Putting Six Sigma to Work in Business-to-Business Sales

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When the vice president for sales calls a Black Belt in to talk about sales, the natural inclination for the Six Sigma practitioner is to look for the “pain points” and work with a team to define the problem and build a solution. This approach will help transform the sales process, but it may not […]

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Process Improvement and Technology: The Virtuous Cycle

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Because of information technology’s unique role as a support function in most organizations, process improvement means improving both the processes of its internal management system and the business it supports. As a matter of fact, for most organizations today information technology (IT) infrastructure and management is the backbone of all critical processes. Combine that with […]

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Six Sigma Strategy: Understanding the Customer Process

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Many companies which choose not to utilize Lean and Six Sigma as key components of how they implement change in their organization say it is because the methodologies are too complicated for their business environment. They claim that they do not have the time to build an infrastructure, train Black Belts and Green Belts and […]

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Finding the Sigma Level of Customer Complaints

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In the beginning of a deployment, many companies set a goal of 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO) using Six Sigma quality concepts in production, and later extend this concept to other operational areas. Fewer companies, however, have extended Six Sigma from a manufacturing application to manage customer satisfaction or customer complaints. But it is […]

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Case Study: Optimizing Patient Flow at Fort Drum Clinic

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A project to optimize family practice patient flow at the Guthrie Ambulatory Healthcare Clinic, part of the U.S. Army Medical Activity (MEDDAC) at Fort Drum, N.Y., was initiated in November 2007. The goal: to reduce process cycle time while maintaining the same quality of care and to increase patient satisfaction from the time the patient […]

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Six Sigma in Government: Focusing on the Customer

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Six Sigma, with its emphasis in many cases on hard, current-year results, is often not associated with government agencies and their processes. One reason is that a government’s mission is as much about providing services to the public and other stakeholders as it is about cutting costs and realizing efficiencies. In fact, there is frequently […]

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Trailblazing Efforts Drive Strategic Objectives

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Turning strategic stretch goals into daily behavioral change has never been easy for big companies. While executives talk about customer focus, what passes for intimate financial interactions in a busy call center is often laden with tedious work-arounds, risk-adverse rules, hopelessly complex technical redundancies and platform interactions. At one of the world’s largest mutual fund […]

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TQM Case Study: Newspaper Focuses on Customer Service

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Quality in the total quality management (TQM) method is defined as customer delight. Customers are delighted when their needs are met or exceeded. The needs of the customer are: Product quality Delivery quality Service quality Cost value Improving customer service was the focus of two projects within the deployment of TQM in a mid-sized newspaper […]

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Aligning Army Call Center Goals to Improve Performance

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Product Manager, Transportation Information Services (PM TIS) is an Army program under the auspices of the Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). The PM TIS organization includes the Customer Service Center (CSC) which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions and resolve issues related to software that […]

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Make Better Use of Survey Data with Kano Analysis

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Nearly all medium and large companies spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on customer surveys every year. Customer survey results are used to amend strategies, design new products and services, and focus improvement activities. Gathering customer data is only the first step. The second step involves making best use of the data – analyzing […]

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Cost of a Process with Poor Quality Can Be Very High

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The definition of quality can differ depending on whether it is associated with products and services or with the processes used to generate them. The quality of a product or service is measured in terms of the satisfaction that the customer derives from using it. The quality of a process depends on its ability to […]

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Six Sigma Tools for Every Day Projects and Processes

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During a Six Sigma symposium, speaker after speaker presented good information on Six Sigma concepts, tools and approaches to use when working on a Six Sigma project. If these Six Sigma tools, approaches templates, etc., are good for Six Sigma projects, why not use them in day-to-day software development and IT processes? Learning Objectives It […]

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Promises of Brand Strategy and Design for Six Sigma

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“99.44 percent pure” “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” “The ultimate driving machine” “We bring good things to life” For recent generations of Americans, the slogans above have become synonymous with the high-profile brands they represent. But these words are not simply clever taglines. They […]

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US Fuels Improves Invoicing Accuracy Using Work-out

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US Fuels is responsible for the wholesale fuels operations in the United States for its parent company, BP, one of the world’s largest energy companies. US Fuels supplies branded gasoline to company-owned gas stations and branded fuel jobbers, and diesel fuel to commercial accounts such as railroads, trucking companies, transit authorities and truck stops. The […]

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Value Matters as a Key Metric for Six Sigma Initiatives

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A key measurement of Six Sigma effectiveness is the application of appropriate metrics. Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder, two pioneers of Six Sigma, state in their book Six Sigma that, “An organization’s profitability is determined by what it chooses to measure and how it measures it.” They point out that most companies need to change […]

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Software and Systems: The Disciplines of CRM

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  The total customer relationship management (CRM) market will reach $12.1 billion by 2004, representing an annual growth rate of 29.9 percent, according to the 2000 CRM Market Forecast and Analysis prepared by IDC, the world’s leading provider of information technology data and analysis. It is highly unlikely, however, that the CRM market will reach […]

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A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 5 of 6

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This combination “case study and tutorial” tracks the inception of a Six Sigma DMAIC project by an IT support business. The project is aimed at helping the company become more competitive and profitable. Each part follows the project team as it works through another stage of the DMAIC methodology. Click to read the rest of […]

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Bridging Functional Silos to Achieve ‘Customer Impact’

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During the Define phase, it is common that a project is made smaller and more manageable by limiting the scope of the business process it will address. This may, however, cause problems during the Measure and Analyze phases when root causes outside the project scope are found. An exploration of this issue is found in […]

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A Leadership Roadmap for Managing with Metrics

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Nine practical steps that focus on facts and data can provide a roadmap for business leaders at all levels on how to use the Six Sigma method to drive strategy implementation. 1. Start at the Finish Line: Define Strategic Objectives By far the worst use of Six Sigma is on non-strategic issues. Chartering projects with […]

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