Identify all customers (both internal and external) and justify how this problem is linked to customer satisfaction. Measure phase – This phase involves trying to collect data to evaluate the current performance level of the process, and provide information for analysis and improvement phases (Yang and II-Haiku, 2009:37). Antonym (2006:240) explains that the following items should be considered during the measurement phase of the Six Sigma methodology: Determine the current performance of the service process (process yield, DEMO, short-term and long-term capability).
Decide what to measure (critical-to-quality characteristic – ACT), and how to measure. Establish a simple measurement system study (if applicable). Determine how well the process is performing compared to others through benchmarking exercise. Identify the strengths and weaknesses and determine the gaps for improvement. Analysis phase -? Many authors consider this phase as the most crucial because more often, people seem to omit it and jump straight to improvement phase (Cakes, 2003:42-43).
In this phase, data is analyzed in order to discover causes of the problem, and to understand how to improve the process (Yang and II-Haiku, 2009:38). The following salient points (Antonym, 2006:240) must be looked at during this phase: Uncover the root causes of defects in processes. Understand the root causes of variability which lead to defects and priorities them for further investigation. Understand the nature of data and the distribution or patterns of data. Determine the key service process variables that may be linked to defects.
Financially quantify the improvement opportunity (I. E. Estimate of potential financial benefits). Improvement phase -? This phase involves generating and selecting solutions for implementation of doing things better, cheaper or faster and thereafter calculating the new sigma level (Cakes, 2003:61 The improvement phase (Antonym, 2006:240) encompasses the following issues: Develop potential solutions to fix the problems and prevent them from recurring. Evaluate the impact of each potential solution using a criteria-decision matrix.
Solutions hat have a high impact on customer satisfaction and bottom-line savings to the organization need to be examined to determine how much time, effort and capital will need to be expended for implementation. Assess risks associated with potential solutions. Validate improvement (I. E. Reduce defect rate or improve sigma quality level of the process) by pilot studies. Re-evaluate the impact of chosen potential solution. Control phase -? The purpose of this stage is to hold on to the improvement achieved from the improvement phase. Changes made in the improvement phase need to be documented (Yang and El-Haiku, 2009:38).
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