Ford has spent a lot of time and money during the last two years cobbling together a cohesive message, which spans everything the company does, that the customer is Job 1.

Louise Goeser, Ford's quality vice president, continues hammering the message at the U-M conference Aug. 10 when she talks about the company's Consumer Driven Six Sigma effort.

Obviously, customer satisfaction is a key to Ford's transformation, and Ms. Goeser says that Six Sigma is how Ford will attain quantum improvements in customer satisfaction, by as much as 70%.

Ms. Goeser says it works this way: Identify a customer need and use analytical and statistical tools to fulfill it, while reducing variability and defects that also drive down waste and costs. Fewer defects result in improved customer satisfaction, and higher revenues, which increases earnings.

Indeed, says Ms. Goeser, a one-point increase in customer loyalty translates into $2 billion in added revenue and $100 million in earnings. Customer is Job 1 forms the base of Ford's Strategy Pyramid; atop it sits Superior Shareholder Returns.

No wonder that every announcement that Ford makes is either directly or indirectly tied to the company's customer is Job 1 message.