Delighting the customer through quality and speed.
This article will discuss how you can delight your customers through the quality and speed of your manufacturing and other processes.
Customers perceive value in your processes and products in a very particular way.If they look at your process, and they see a lot of time that is being wasted on external things that do not add value to your process-steps like looking for equipment, taking care of avoidable problems that are caused by defects in your progress, things like that.Speed is an important value component for your customers.They want to receive their product as quickly as possible-they don't want any time wasted.The faster you can complete your processes, the more valuable they are to a customer, and thus the more valuable they are to you.Besides, you will actually be saving money by eliminating unnecessary steps and parts of your process, since you won't be spending money on that time spent and also on the effort necessary to complete those extraneous tasks.
Another element that will add value to a process in the eyes of a customer, and that will delight them, is by adding quality to your process and your product.Quality is ensured by eliminating or reducing the amount of variations in your process.The less variation there is in your process, the more easily you will be able to continuously ensure a high level of quality in your process and your products.The more variation that is present in your processes, the more hit and miss the quality of your products and processes will be.This decreases the value of your processes both in the eyes of the customer and also in your eyes.
So how can reduce variation in your process in an effort to improve the quality of the processes and delight your customer?How can you increase the speed of your processes in order to increase the value of the process for the customer?There are a lot of different tools, techniques, and methodologies that have been developed to ensure both improved quality and speed of your processes in order to delight your customers.Two of the most popular and the most publicized over the last couple decades are six sigma and lean manufacturing.Both of these emphasize measuring the value of your processes based on customer perception and reaction to the processes and their products.They also emphasize an increase in value based on eliminating waste and also reducing variation.
Lean manufacturing specifically zones in on eliminating waste in your processes.When you undertake lean manufacturing approaches, you analyze your processes in order to zone in on where unnecessary steps are being taken and time and effort is being wasted.For example, do you always have a lot of inventory hanging around?Is equipment put back in the same place every time so that time isn't spent looking for lost equipment?Is there a specific and continuously reinforced and monitor process for each step of the process so that nobody ever gets confused or makes mistakes?All of these things increase the time that it takes to complete a process, decreasing the process' value.They also decrease the quality of the process, since because there isn't a consistently followed process, variation is increased.
Six sigma zones in on the variation and the defects in your processes.Six sigma statistically and mathematically measures and helps you analyze the variations in your processes, variations which decrease the quality of your process and your product because you are not able to accurately predict how the process will turn out and how many defects will appear in the process and the end product.Obviously, a high level of variation and thus a high level of defects, or potential for defects, is not going to delight your customer.Six sigma is a continual process, which constantly reevaluates your processes in an effort to improve quality by reducing variation and carefully monitoring and controlling your processes.By zoning in on problem spots: waste and variation, lean manufacturing and six sigma, or combined, lean six sigma, can help you increase your quality and speed and delight your customer.