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Six Sigma For Legal Practices

 Six Sigma For Legal Practices

With unprecedented competition about to hit the Legal Services market, now is the time for Solicitors firms to consider some of the ways they can compete with the potential new entrants. New entrants who are likely to be significantly bigger, and benefit from economies of scale as well as national branding.

You know who we mean.

We have written articles about the planning that firms should be undertaking now to counteract this threat, but just planning will not be enough.

Firms have to find new and innovative ways to deliver their services, eliminating inefficiencies and reducing inconsistent client services. To do this, they will have to take a leaf out of the books of some of the most successful commercial organisations of the last twenty years, including the one that has caused them the most worry if they enter the market. The one with the strap-line, "Every Little Helps..."

To become the number one in the supermarket industry in the UK, the most cut -throat commercial battlefield of the 21st century has taken something special. A combination of innovative and creative marketing and ruthless elimination of waste has turned the third largest supermarket into the first, with a clear intention to being the biggest in Europe and eventually the world.

So what are these techniques for eliminating wastes?

There are many, but one of the more successful is known as Six Sigma.

We can almost hear the thoughts of legal professionals reading this article. What on earth is Six Sigma, and how can it improve my business?

Six Sigma is an improvement methodology originally developed by Motorola in the 1980s with the express intention of beating the Japanese. The techniques used in this methodology were so effective that it drove competition for silicon wafers to the point that made mass production of memory chips as "cheap as chips."

This improvement methodology is based on the data within a business, and how it is used and interpreted. Unfortunately for many solicitors, business data is not something that is used effectively to improve service performance.

Imagine a methodology that is able to improve performance to unprecedented levels being used on key practice measures such as WIP, aged debt, chargeable hours and new matter starts to name just a few.

And can this methodology be used in the service sector, after all, its not manufacturing or retail?

Perhaps we should ask Lloyds TSB, one of the larger exponents of this improvement methodology? Or one of the hundreds of other service companies that have adopted it to remain competitive.

Perhaps the only real question is whether the legal service sector can use it, and if not, will it survive against organisations that can?