How DMAIC Helped San Antonio Increase the On-Time Payment of Street Maintenance Contractors by Nearly 20%

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We all need payment for the work that we do. It is really that simple. If contracted out to do a job by somebody, you need to be able to count on compensation for the work done on that job within a reasonable amount of time. Contractors that worked on street maintenance projects for the […]

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How the Six Sigma DMAIC Process Made Samsung Into an Industry Leader

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With strategic implementation, Six Sigma can do wonders for an organization. The methodology can drastically improve processes, cut down on waste, and even help provide better results in the design and R&D of new products. Samsung found that it was having issues with all of the above and, in 1999, conducted a complete overhaul of […]

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How the Six Sigma Voice of the Customer and DMAIC Tools Brought the Two Sides of SQL Together

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With the formation of a joint venture between the original healthcare organization laboratory, Sonora Lab, and the larger Quest Diagnostics, a partnership existed in name only. Both labs went about operating in separate locations while continuing with their individual instrumentation and systems. Over time, this led to issues across both teams, and it became clear […]

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How Listening to the Voice of the Customer Led to a Significant Drop in Hospital Wait Times

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In the emergency department of a hospital, the amount of wait time is of huge importance to the patient as well as the staff. Using Six Sigma methodology, the nurse director of Providence Hospital in Michigan was able to dramatically cut down on wait times for patients. Before Providence Hospital in Southfield, MI, embarked on […]

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Voice Of The Process vs. Voice Of The Customer: What’s the Difference?

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What is the Voice Of The Process? Voice Of The Process (VOP) is the manner in which a process communicates its performance capability to meet the expectations, wants, and needs of the customer. The Benefits of the Voice Of The Process Through analysis of your VOP, you gain insight into what moves you need to […]

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Exploring Process Capability Analysis: A Versatile Tool for Quality Assessment

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As the name implies, capability analysis is an analysis of the ability of your process to meet your customer’s expectations and requirements. There are a number of calculated metrics which can be used to help you do your capability analysis. 

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Using Voice of the Process to Identify Critical Processes for Improvement

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Are you hearing voices? If it’s in a business context, then there is nothing to worry about — and it might even be a good thing. Let’s listen in to the voice of the process and hear what it has to say.

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How to Use Voice of the Customer to Improve Customer Experience

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While an organization may hear many voices (Customer, Business, Employee and Process), it is the voice of the customer (VOC)  that is the driving voice as to what should be important to the organization and what the organization should focus on. The satisfaction of the VOC needs to be balanced against the Voice of the […]

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Achieving Excellence Through Quality Management

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The strategy of continuously improving your organizational processes by setting your goals, identifying deviations from those goals, and then taking appropriate actions to adjust your processes to close the gaps.

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Overview of Effective Survey Design

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The survey is one of the most important data collection tools in the armament of a Six Sigma practitioner. There is no lack of research literature on the principles and designs of effective surveys. While the surveys conducted by academics and certain research institutes often reflect impeccable design, there are innumerable cases in which the […]

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How to Avoid The Evils Within Customer Satisfaction Surveys

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When the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for the second time in 1999, companies across many industries began trying to achieve the same level of outstanding customer satisfaction. This was a good thing, of course, as CEOs and executives began incorporating customer satisfaction into their company goals while also communicating […]

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Creating Customer Delight – A Case Study in Diagnostic Clinics: Part 3 of 3

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This three-part case study focuses on improving customer satisfaction at two of the company’s diagnostic clinics – Centers A and B. In Part One, the company worked at Center A to reduce patient turnaround time, a defining component of patient satisfaction. In Part Two, the chain’s improvement story focuses on increasing patient delight at Center […]

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Creating Customer Delight – A Case Study in Diagnostic Clinics: Part 2 of 3

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This three-part case study focuses on two of the company’s diagnostic clinics – Centers A and B. In Part One, the company worked at Center A to reduce patient turnaround time, a defining component of patient satisfaction. Part Two of the chain’s improvement story focuses on increasing patient delight at Center B. Part Three revisits […]

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Creating Customer Delight – A Case Study in Diagnostic Clinics: Part 1 of 3

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The following is Part One of a three-part article. Click here to read Part Two. Click here to read Part Three. A chain of medical diagnostic clinics was developed from the ground up. After two years of hectic expansion marked by acquisitions and setting up greenfield clinics across a number of cities, it became clear […]

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VOC Advances: New Paths to Understanding Customers

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A Series of Articles on VOC Advances This article is one of a series on advances in obtaining and applying voice of the customer (VOC) information. The other articles in the series are VOC Advances: Complementary Innovation for Growth and VOC Advances: Helping Make Better Design Decisions. The series was written by Anthony E. Curtis […]

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VOC: Comparing Reactive Data and Proactive Data

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Collecting data – be it voice of the customer or otherwise – requires a plan. Details of the plan should include what data to collect, how to get the information, where the information will come from and so on. Before any of these details are defined, however, the first step is to identify what a […]

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Question marks on small multi-colored pieces of paper

Voice of the Customer: Have You Asked Enough Questions?

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To drive improvement through Lean Six Sigma and other continuous improvement projects, it is imperative for practitioners to determine first what is important to the customers who are affected by the process. Customers can take on a variety of different views. Listed below are examples of typical customers identified in a SIPOC diagram (suppliers, inputs, […]

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Knowing Who Your Customers Are

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When a company has multiple types of customers, a key factor in generating accurate voice-of-the-customer (VOC) data is the development of a unified VOC collection process. In my article, “Nice Doing Business With You” (iSixSigma Magazine, January/February 2011), I discussed various methods to ensure that all types of customer information is gathered from various departments […]

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Scenario Planning

Get the Bugs Out: VOC Analysis and Scenario Planning

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Through scenario planning, organizations can delight their customers by preparing for problems before they happen and testing solutions on employees first.

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Use Pair-wise Questioning to Collect More Useful VOC Data

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Imagine receiving the following message from your organization’s travel assistant: “You will really like your next business trip! I have booked you into a hotel right in the city center. It is a bit far from the factory and not really cheap, but after work you can do lots of things!” But what if you […]

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Asking the Right Questions Is the Key to Data Collection

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In the Measure phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) improvement methodology, data is collected and analyzed to provide a performance baseline for the process under study. Asking questions is one of the primary ways of collecting data. But as author Edward Hodnett noted, “If you don’t ask the right questions, […]

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Three Simple Questions: How to Focus Your VOC Research

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A lot of time can be saved in the planning stages of a survey research project by simply answering three short questions. By the time people from organizations have contacted me about a Six Sigma voice of the customer (VOC) study or research project, they have usually spent at least a fair amount of time […]

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Strategies for Surveying Employees

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Most mid to large companies or organizations can at one point or another, benefit from surveying their employees for the primary purpose of gauging morale. A survey may be needed for a number of reasons, including changes in employee behavior such as high absenteeism or a reduction in output; before or after major adjustments in […]

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biomarker

Variance Markers in Survey Design

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The idea of bio-marking, a technique used to follow individual molecules around in the laboratory, can also be applied to survey design. By creating one item, which captures the overall meaning or bottom line of a survey, you can examine its variance statistically as it interacts with other items and set the stage for leverage and resource allocation via multiple regression.

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