iSixSigma

VOC

Cold Beer

I have to admit this is one of my favorite subjects – beer! Recently I toured the Ellis Island Casino and Brewery in Las Vegas. Our guide stated that their customers loved “cold” beer. Like most of you I immediately thought of Six Sigma critical-to-quality (CTQ) trees. (Yes, this stuff can be a curse.) As…

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How to Avoid The Evils Within Customer Satisfaction Surveys

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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VOC Advances: New Paths to Understanding Customers

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…

VOC: Comparing Reactive Data and Proactive Data

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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Voice of the Customer: Have You Asked Enough Questions?

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,…

Knowing Who Your Customers Are

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…

Getting the Bugs Out: VOC Analysis and Scenario Planning

Despite their best efforts to meet the expectations of their customers, companies can still struggle to retain their market share. One reason, as illustrated by the Kano model, is that product or service qualities that were once simply attractive can turn into must-be qualities. If companies do not keep up with new expectations, the result…

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Call Center Quality: Satisfaction Over Quantity

Until 2005, this was the case at NCCI Holdings Inc., a workers compensation insurance carrier, based in Boca Raton, Fla., USA. The call center at NCCI is a business-to-business operation that manages 400,000 phone calls and 70,000 email interactions every year with insurance carriers and insurance agents. To help improve call center quality, NCCI took…

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Use the 5V Approach to Increase Plant Efficiency

All over the world, industries are feeling a double pinch from the economic downturn and increased energy prices. Now is the time to introduce cost-saving measures – including increasing operational efficiency. To increase plant efficiency, organizations should focus both on broader as well as detailed factors. One way to manage the improvement process is by…

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Creating A Training Paradigm Shift

While training traditional software services personnel it becomes imperative to give an experiential feeling in the classroom. Using case studies and sharing success stories will help develop conviction in practitioners.

How to Calculate Process Sigma

How to Calculate Process Sigma Consider a power company for illustration purposes: A power company measures their performance in uptime of available power to their grid. Here is the five-step process to calculate your process sigma. Step 1: Define Your Opportunities An opportunity is the lowest defect noticeable by a customer. This definition, of course, is…

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Developing E-Learning the Six Sigma Way

Your e-learning development program may well be in trouble, and applying the Six Sigma methodology might be the solution. In this real-world Six Sigma – play-by-play – case study about e-learning development, you will learn from the Black Belt what tools were used throughout the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) phases of a project…

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Three Simple Questions: How to Focus Your VOC Research

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…

Implementing a Customer Satisfaction Metric

Organizations evaluate themselves by measuring customer satisfaction with their products or services. As organizations evolve, the measurement of customer satisfaction across the entire organization becomes imperative. The first step is for an organization to implement a metric for tracking customer satisfaction. To develop a metric, an organization should explore these questions: Who are its customers?…

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Service is the Key to Success

Why do people buy shoes from Nordstrom, when they can get a similar pair of similar quality for less money at other major department or clothing stores? Most stores carry a similarly large selection of shoes – large enough for most people to browse and make a selection. All stores have sales people, mirrors to…

Ron Santo, Baseball’s Hall and a Lesson in Desirability

Based on the desirability function, using batting average, home runs, runs batted in (RBIs), All Star Game appearances and Gold Glove awards all weighted equally, Ron Santo, a third baseman for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 to 1973, should be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. An understanding of the desirability function…

Voice of the Business, Customer, Process and Employee

Business could not have been better. Customers were reacting positively to the company’s new and enhanced service portfolio, the company entered the market without much competition and customer satisfaction was at an all-time high. Profitability continued to rise, and the company’s efficiency rate was impressive. But then things changed. New account numbers abruptly fell. Some…

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15 Criteria for Selecting a Viable DMAIC Project

As anyone involved in Six Sigma knows, selecting the right project is a critical component of project success. If practitioners do not put enough effort into selecting the right opportunity for improvement, a project can end in disaster, or create unnecessary work and complexity for the project team. Selecting projects with just a few obvious…

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Tapping Voice of the Lead User for Design for Six Sigma

At its core, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is concerned with the accurate translation of what the customer wants into measurable characteristics, and then putting these characteristics into functions and design elements. The idea behind DFSS is intuitive and simple. If done well, a company will end up with a product that has what the…

Design of Experiments/Conjoint Analysis in Marketing

The application of Six Sigma to marketing should be the most obvious use in the world. Where else does there exist such a direct connection between the wants and needs of the customer and the products or services a company offers? However, at first glance, there would seem to be very little hard reliable data…

