Blog author

Clayton Taylor, MBA, is a Management Research Analyst, Pr. and Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt working in the Office of the Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer at Arizona State University. He currently consults with nine diverse Business and Finance operational areas to lower costs, improve operational efficiency and provide the highest quality customer experience to internal and external customers. Mr. Taylor can be reached at clayton.taylor@asu.edu.

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The Cost Of Poor Quality - Little Things Add Up

When we look at making improvements to our services, one thing that should be on the top of our lists is finding ways to provide world-class service at the lowest possible cost.  As it becomes more difficult to get funding from various sources (such as state funding), how we use the resources we have becomes more and more critical.

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Hidden Processes

Early on, when you begin looking at a process that you want to improve, it is a good idea to spend time mapping it out with a flowchart.  The map creates a visual representation of the process that can be used to communicate what steps are involved, where decisions are made and how work flows through it.  This map is a very valuable tool when working with project teams who need to have a common understanding of the process in order to work together and make improvements.

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Solving Problems By Asking Why?

Like many of you, the units in our organization have received feedback from the annual student survey conducted as part of the Service Excellence Initiative, and they are moving to make improvements. One thing I have noticed over the years, here at ASU and in companies I have worked for in the past, is that when people receive feedback they often take it at face value and don’t spend much time trying to understand it any further.

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Categorizing Service Features Using The Kano Model

When you provide a product or service to a customer, they receive benefits from the variety of features that make up the specific product or service.  Each feature varies in importance to the customer and affects their overall satisfaction level.  When looking at ways to improve the products or services you provide, it is a good idea to develop an understanding of which features form the foundation of the service, which can be adjusted to give the customers additional value, and where opportunities can be found to impress the customer. 

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Benefits Of Continuous Improvement

Note: This blog primarily refers to providing customers with services; however, this concept applies to providing customers with both products and services.

One of the slides I use to teach Continuous Improvement (CI) concepts shows a clip-art person holding a sign with a tongue-in-cheek list of the things that customers want when it comes to an organization providing them with services and products. The list says:

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The Five Fundamental Principles Of Six Sigma: Part 3

In this blog, I will wrap up the overview of the five fundamental principles of Six Sigma, by looking at measuring what we value. As a quick reminder, the five principles outlined by Six Sigma founder Dr. Mikel Harry are:

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The Five Fundamental Principles Of Six Sigma: Part 2

This blog continues the overview of the five fundamental principles of Six Sigma.  The principles outlined by Six Sigma founder Dr. Mikel Harry are:

  • We don’t know what we don’t know
  • We can’t do what we don’t know
  • We won’t know until we measure
  • We won’t measure what we don’t value
  • We don’t value what we don’t measure

We Can't Do What We Don’t Know

Knowledge is everything.

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The Five Fundamental Principles Of Six Sigma: Part 1

Hearing that your customers are not happy, or looking at your services and trying to figure out how to make them better can be a daunting assignment.  However, by stepping through some fundamental principles of Six Sigma, the path to identifying opportunities for improvement and what needs to be done to make those improvements, becomes much easier.  One of the founders of Six Sigma, Dr. Mikel Harry, outlined the following principles:  

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The Customer Is Not Always Right

Note:  This blog primarily refers to providing customers with services; however, this concept applies to providing customers with both products and services. 

If you have been in any service industry for any length of time, I am sure that you have heard someone make the statement, “The customer is always right.”  A quick web search will bring up numerous stories where organizations have gone to extreme lengths to satisfy a customer’s needs or whims.  You will probably find dozens about Nordstrom alone because the company has a legendary reputation for going far above and beyond for their customers. 

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How Voice Of Customer Data Is Being Used: Part 2

In part one of this blog, I started discussing an example of how voice of customer (VOC) feedback is being used by Parking and Transit Services to identify areas of opportunity and make improvements.   The team began by using survey feedback to identify factors that customers said are critical to providing quality services.  With the list of critical to quality (CTQ) factors created, the team now needed to use another tool to prioritize their projects based on the impact that the projects would have on the customers’ CTQs.  To do this, the PTS team used a modified cause and effects matrix.

 

What Is A Cause And Effect Matrix?

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