Six Sigma Trends: Upgrade for Supply Chains and Solution Providers

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This is my second article from my series reflecting research on strategies and trends in deploying Six Sigma. Our research is performed not in an academic lab but with direct application in companies through advanced team-training concepts and relevant project coaching. Although subjects vary, the structure of my articles will remain similar starting with What […]

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Is Software Inspection Value Added?

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In manufacturing circles it is generally accepted that inspections are money wasted. But in the world of software that is definitely not the case. This brief case study uses scorecards to illustrate the value and payoff that can be realized by introducing software inspections. By comparing defect counts and defect fix efforts from two completed […]

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Y = f (x): Aligning Green/Black Belts To Business Needs

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With the deployment of Six Sigma many organizations ask themselves various questions: What is critical to my customers? What is critical to the bottom line? How do I get a handle on these processes and assure their performance? What should my newly trained Black Belts attack? Without the methodology to pursue the answers, the pressure […]

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Increasing Customer Interactions

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Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity for advancing your relationship and gaining key information. Your early interaction efforts set the stage for mature and productive relationships. Clear and efficient communication with your customers may serve you better than anything else in developing relationships. Once you have established mutual trust and respect, you will […]

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Is CRM the Six Sigma of the New Economy?

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The Internet has not only lowered the barrier of entry into markets, but in many cases also allows companies to offer products and services at much lower prices. Customers now have the choice and, more importantly, they are aware of their choices. As the economy moves more towards the e-conomy, customer expectations and the ability […]

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Understand and Quantify the Customer’s View

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Businesses provide an indivisible combination of products and services to their customers. The customers’ view of the value the company provides is based on the quality of the combined package of product and service. So how does the quality professional provide management with a tool to benchmark the operation’s performance and monitor the view the […]

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Strengthening the Employee-customer Interaction

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The most perfectly designed and built process or system is only as good as the human being who uses it. That’s the idea behind Human Sigma, a new branch of Six Sigma that focuses on improving the quality of the employee-customer encounter, particularly within sales and service organizations. Human Sigma proponents, including John H. Fleming […]

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Net Promoter Score: A Number for Business to Grow By

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Organizations looking for a silver bullet customer metric look no further than the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Developed by Frederick Reichhold and his colleagues at Bain & Co., NPS provides an economical and concise metric for assessing how loyal a company’s customers are. Managing that measurement is the key to future growth. What Is NPS? […]

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Next Steps

Defining CTQ Outputs: A Key Step in the Design Process

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After gathering voice of the customer data, the next step is to translate user demands into design quality. A quality function deployment (QFD), also known as the house of quality, can help define those critical-to-quality outputs (CTQs).

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User Stories in Lean Six Sigma Software Development

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The term “user story” is emerging in the practice of Agile software development, but the notion is very applicable in all types of products and services. A user story is a simple, one-sentence description of what an actor (any person or entity with behavior that expects things of a particular system) would find valuable to […]

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VOC Loyalty Survey Can Aim Customer Retention Projects

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Retention is a behavior. Satisfaction is a feeling. Loyalty is a measure of the potential for retention. One health plan organization has used the analysis of a simple voice of the customer (VOC) survey to find the drivers and the relationship between loyalty and retention. While a health plan has many opportunities to improve operational […]

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VOC/Conjoint Analysis: Actionable Customer Segmenting

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Voice of the customer (VOC) is a central concept within the Six Sigma methodology. Process performance can only be measured if an organization is aware of the critical customer requirements. But customer preferences are often unbalanced (everything is important), vague and unstable. With the help of conjoint analysis, it is possible to derive individual customer […]

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User Stories and Measures for Competitive Analysis

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Finding a Framework for Benchmarking and Reverse Engineering Product development is often forward looking – trying to discover and deliver value for a product or service in our own company. There are times, however, when it is worth learning what the competition has been up to. Some of the same tools that support a company’s […]

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Nine Steps to Create a Great Customer Survey: Part 2

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Many organizations use surveys to gather information and data in order to learn more about their customers. To prepare a successful survey, practitioners should follow nine basic steps. Part One of this series discussed the first three steps: establishing a goal, determining the sample and choosing the methodology. The fourth, fifth and sixth steps, which […]

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Nine Steps to Create a Great Customer Survey: Part 3

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To generate a valuable customer survey, practitioners should follow nine steps. Part One of this series discussed the first three steps: establishing a goal, determining the sample and choosing the methodology. Part Two covered the fourth, fifth and sixth steps, which related to what types of questions to ask and how they should be asked. […]

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Delight Customers: Reduce Defects in Service Delivery

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Telephone operators help establish a company’s image with the outside world. An operator with a clear, courteous voice who is capable of connecting the call to the right person can be a delighter for the caller, as well as the receiver. Recently, a voice of the customer (VOC) survey revealed that operator response at a […]

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Nine Steps to Create a Great Customer Survey: Part 1

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Many organizations use surveys to gather information and data in order to learn more about their customers. While it is important to ensure that surveys are targeted to the right audience, confidence in the development and implementation of a survey is even more vital. To prepare a successful survey, practitioners should follow nine basic steps; […]

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Quick, Quality Decision-Making Using Six Sigma Tools

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A significant part of business success can come from the speed and quality of decision-making. Such good decision-making leads to performance improvements by reducing rework and driving benefits to the bottom line faster. Six Sigma, especially Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), has tools that improve the speed and quality of decisions. A morphological matrix will […]

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Enhanced VOC Data Collection Can Jump Start Projects

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An enhanced voice of the customer (VOC) data collection process can improve Lean Six Sigma project execution and make the project leader’s job easier. During many Black Belt training sessions, the instructor teaches the class that it needs to develop statements on critical-to-quality elements (CTQs) that summarized the customer requirements in specific and measurable terms. […]

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VOC Advances: Helping Make Better Design Decisions

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Many companies launch product or service design efforts based on whatever knowledge they already have about customer needs from questionnaires, focus groups, the opinions of marketing staff and senior engineers…and sometimes the CEO. Often this information is more opinion than data. Teams read through this existing customer information, whether it is relevant to the current […]

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Achieving Customer Delight Via VOC and Data Analysis

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In an inbound contact center environment, delivery of customer service and the end-customer satisfaction index cannot be always accurately determined by service level metrics. A customer service center may be performing at consistent service levels, but the end-customer retention rate and the overall customer satisfaction index may be relatively low. Direct measurement of customers’ perceptions […]

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The Customer, Trust, Quality and the Bottom Line

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The link between individual Six Sigma projects and the ultimate customer is sometimes difficult because of the separation between the two, and sometimes because of the vagueness of statements at the strategic level. It was interesting and relevant to see the results earlier this year from the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey of nearly […]

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Use of Conjoint Analysis for the Design of New Website

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A project manager responsible for the design of financial services website to market a new product or service must consider numerous factors that can influence the effectiveness of that website. Traditional methods often focus more on the art of aesthetics, rather than the science of usability. The use of conjoint analysis in website design can […]

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Improving Help Desk Functions by Using Lean Six Sigma

Improving Help Desk Functions by Using Lean Six Sigma

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Help desk organizations inevitably have waste in their processes that leads to customer complaints. Overcome those obstacles through value stream analysis – an efficient, effective process to review and improve help desk functions.

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