iSixSigma

Customer focus with LEAN

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Customer focus with LEAN

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #33886

    Don Darling
    Participant

    My company is a 30 years old and is in the factory built housing business. We have implemented lean about three years ago and have acheived excellent results. As the sales and marketing manager, I feel that we have a gap with our focus on our customers. I will agree that many of the changes have been positive, however I find myself still trying to convince many of my fellow workers to consider our customers. I feel like we need to work on the people side of our business, our core values, culture and clarify expectations for our employees. Can anyone comment or offer advise on making improvements?

    0
    #92874

    Matt M
    Participant

    Lean and Six Sigma should ultimately work in combination.
    Start with a QFD (or C&E matrix/CT matrix) to determine what your customer requires, let the Six Sigma methodology lead you after that as to what further tools to use.

    0
    #92878

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Don,
    What you are trying to accomplish is a thing called alignment. There is a good book called “The Power of Alignment.” It will help you understand the difference between horizontal and vetical alignment (you could be trying to driveΒ  a portion of your business to align with the wrong thing).
    Once you understand the “what” you need to develop the “why.” Write a burning platform that the Leadership team is willing to align with each other on. If you can’t get them aligned then you are pushing a rope.
    Once they are aligned develop a strategy to enroll the rest of the company as a team.
    Good luck.

    0
    #92889

    Ron
    Member

    Don,
    Β 
    You’ve hit on one of the classic flaws of Lean as a standalone improvementy philosophy. In the lean approach the customer is not the key focus the process flow is the key focus.
    You need to get the company turning towards the six sigma direction..not as a new venture but and addition to your existing program :lean Sigma” Six Sigma focuses on the customer #1. CTC critical to customer characteristics, VOC, Voice of the customer, on and on..
    Consider this a booster shot in your continuous improvement process.

    0
    #92891

    Mikel
    Member

    Ron,
    You don’t seem to have a problem with giving opinions without any real knowledge, do you?
    Step 1 of Lean is to define value as preceived by the customer. Step 2 is to define the flow of that value to the customer.
    Duh.

    0
    #92899

    Jonathon Andell
    Participant

    Any initiative to improve an organization (lean, six sigma, TQM, etc.) can be botched by focusing on internal issues and ignoring the customer. Done correctly, any of them can create a laser-like focus on meeting customer requirements. It sounds like Don needs counsel on realigning his management, more than he needs us taking shots at one another.

    0
    #92901

    PB
    Participant

    Hello Don,
    Congratulations on the success of Lean in your company. You have posed a good question. My take on this is that if you have used Lean approach and succeeded in creating a process that is value added to your organization, it has to be with the customer in mind. You probably answered some basic questions –
    1 – How can I provide product to my customer in quickest possible time? (Short lead times)
    2 – Where doesn’t the customer see value in my process? How can I improve it? OR How can I add further value to my process?
    3 – Does my customer see me as a ‘valued’ supplier?
    As you want to close the gap with the customers, the next step would be to get some feedback from the customers. What is the percieved image before and after Lean implementation? Does your customer see the Lean success at all? Can you involve your customer in Lean projects? Do you have significant savings such that you can pass some of that back to your customers (based strictly on customers working with you and going the distance to improve your value stream map)?
    How about creating a ‘new’ customer base that you create by selling the Lean success? How about inviting the customers to look at your plant? Create a display board where you can show ‘feedback’ from customer (tied in to your core values)Β how your Lean success met core requirements. Do you have a lot of complaints from your customers? Have they gone up since implementation of the Lean program? What are the customers saying? Can you attack these complaints through Six Sigma? (Process and Continual Improvement)
    Hope this gives you some additional things to think about.
    Good Luck.
    PB
    Β 
    Β 

    0
    #92903

    LT
    Participant

    It’s nice to see people passionate about their particular doctrine but there is no single best all purpose methodoly. There is no magic bean that solves everything in one package. A combination of Lean and Six Sigma is a powerful combination assuming you have the complete buy in and support of the Leadership Team. One possibility for alignment is using Hoshin Planning. This sets 3 to 5 year strategic objectives and everything and everyone underneath supports this by annual objectives. This is a pretty good methodology to use.
    It’s been my experience that Operations usually buys into Lean or Six Sigma early on as it’s easier to do a floor project and sell the concept. It is also my experience that Sales and Marketing are the last to get the training which is unfortunate in that as stated by others in this thread,Β continuous improvement methodology must start with the customer in mind. I hope this is not the case in your company. One other thing I have noted, if there are gaps it almost always can be attributed to the deployment process on the part of the Leadership Team.
    The voice of the customer is criticalΒ in Lean Philosophy as part of the Toyoda Production system model and the PDS blueprint. (Product Delivery System). I hope you can convince your Leadership Team that this should be your first or second CTQ.
    I’ll refrain from anything that resembles advertising here but there are a number of sources that can asist you if you use a search engine on Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma and weed out the people that are selling something and focus on the free sites.
    Β 
    With Lean the 3 pillars of your business strategies should be :
    Customer Value
    Product delivery System
    People
    The culture change will happen incrementally with education and involvement and will not be overnight. Resistance to change is a powerful adversary. Your leaps will come from management driving projects. Sustainment will come from incremental improvement and culture change.
    I agree strongly with a couple of the other postings.Β  (shots aside)
    I would urge you to get your group (Sales and Marketing) well educated in both Lean & Six Sigma since you are the point of contact with the customer and make your voice heard to the leadership team with quantified data. Opinion is hard to defend. Good Data is defendable.
    Best of luck in your quest,
    regards,
    LT

    0
    #92907

    DaveG
    Participant

    Posted on a former colleague’s cube wall:

    Customers can’t tell us how to run our business, theyΒ just make it possible for us to have one.

    0
    #92911

    SSS
    Member

    Don,
    In order to get your people interested in your customers, my recommendation to you wouldΒ be to quantify the financial impact associated with the lack of VOC approach or with projects that do not enhance the Customer Experience. Unfortunately, in order to do so, you need to identify the CTC’s and work with your Finance department to validate the COPQ on each CTC.
    A more difficult way to do so is to convince your people that: revenue is driven by customers; customer loyalty, retention and satisfaction is driven byΒ excellent products & services;Β excellent products & services are driven byΒ processes withoutΒ defects, processes without defects are driven byΒ employees and machines.Β 
    My last piece of advise is to combine Lean with Six Sigma.

    0
    #92946

    Mikel
    Member

    LT,
    Great post, much better than I can do even on my very best day.
    I would add the following:
    With Six Sigma the 3 pillars of your business strategies should be :

    Customer Value

    Product delivery System

    People
    The only differences between Lean and Six Sigma are whether you are taking a horizontal or vertical slice of your business and some of the tools (but many of the tools are common)

    0
    #92949

    Ron
    Member

    http://www.lean.org
    Β 
    You’ll find a very good article on the seven skills people need to be successful in these efforts.

    0
Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.