Friday, July 30, 2010

Jumpstart your quality program!

As I mentioned in my June blog, measurement is critical to the DMAIC process. But without good data, we’ll struggle to locate and quantify improvement opportunities in the business. A simple way to jumpstart your quality program is to get managers thinking about VOC and quality metrics.

The following instructions guide the effort of gathering customer input, identifying CTQs, and then translating those into measurable quality objectives. Get buy-in from the top, and then kindly ask your managers to do the following:

State the purpose of your department or function
In 2-3 sentences, state the purpose of your department or function. Consider these questions: Why do you exist? What value do you create? What is your mission?

List your key processes and outputs
List and rank your processes, indicating the % of time spent on each. Also list the outputs that your processes produce (tangible deliverables such as final goods or services, work products, support, etc.)

Identify and classify your customers
List those that directly receive, consume, or experience your goods and services. Classify customers as internal or external, and describe the frequency, nature, and impact of your interaction. Assign a percentage weight to each customer.

Gather customer feedback (VOC)
Use an iterative combination of historical data, research, interviews, focus groups, and/or surveys to find out how your customers define quality. This is simpler than most people think. Focus on your top ranking customers, and go talk to them!

Translate feedback into CTQs (critical to quality)
Document the measurable standards that must be met in order to satisfy the customer. Using the Kano model, classify each CTQ as a basic need, explicit requirement, or as a delighter. Sort your list and use the highest ranking ones as the basis for your key metrics.

Establish quality objectives and metrics
Develop your goals and metrics based on everything you know about the customer, your process outputs, and the CTQs. Goals should directly relate to customer satisfaction, process capability, product conformance, and overall quality. Then specify the actual metrics, measurement methods, and target values for each objective.

At the end of this effort, you’ll have an invaluable set of customer-defined metrics that can serve as the foundation for your quality program.

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