In the field of customer service and satisfaction, errors, waste and poor problem solving inevitably lead to customer dissatisfaction. It is therefore imperative that organizations implement training which will allow their teams to be more proficient in problem solving techniques and provide better, more efficient customer service. The three most popular and robust problem solving techniques and tools available are Motorola’s Six Sigma, Ford’s Global Eight Disciplines, and Ford’s/Toyota’s Lean Enterprise.
Motorola’s Six Sigma
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a tool that, when utilized, will significantly improve customer satisfaction by constantly reducing defects and variation in every aspect of the business. It has the effect of accelerating existing improvement processes, thus enabling an organization to obtain its goals of complete customer satisfaction.
What places Six Sigma apart from some of the other initiatives is that all improvements are driven by the voice of the customer (VOC). This voice is translated into a critical to quality (CTQ) characteristics. Six Sigma also allows an organization to compare and assess quality improvements from different types of products, processes or services. The measurement component is called the DPMO, Defects per Million Opportunities.
How does Six Sigma work?
The three strategies involved in Six Sigma are: Process Management, Process Design/Redesign, and Process Improvement. Process Management is an on-going cross-functional ownership and measurement of core support processes. Process Design/Redesign is the creation of a “new” process to achieve exponential improvement and/or meet the changing demands of customers, technology and competition. It can handle totally dysfunctional processes and reengineer them. It is also known as DFSS, Design for Six Sigma.
Process Improvement focuses on problem solving, aimed at eliminating the “vital few” root causes. The most common reference in this strategy refers to the DMAIC Model:
- Define - select customer’s Critical to Quality characteristics and performance
- Measure - create a measurement system and validate the system
- Analyze - identify the sources of variation from the performance objectives
- Improve - discover process relationships and establish new and improved procedures
- Control - sustain the gain by implementing process controls
Who is involved in Six Sigma?
All levels of the organization should be involved, starting with Green Belts, who assist in all projects, Black Belts, who head up the projects and train the Green Belts, and Master Black Belts, who teach and mentor the Black Belts. Other roles include Champions and Directors.
Ford’s Global Eight Disciplines
What is Global 8D?
The Global 8D process is an important element for team problem solving and for complementing the efforts of continuous improvement.
D0 – Prepare for the Ford Global 8D Process
Determines whether or not the internal or external customer needs to be protected from any adverse effects. Explains how to use the Global 8D application criteria to determine whether or not to use the Global 8D process to solve the problem. Details the assessing questions to use as a formative process check and a confirmation of readiness to continue to the next step.
D1 – Establish the Team
Details key points, including team membership, team roles, operating procedures, team system model, and team synergy.
D2 – Describe the Problem
Describes the internal/external problem by identifying “what is wrong with what”. Detailing the problem in quantifiable terms. Develops a Problem Statement and a Problem Description (what, where, when, how big).
D3 – Develop Interim Containment Action
Develops an interim containment action to protect the customer from the problem identified in the previous discipline. Distinguishes between the verification and the validation processes. Describes the Management (Deming) Cycle that constitutes an action plan.
D4 – Define and Verify Root Cause and Escape Point
Identifies the root cause(s) of the problem, and how the problem escaped to the customer. Explains the techniques of comparative analysis, identifying and testing theories to find root cause.
D5 – Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions for Root Cause and Escape Point
Examines the basic styles and steps in decision-making. Identifies the Global 8D process criteria for Permanent Corrective Actions. Useful tools and techniques overviewed include decision-making, risk analysis, and action planning.
D6 – Implement and Validate Permanent Corrective Actions
Covers the elements of planning and problem prevention, as well as the characteristics of successful implementation of the permanent corrective actions. Potential problem analysis is demonstrated. The Paynter Chart is introduced as a useful tool for monitoring ongoing validation of the Permanent Corrective Action.
D7 – Prevent Recurrence
Identifies improvement of the systems, policies, procedures and practices of the problem just studied. Demonstrates the value of also identifying other causes of the problem and actions that should be taken.
D8 – Recognize Team and Individual Contributions
Looks at the theory of recognition and the closure process and how to complete unfinished team business. Key concepts include recognition and completing unfinished team business.
Ford’s/Toyota’s Lean Enterprise*
What is Lean Enterprise?
Lean Enterprise involves the elimination of waste. Sources contributing to waste can come from methods, materials, machines, measurement or the actual personnel, to name a few. Minimizing waste from one or more of these sources optimizes the returns of the organization, in the form of better quality and increased productivity.
Lean Enterprise involves more than tightening the purse strings. The task becomes one of not disrupting the quality of the product, process or service. Only this way will a company be able to continue in this competitive day and age.
As a company strives toward becoming a lean manufacturer, the benefits soon become obvious. The organization is able to withstand economic as well as competitive pressures, without sacrificing quality and service. The bottom line will be satisfied customers and a profitable company.
Who is involved in Lean Enterprise?
Lean Enterprise should, like most quality initiatives, involve all areas of an organization. This will insure that everyone is working toward the goals of lean enterprise.
Fundamentals of Lean Enterprise
Lean Enterprise incorporates three elements: Visual Control, Visual Display, and 5 S (Sort, Stabilize, Shine, Standardize, Sustain). It also utilizes the techniques of Kaizan and error proofing (Poka Yoke).
* Note: The use of the term “Enterprise” does not imply that this quality tool is strictly meant for enterprise processes and/or companies. It can be applied to companies in all sectors of industry, including service organizations.
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