Six Sigma Security: Three Examples of Process Gains

GE CSO Francis Taylor finds the payoff in process improvements

POLICY VIOLATIONS. When General Electric CSO Francis X. Taylor worked at the State Department, Congress demanded reports on employees’ security violations. The department initially included those reports in employees’ HR files. But the department needed to reduce security violations, not punish employees, Taylor said. He ordered an analysis, which found that 80 percent of violations involved inattention to detail or ignorance of department security policies. Making employees aware drove violations down by 55 percent in one quarter, he said.

BACKGROUND CHECKS. Checks at the State Department took, on average, more than a year during a time that then-Secretary Colin Powell wanted to hire more foreign service officers. Taylor said an analysis of the process found that too many “clean” files that could be handled quickly were languishing as the process focused on tougher cases. He shifted that emphasis over time, and granted interim clearances to interns. These and other process improvements drove the average clearance down to 77 days.

SECURITY ALARMS. When Taylor joined GE in March 2005, his inquiries into security processes led to streamlining how the company’s facility managers respond to security alarms by eliminating alarms that didn’t require action. This freed up resources to make the organization more effective, he said. At GE, Taylor said: “My job is to bring value to how [CEO Jeffrey Immelt] does his job,” an effort that enables growth.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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