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LSS Streamlines OR at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Process Improvement Drives Greater Efficiency and Higher Satisfaction Delays are common within the perioperative environment. Lengthy turnover times between surgical cases can impact surgeon satisfaction and timely access to services. At Louisiana’s Thibodaux Regional Medical Center (TRMC), surgeons expressed frustration with the length and variability of operating room (OR) turnover time (T0T). Maximizing efficiency in…

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Leverage Innovation and Six Sigma to Grow Revenue

Six Sigma practitioners capture the voice of customer (VOC) in the process of designing or improving a product or service; however, practitioners often compromise while implementing the VOC in the actual design, citing reasons such as cost, cycle time and design constraints. As a result of these compromises, products or services can lose competitiveness in…

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Aligning Call Center Agent Goals with Customer Desires

In the 1990s, the teller counter was the primary customer-facing area in the financial service industry, and so improvement efforts were leveraged in this arena. With increased improvements in technology and online banking utilization, however, process improvement efforts have shifted to internal areas. Yet companies must realize that even though customers are becoming more self-reliant…

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Case Study Shows Six Sigma Role in Financial Services

An international bank with 50 branches in Germany and approximately 300 employees decided in 2003 to adopt Six Sigma in all its business units in Europe. It then set out to use Six Sigma to implement one of its priority business strategies – significantly grow its car loan business in the next two years. The…

How to Avoid Deep-sixing a New Six Sigma Program

As he pushed out from Fairfield, Conn., USA, the king of CEOs left us all holding the Six Sigma bag. In it, a host of tools, techniques, potential and promise clank against one another. It is a nice collection, and we are pretty sure it works, but it is the old proverb that bothers us:…

Applying Six Sigma to Software Implementation Projects

Although the application of Six Sigma in software development is more frequently discussed, the methodology also can be applied to software implementation projects as well. Those familiar with software implementations know that they seldom go as planned. Delays are common, cost overruns are endemic and failures are frequent. Why is this so common? What can…

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Leverage ITIL and Six Sigma Together to Maximize Outcome

Information technology (IT) services are highly valued in today’s enterprise particularly those aligned with business needs. As IT departments transition from technology to service based management, more organizations are following the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. ITIL is a set of best practices intended to facilitate the delivery of high quality IT services. ITIL…

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Leveraging Six Sigma and the IT Infrastructure Library

“As technology moves more and more into the very fabric of our existence, the real-time existence of consumers and businesses and the economy, the reliability of systems will need to reach the level of dial-tone. Consequently, the techniques used to develop systems, the quality of these systems, and the demands on the performance of these…

Improving Help Desk Functions by Using Lean Six Sigma

Help desks often face a barrage of complaints when voice of the customer (VOC) data is collected. These typically include: “I had to describe the problem to more than one person before it was solved.” “I had to describe the problem to more than one person, and each time I was asked to do the…

Better Project Management Performance with Six Sigma

Every organization faces the daunting task of executing projects that meet or exceed the expectations of its customers. That makes project management a key component of most enterprises, regardless of the business sector. Yet project management is not always met with organization-wide satisfaction. One major reason is that many project management offices (PMOs) are replicated…

Roadmap for Integrating ITIL, CMMI and Lean Six Sigma

Several documented approaches are available for business and IT leaders to use when considering implementing the best practices of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), or the Software Engineering Institute’s capability maturity model integration (CMMI) or Lean Six Sigma as individual methodologies or frameworks. There also are some references that suggest how to use the…

Guidelines for Making Lean Six Sigma Work in Sales

For a number of years, businesses in a wide range of industries have been successfully implementing Lean and Six Sigma in manufacturing and engineering, and more recently in the transactional processes in finance, administration and customer service. The last business area to see this improvement methodology arrive was the sales department. But already it is…

Quality Function Deployment for Competitive Advantage

In today’s business environment, companies cannot just assume they know what customers want – they must know for sure. And once they know what customers want, businesses must then provide products and services to meet and exceed customers’ desires. Business leaders have struggled for years to meet this challenge. Having the ability to truly listen…

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How to Make Interbank Image Exchange a Reality

The future is knocking at the door of the U.S. banking industry. But how do banks get the future into their daily operations? More and more banks are using Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) to help them to take full advantage of such modern processes as electronic check presentment, thereby reducing expenses and increasing profits….

Taking Advantage of Computer-Based Analysis for DFSS

The goal in product design or business process engineering is to create products or processes that are insensitive to the sources of variation that inhibit their intended function. The design phase in the product development process is a crucial activity since this is when most downstream production and quality problems are locked-in. As a consequence,…