The History of Eckes & Associates, Inc.
Eckes & Associates, Inc. (EAI) is a Colorado based consulting
group specializing in continuous improvement, lean six sigma coaching and
consulting, organizational development and change management consulting.
It’s President and Chief Executive Officer, George Eckes founded EAI in 1984. A Notre Dame graduate with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University, George began his career as a psychologist in 1977. After several years as a licensed psychologist, George joined Gilbert Commonweath, a Michigan based consulting firm that specialized in quality improvement with clients in the automobile industry.
In 1984 , George joined StorageTek, a Fortune 500 computer manufacturer to create and manage a supplier development group whose goal was to improve incoming quality among StorageTek’s 900+ supplier base. It was during this time that his group began working with Motorola and its suppliers which at the time was implementing the first six sigma initiative.
At the same time he created his own consulting company ultimately known as Eckes & Associates, Inc. Both among StorageTek suppliers and EAI’s client base, George and his staff took a broad, comprehensive approach to improvement. Rather than just use quality improvement as a tactical tool, EAI’s philosophy was to use quality as a competitive weapon as a business philosophy toward managing the entire business.
The EAI philosophy toward improvement includes strategic, tactical and cultural components. A major factor in EAI’s success is obtaining management’s active involvement. The strategic component centers on having management utilize quality principles and approaches toward achievement of the organization’s strategic business objectives. This is a clear distinction from other consultant’s approaches. The concept of Business Process Management assists management to identify its business objectives, the key processes of the business and then select process related projects that have high impact to the organization that are performing poorly. It is only when the management is actively involved in a Lean Six Sigma initiative that an organization achieves results.
The second component of Eckes & Associates, Inc. unique skills is its approach to the Tactics of Lean Six Sigma. Instead of just training Lean Six Sigma tools, concepts and techniques, Eckes & Associates, Inc. uses Adult Learning Theory where there is never a longer lecture of an hour and most time is spent in breakout activities with actual project teams, directly coaching and consulting a team’s usage of a tool or technique. The utilization of Adult Learning Theory is a major critical success factor that has helped generate seven figure ROI in year one for over 90% of its clients in the last five years.
The final critical element of Lean Six Sigma success focuses on the Cultural component of improvement. This cultural component includes the development of Lean Six Sigma leadership, creating the need for change, mobilizing commitment and dealing with resistance. Unlike other Lean Six Sigma consulting groups, Eckes & Associates, Inc. has developed a unique method to quantify both the technical and cultural elements in such a way to assist an organization develop corrective action to the current Lean Six Sigma efforts.
In 1995 EAI was hired as one of the primary consultant organizations to General Electric when the conglomerate committed to Lean Six Sigma. In addition to course design and delivery, EAI also spent time coaching business leaders and internal consultants that helped contribute to GE being one of the famous examples of Lean Six Sigma deployment. Within three years, EAI was the highest rated consultant organization for GE Capital.
In the years since GE chose EAI as a primary consultant firm, EAI have been the consultant of choice for hundreds of organizations in a multitude of fields. Financial organizations like Wells Fargo, Household, HSBC and JP Morgan Chase have hired EAI to assist in their efforts at continuous improvement. Manufacturing and high tech firms like Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Volvo Trucks, Fujitsu and Acuity Lighting have hired EAI and in recent years such health care providers as Park Nicollet Health Care and Presbyterian Health care have utilized EAI services in their attempt to become world class.