is it suitable for people with some seniority in the company?
MP: I very strongly believe that Six Sigma training should be given to everyone irrespective of age, experience, seniority and position. It is not merely a set of tools and techniques that it appears to be at the outset. What Six Sigma does to individuals is changes their thinking process, it changes the way they look at work and life in general. The concepts learned can be applied to any situation in any industry or any function. Infact, most people realise this after they get trained. I have heard almost everyone say after training that they were really missing something in their lives in the absence of these learnings. Many senior people have told me personally that had they undergone this training in the earlier part of their careers their professional life would have been much easier as well as more fruitful. So timing of getting trained is not important, getting trained and applying the concepts learned is more critical.
VK:-What should be the role of Six Sigma in current recessionary scenario?
MP: Current recessionary scenario is an ideal opportunity for both organizations and individuals to benefit from the Six Sigma Approach. Six Sigma can be an effective enabler in identifying and removing the gross inefficiencies that are there within the working systems in most organizations. These inefficiencies were largely ignored during the booming period where focus is always growth. What Six Sigma can do in these times is to make an organization not only to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing business processes but also help in redesigning & optimizing all the working systems in line with changed business priorities.
Individuals have an opportunity to upgrade themselves by adding Six Sigma skill sets in their profiles and hence help their organizations in achieving the efficiencies that are needed in these testing times. They can also aim to reshape their careers with Six Sigma learnings.
VK:-What direction do you see for yourself in the coming period?
MP: Being through the business, development and qualityperspectives in 10 years, I plan to focus on some of the advanced Six Sigma skills soon. These are specifically related to Multi Variate Analysis and Simulations. I want to get a good sound knowledge of these concepts and their practical applications and aim to spread the knowledge across industries.
VK: Thank you for your time and willingness to share your experience with the Six Sigma community.
MP: Its been my Pleasure VK.