The (get rid of) 90% challenge

Today’s FT reports on plans at Sony to slash the total number of parts that they use by 90% and eliminate a similar number of their suppliers from the delivery chain. I love the idea of a target like this – it’s a man in the moon one, just like our “get 100% online by 2005”. It’s man in the moon because you’ll know when it’s done, near enough, but you will still have all kinds of people before, during and after arguing about what was reallly meant, whether it’s done and what things were skipped over or fudged.


– Eliminate 90% of the steps in any given business process (though efficiency)

– Eliminate 90% of organisations involved in delivery to the citizen (through rationalisation)

– Eliminate 90% of government websites (through plain old elimination tactics)

– Eliminate 90% of a citizen’s pain in touching government

You could have some real fun with such aspirational goals. And the point would be that it wouldn’t matter if you only made 40, 50 or 70% of the total, you’d still be making giant strides towards better service to the end customer – and that would result in visible changes that would be felt by real people. The pundits and swingometer crowd could be left to argue about the detail, but the people for whom it mattered would see something fundamental had happened.

So, congratulations to Sony for articulating a visionary and aspirational objective. Most of us will never know if you have really done it as, after all, only you can count the widgets in your gadgets. But, we (as consumers) will expect to see smaller, cheaper, more reliable things coming to market quicker. And that will mean something. I’ll be watching the stock price as well as the new product channel to see if it pays off.

Now … how does a public sector organisation respond to a challenge like this, the 90% challenge?

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