How do you seperate like projects?

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    I have several projects that have been proposed by the company sponsors. The problem that I have is that they all seem to be looking at the same dollar for potential savings – I’ll explain….
    You are building a house for a customer and you want to reduce the number of customer complaints by 20%. The first thing you do is that you write into the contract what a defect is so that you are on a level playing field. You then take this accepted document and create a pre-customer inspection (or several inspections) to catch these problems and fix them before the customer does their inspection. You also put in place a mechanism to capture repeatable problems and analyze the root cause for elimination of reoccurrences of repeatable issues.
    This is three of my projects!

    Reduce customer complaints by 20%
    Pre-customer Inspection
    Corrective Action System
    And I just know that I am going to get asked to start another project that asks me to reduce the number of problems that we have with Plumbing or HVAC.
    How do you do this without constantly double dipping?


    Mike Nellis

    Hello Coffee,
    You have only one DMAIC project.  You’ve Defined your project to reduce customer complaints 20%.  You plan to Measure and identify the customer complaints with a “customer inspection”.  The “corrective action system” will help you Analyze the complaints and fix them.  You will Improve (reduce) the complaints only by creating some sort of process or checklist that must be reviewed by the builders/contracters before they release the house to the customer.  This process or checklist must try to prevent the customer from being dissatisfied in the first place.  If after all of this you manage to reduce customer complaints (fix problems the contractors make), you must now Control the customer complaints by keeping this improvement process installed.  If your fix doesn’t last, you haven’t succeded.  So, dollars saved should be applied to this effort as a whole and not as individual projects.
    Hope this helps…



    Mike is right. Here’s a hint: a true six sigma project should have a title that starts with a verb, like “reduce” (defects, variation), “improve” (quality, profitability,…) or “optimize” (processes).
    Your two other “projects” look like possible steps in the improvement plan of your true project. Do as Mike suggests and walk through the phases. Step by step. And you will see how everything comes together in the end: mirvana…


    Randy Harmer

    I believe from your statements that you have one project which is of the inspection process . The pre-inspection process also has a need for CAR’s reports which are married to your Corrective action report. If you are trying to get the process quantified you are allways measuring the end product which is defined in defect as customer complaint.The data which you utilize in the process improvement of DMAIC is that of the CAR’s report and the corrective action report to show P value of the improved process.INSPECTION PROCESS is what I feel this process should be not just the different varrables of the CTQ’s and customer communications.



    Mike is right on. Another thing you could do is an MBF (Management By Fact). An MBF just looks at a problem from a little higher up. You start with your problem statement (Customer complaints are too high) Then you do some basic research and find for example what are the broad categories that customers complain about (HVAC, plumbing, roofing, carpet, etc) Then pareto those and kick off individual greenbelts to reduce each of those sources of complaints.
    Once you break it down by category, it is easier to determine how much return you’d get by fixing each source of complaint. For example, your MBF problem statement would say that the large number of customer complaints costs the company $1,000 (cheap homes). Your pareto further breaks that down in order of cost: Roofing problems account for $400 (of that $1,000), Plumbing accounts for $250, Carpeting $200, etc. Then you do projects starting with the ones that return the highest benefit first and move down the line.
    That’s how you make sure that you aren’t all trying to claim the same save. Since you categorized the broad sources of poor quality and expense, each project you do has a max benefit already defined in the MBF. That way you don’t have five projects all claiming to have saved the same $1,000 making it look like you saved $5,000. The MBF then becomes your progress tracking document to help see the results of each project.

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