August 16, 2015

Six Sigma Define: 1Define Problem & 2 Identify Customer

1 Define Problem Problem Statement Purpose Element 2: Identify Customer methods to collect information and data Surveys Focus groups Interviews Complaint systems Market research Shopper programs The traditional methods of obtaining customer information could also include: Targeted and multi-level surveys Targeted and multi-level interviews Customer scorecards Data warehousing Data mining Customer audits Supplier audits Quality function deployment

1 Define Problem

Problem Statements

Purpose

–To clearly define and quantify the problem

–To identify the potential metrics and measurement sources

–To identify the negative attributes, the current performance and their relationship to the customer

Elements

–A specific statement of the problem being addressed

–Descriptive statements outlining locations and/or occurrences of problematic events

–Initial “scope of the problem”statement

Delivery Timing Example

•First Pass–Dealers are dissatisfied with the amount of time it takes when a vehicle is ordered until it arrives at the dealership.

•First Revision–Dealers are dissatisfied when it takes over 45 days from when a vehicle is ordered until it arrives at the dealership.

•Second Revision–Dealers are dissatisfied when it takes over 45 days from when a popular vehicle (such as an Explorer) is ordered until it arrives at the dealership.

———————

2: Identify Customer

Definition of a Customer : In simple terms, a customer is the recipient of a product or service.

Identify Customers 

Customers are recipients of products and/or services. Two types of customers are there:

External -> Product/Service

Internal -> Product/Service

Example –Customers Clothing Manufacturer Customers

External –Retail Shops –Wholesale Outlets –Retail Shoppers –Internet Buyers

Internal: Assemblers , Logistics , Accounting , Distributors

Identify customer

External customers
•End users: Those who purchase a product or service for their ownuse
•Intermediate customers: Those who purchase the product or service and then resell, repackage, modify or assembly the product for sale to the end user.
•Impacted parties: Those who did not purchase or use the product, but would be impacted by it.
Internal Customers
•Employees
•Down stream users (example, engineering is the down stream users of R&D, plant might be the down stream users of engineering department, many department may be the down stream users of personnel department)

Defining the Customer

At times, the customer of the project may not be as evident as initially thought. The receiver of the next operation, an internal department, could be thought of as a customer.

The external customer of a processcould be the purchaser. But yet, if the purchaser is a distributor, then they may not really be the true customer. Pande, et al. points out that the primary customer of the process will or should have the highest impact on the process.

The primary customer is of utmost importance to the process. The sorting out of the primary customer may take some discussion on the team’s part.

The question of “Who is the customer?” may bring out discoveries of “which customers make us money?”.

That is, are there certain customers that make up the bulk of company revenues? Are there a small proportion of customers that simulate the Pareto law? The case being that 80% of the revenues come from 20% of the customers, or that 80% of net profit comes from 20% of the customers.

See the discussion of Pareto analysis later in this Section. Pande, et al. points out that a flaw with customer data would be “getting information from the wrong customers.” Companies are eager to sell products.

Products are initially designed for a particular market segment, yet anyone canusually obtain the product. Those products sold to that “un designed” market segment will not receive the best product for their needs.

Therefore, customer satisfaction surveys may result in survey information that reflect the thoughts of a market segment for which the product was not intended. The largest portion of unhappy customers may come from the unintended end user. The company will then react to the bad data. Fingers will be pointed in the wrongdirections. Even worse, the organization may fix the wrong problem.

Who are your customers?

They can constitute:

Current, happy customers

Current, unhappy customers

Lost customers

Competitor’s customers .Prospective customers

Eckes identifies the following methods to collect information and data from customers or would-be customers:

Surveys

Focus groups

Interviews

Complaint systems

Market research

Shopper programs

The traditional methods of obtaining customer information could also include:

Targeted and multi-level surveys

Targeted and multi-level interviews

Customer scorecards

Data warehousing

Data mining

Customer audits

Supplier audits

Quality function deployment

The information gathered should allow the organization to identify customer requirements and to spot upcoming trends. The trends will be new ways for the company to gain or retain customers. Customers seem to be more satisfied if they receive feedback than if they do not receive feedback.