Scott M. Shafer

Allen J. (AJ) Lauren, executive vice president of BPO, Inc., shifted his gaze from the e-mail message he had just finished reading to the view of the neighboring manufacturing plant outside his spacious fourth-floor corner office. AJ was responsible for the operations of BPO's Employee Benefit Outsourcing (EBO) business. He often pondered the symbolism of the old manufacturing plant's reflection on his office building. If nothing else, the building's neighbor made an interesting contrast—the mature manufacturer versus BPO, an information age consultancy.

AJ's attention shifted back to the e-mail message he had just received from Sam Regan, the CEO of HA, one of BPO's major clients.

After considering different options for responding to the e-mail message, he decided to wait. Instead, he called his executive assistant and instructed her to contact Ethan Ekans, AJ's newly hired Senior Vice President of Operations, and Jerry Small, Assistant Director of Quality and a Six Sigma Black Belt candidate.1 He asked her to set up a meeting for that afternoon. AJ wanted an immediate update on the ongoing Six Sigma project Jerry was completing to investigate ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Health and Welfare Service Delivery Process. AJ was interested in learning if Sam Regan's experience was simply ...

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