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Invoicing Project

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Invoicing Project

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  SiggySig 9 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #53225

    Scott
    Member

    I am a new Black Belt and my first project deals with inconsistencies in our invoicing process. I work for a machinery company that deals with heavy equipment. We have four stores that have a Lube Department that perform complete oil maintenance on customer machines. The problem is each store bills certain things such as travel time, competitive allowance, non-productive time, etc to different accounts. This is making it hard to look at a P/L Statement and determine best practices and room for improvement. We are looking to create a standard process that we will implement for each store. I am struggling on finding risks involved with creating a standard procedure. Also, what kind of data would be best to look at in the Measure phase? Thanks for looking.

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    #189084

    Larry
    Participant

    I went through the statement you listed as your question and it seemed it covered several things that you need to go back and look at and prioritize within the scope of your project. You need to be as specific as possible in your project scope. If there are several issues you need to cover, a good idea is to split them into several projects.
    As for your specific case (invoicing services), I would go back to the company’s manuals to investigate how the process was set up in the first place and why (that may uncover some of the risks that you mentioned). You would also need to look at it from a customer’s prespective (apparently the finance department who are suffering from the less than meaningful P/Ls). What does the customer want (VOC)? what needs to be maintained in the process (VOP)? These in return translate to CTQ and CTP measures.
    Once you redraft your problem statement to accurately and properly address the above, you will be better able to get a feel of what you need to measure in the measure phase. What you measure depends highly on what you want to achieve. I advise that while you “redesign” your process that you keep an eye on its turn around time and cost as well as its impact on the company’s customers (the machinery owners/lessees).
    Good luck!
    Larry, MBB

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    #189086

    3J
    Participant

    Rick,
    You said you wanted to create an uniform process. The question I have for you creating the uniform process does what? Increases customer statisfaction, increases revenue? Reduce NVA activities and thus time?
    What is your project Y. It seems to me that you have arrived at a solution, and it may be part of what you need to do but from my quick read you have not told me at least what your project Y is. If you can answer that clearly what you need to measure will also become apparent. The point I am making is that you have described a solution to me, standardized process, not the problem. You and your project sponsor need to write a problem statement using the rules of writing a good project statement, one of those rules is not to prescribe a solution.
    If standardizing your process is critical you can think of that as a quick improvement, but I would encourage you to use appropriate tools in the analyze phase to determine what you need to improve. Brainstorming, fishbone, process mapping, C&E, perhaps something statistical, etc, etc.
    You mentioned evaluating risk of change, use an FMEA or another approriate risk analysis tool …….
    If this is your first project (or your 100th) stick to the methodology, the power of 6S or LSS is not in the tools individually, but in the methodology.
    BTW – Where is your MBB support?
    My 2 cents.
    Regards,

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    #189095

    SiggySig
    Member

    If you aren’t absolutely certain about what the problem is that you’re trying to solve, before you get going, you will get stuck again and again as you move through the project. Trust me, I’ve lived this in some of my own projects, and have seen others fall prey to the same problem.You mentioned a few things in your write up, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to concisely convey the pain of the problem, and why someone in leadership would care that you’re working on it. Then see if you even have a way to measure the problem and impact of the problem. And by the way, whenever a GB/BB comes to me stating that “Lack of standard process” is the problem they’re trying to solve, I tell them to try again. Tell me what pain the lack of standard process is causing, and there’s the real problem you need to solve. Good luck.

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    #189167

    Scott
    Member

    Thanks to all of you for the responses. The pain here that my sponsor has brought to me is the fact that the inconsistencies in our Work Order invoicing practices makes comparisons across all stores difficult and limits our ability to identify best practices and improvement opportunities. I am talking with my MBB today to discuss how to get the scope of this project in line so that we are measuring important data to help with this pain. For example things such as travel time, mileage charges, and other charges to the customer are getting written off in order to secure the sale. These items are getting written off into different accounts depending on the store. Some stores are writting off to “Competitive Allowance” and others are not. This is making it difficult to compare store to store if the same write-off is getting charged to different accounts. Hopefully this is making sense, I feel like I am rambling. Hopefully I will find some more direction today when I meet with my MBB.

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    #189168

    Mikel
    Member

    Siggy,This is LEAN SS. Standard Process is the going in position, not
    something that has to be justified by the pain.It’s the right thing to do and if BB’s and MBB’s knew they were
    fixing systems, not individual problems, we could take 90% of the
    problem projects off the table.The original poster knows what the right thing to do is already, but
    will spend the next several months dancing around it instead.

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    #189170

    SiggySig
    Member

    Perhaps my opinon (stated on my experience) is a reflection on the limits of the places I’ve worked Lean SS – we continually have problems with management buy-in and sponsorship of change, and they tend to focus on pain more than anything. Also, our belts (myself included) are often responsible to find our own projects. So “lack of process” is often cited as a problem – I guess I try to focus on the actual output and results of a “lack of process” to build the business case.
    Not sure if this is relevant, but I work in a very long cycle, industrial project/product-based environment, with a lot of variation from project to project. So we try to standardize everything that we can, fighting pushback all the while from project managers who have their own way of getting the job done.
    What would you do differently in my shoes? Seriously – I take this as an opportunity to learn/get better at what I’m doing.
    Cheers…
     

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    #189180

    Mikel
    Member

    Siggy,Thank you for the considered response.Neither Lean or Six Sigma work well without buy-in. The
    practitioner is forced to struggle to make gains. So ideas like
    Standard Work are resisted.

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    #189192

    SiggySig
    Member

    Stan, At the risk of hijacking the thread, what do you find resonates when making the case to implement standard work in human-driven, “transactional” environments? In our project management organization, the QMS/ISO procedures are often how standard work gets implemented, with the unfortunate side effect that the documents are constructed more to pass an audit than actually provide the level of detail that someone often needs to correctly execute a process.Unfortunately, I work at GE where the MBBs we have generally have no prior expertise in LSS and hence are of little help when it comes to sorting these things out. Ironic…

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