Cinderella’s shoe, does it fit everyone?

Husband and Wife both are Six Sigma practitioners. Obviously, their daily lives conversations happen in Six Sigma parlance. The wife happens to be a very good cook, one of the reasons why the husband married her. Suddenly, three days at a stretch, the food starts to have extra salt. Husband objects, to which wife responds

“Common Cause of Variation”. One day, the wife adds a lot of salt to the food. Husband takes ill and is admitted to the hospital. Wife comes to see him and quips, “Sorry, special cause of variation.” Husband says, “It was Structural.”

Three days later, Husband hands out a divorce notice to wife and quips, “Process Unstable. Not meeting CTQ*.”
*CTQs are the internal critical quality parameters that relate to the wants and needs of the customer.

Thought of sharing this joke as I believe it will help us all in remembering few vocabularies used during our last session.

The last few session reminded me of one of the main product development projects that I’ve worked on, where we launched one product in 7 different markets, however we had to customize it a bit for each market in order to meet customer expectations in each of the 7 markets.
The product was basically a credit card in local currency, you may wonder what is so special about it? Well it was an American Express local currency Credit Card.  And as you may know, American Express is considered the most prestigious plastic card in the world, and it targets individuals with high expenditure patterns. Refer to this blog for American  American
Express’s Competitive Position

As this may be very true for its main product “the Charge Card”, it was not applicable for their Credit Card target segment, which made the product development & marketing teams wonder of what would attract customers to American Express Credit Card rather than any other credit cards available in their market? Well the development team followed the differentiation strategy while designing the product. It was the feel of the prestigious card that attracted customers to it, in addition to the appropriately designed product that met customer’s expectation in each of the targeted markets. But how did the development team identify the customer needs? They utilized their existing data and referred to the Charge Card customer base, they asked them if they would like to hold supplementary Credit Cards for their spouses and children with a credit limit, and bang that was highly demanded. As loyal cardholders they didn’t want to hold many different brands of cards and also didn’t want to  provide the open limit charge card as supplementary cards to their family. Of course further focus groups were obtained then to identify the requirements of each market, and to develop a product that is different than the current ones in the market. Tremendous amount of work was held but it was worth it, the product was launched successfully and it was well perceived in all 7 different markets.

However, do you think what AMEX did for identifying customer’s needs in each market was enough? If not, what alternative ways would you suggest?

The Cursed Shop

“Beware of this haunted shop I heard there was a kid who once entered this shop and never came out. His poor mother lives in misery because of her loss” said Cousin Noah. I still remember that day while my cousin and I were walking passing by this shop located in Arad Town. It was before 20 years but I remember it like yesterday, this shop was called the cursed shop, or the haunted shop. Furthermore the title (cursed shop) came because whenever a restaurant opens in this same shop after a while the business shuts down. By time people started believing that this shop was really cursed, it’s funny how some people are naïve.



I kept in mind this shop and the different restaurants that opened there; I said to myself there must be a reason behind this. Further investigation in this case I found out the reason was simple; the restaurants did not have good forecasts for the demands of the customers. A restaurant would open to operate and they would order for example a large amount of Kebab given it’s a restaurant serving fresh food they would have many Kebab left unfortunately some were already grilled and been ready to serve, this is just one example. Of course the forecasting was not the only reason, given the place of the restaurant, prices, and demand of customers played a role.

I believe that this restaurant could have avoided the risk by using the forecast starting from Qualitative method (using surveys or even second hand information.)Also using the Quantitative methods to forecast the demand and base the price on the forecasts.

Friday (11th may) class was an eye opening class, I always wanted to know how restaurants were able to survive and know exactly how much portion of meat, salads , fish , or any type of food to prepare each day. From the class exercise I leaned that there are different types of forecasts that addresses different categorize like (Economic, Technological and Demand forecasts.)Furthermore each method is suitable for a different case or scenario. There are two approaches to this matter the Qualitative  including ( Delphi method , consumer market survey , sales force composite) , and the Quantitative method including  ( Naïve approach , moving averages , exponential smoothing , trend projection , linear regression. )Moreover the manager has to know what type of forecast to use because each approach will give an answer however only one answer is accurate and reflects reality.





Do you believe that Forecasting is vital for any restaurant?

  1. YES
  2.  NO
  3. I didn’t read the article I just want to comment for the 5%

What do you think is the best Quantitative method to use for the restaurant?



More on restaurants failure click here:


Read The Future

Can anyone really read the future? We all know that this is not true but what I shall talk about relates to the subject hugely.


We learned a bit about forecasting, its importance to organizations and some of the different methodologies used, should those be qualitative or quantitative. I work as a business analyst and my company is in entertainment and events management and I am going to go briefly on how we utilize forecasting in our business.


We learned that applying forecasting techniques is easy once you know which method to choose. In my company we have a mixture of products. Some of which existed for years, some have been renovated and others will be introduced in the near future.


For products that have been in the market for a while we utilize the historical data to recognize patterns on evenly spaced periods. By looking at the growth rates and applying a moving average method we have been able to project demand and sales figures fairly.


With regards to renovated products we look at the elements our clients liked and move the product into that direction. The only way to get our hands on such information is by doing consumer market surveys. Make sure before you go ahead with the process that your sample represents your entire market. We have been in a situation where we projected huge revenues from a recently changed product. What went wrong is that the proposed changed came from a key client, a change the rest of our clients did not like and we ended up changing the product back.


The hardest of all in my opinion is forecasting a new product. I have learned from experience that the best estimates will always have a large percentage of error in this case. If you forecast less and the demand is more, you end up losing clients. If you forecast high and you end up not selling much then you have wasted resources that could have been better utilized elsewhere. What we do is that we relate the new product to another that has similar characteristics. Surprisingly, similar products will have similar market trends and growth rates. If it is a product we have no similar to we seek information from other companies, business professionals and the internet to utilize the best forecasting techniques.


Two things my company does after each forecast. One is we will do manual adjustments to the results. I know from the class that this step is the sales force composite. We will ask the heads of the department about what they think about the numbers. May be they have large number of clients lined up to buy or may be our biggest purchaser is not interested in buying anymore. The second is to look at the state of the economy and how other companies are doing and estimate their spending.


Which is the best forecasting technique? It all depends to me.