DFSS in Contracts Management

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    I would like to have any hints about possible areas to track and study DFSS application in the field of Contracts Management. Is this even possible in firs place?
    I read that DFSS is applicable in all areas of design including service processes and that it s not exclusively beneficial for manufacturing processes.
    By Contracts Management I actually mean the process, starting from
     -selecting potential suppliers (service providers), going through
    -bids evaluation and contract award, then
    – contract management and day to day problem solving with contractors, ending with
    – contractor appraisal at the end of contract
    My somehow new and simple encounter with DFSS doesn’t enable me to visualize whether DFSS could be of use and significance in this domain.



    The first three steps of DFSS are certainly applicable with no change.  Those are commonly called Identify , Define and Develop and use tools such as the House of Quality, QFD, etc…  No matter how you consider optimizing the selection or verifying the solution, the DFSS process is correct for this opportunity. 



    My background is Services oriented and we have used DFSS to analyze current processes and develop new ones to meet the organization and customer goals. Contract Management as described in your post is a form of a process, and as such you can use form of DFSS to track and analyze and improve your current processes. It all starts with identification and prioritization of : Business Goals, Customers (internal and external), and “Needs of the customer” to meet the primary business goals, VOC – Voice of the Customer(internal and external). In your case; what is the primary goal you are trying to achieve when selecting suppliers; who are your internal customers for these suppliers and what are there needs that must be met in order to achieve the “Primary business goal”. Also who are your external customer, and how the supplier selection process impacts their primary needs and so on. Understanding that will help you design/create new processes (if none exist) to achieve your organization goals. I Hope that helps.  



    RF makes some good points, but let me expand a bit.
    There are a few flavors of DFSS, although at the end of the day they are pretty much the same.  IDOV, DMEDI and DMADV differ really only in what the proponents want to advertise.  Let’s talk about DMADV, since getting started, this is perhaps the easiest.
    The first two phases, Define and Measure, are really no different in goal to the same phases in DMAIC.  I like to think of Define as “Let’s all agree on what we are trying to accomplish”, and Measure as “Let’s make sure we know what success smells like”.  Sure, since DFSS is typically aimed at a much larger return than DMAIC, the intensity with which we go after these two phases is significantly greater, the overall objective is no different.
    You mention a number of the various steps in your process, but nowhere do you talk about what you are trying to accomplish from a high level.  Think about the overall objective of contract management in your organization.  It is going to be different than it is in some other organization.
    Once you have a clear picture, then understand what is good and bad about the current process.  This takes input from all levels of management, and maybe a lot more.  While in DMAIC, this may involve nothing more than discussions with the process owner, in DFSS this can be a pretty big deal, depending on the size of the benefit we hope to achieve.  Often it will take some research, perhaps benchmarking other companies, perhaps focus groups with our customers.  We want to really understand what we might accomplish.
    Once we think we have a goal, we now need to get all levels of management behind us. DFSS projects generally take a lot of effort, and expect to return huge gains.  If the function is expected to be outsourced in a few years, then perhaps understanding the process is more important than streamlining it.
    At the end of Define, you want to have a clear picture of your objective, and agreement on what you are trying to accomplish.
    Measure is similar; you want validation that you can tell whether you have accomplished what you set out to do, and like Define, it tends to involve a lot more intensity and interaction with customers than the corresponding DMAIC step.  However, coming out of Measure you will have a very clear picture of where you want to go (or IF you want to go there).
    So yes, DFSS is very applicable to designing transactional processes, maybe more applicable than it is to designing manufacturing processes.


    Jonathon Andell

    You have two primary options here. Each has benefits and challenges.One option is to use DFSS to improve and/or redisgn the PROCESS aspects.The other option is to use DFSS to improve the execution of the decision-making each time the process is executed.There is some overlap, of course, but the short answer is that yes there are ways to apply DFSS.



    Sara,The answer is definitely “yes”. I actually coached using Lean DFSS in contracts management for one of the major government IT contracting firms in Chantilly, VA some years ago.Two-pronged approach: You can 1) “sprinkle” many of the Lean DFSS paradigms / tools into the existing contracting process (examples: FMEA, Decision Matrixes, QFD, etc.) and/or 2)acutally use the Lean DFSS steps themselves applied to a specific situation.



    I’m also in contracts management. Within the IT industry (networks). 
    Does anybody have an yideas for Green Belt projects relevant to IT conracts management?

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