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    Lean Six Sigma and the Voice of the Customer

    Lean Six Sigma defines an approach and principles for the analysis of operational performance in three fundamental areas.

    1. Process Management

    The objective of Lean Six Sigma is to develop effective and reliable processes, capable of responding to your clients on time, at desired quality levels, and at the lowest possible cost. Analysis of the voice of the customer is the starting point for every Lean Six Sigma project.

    Understand the demands/wants/needs of your clients:

    • Identify client expectations in matters of Quality, Time, and Cost.
    • Identify Critical to Quality characteristics (CTQ).

    Depending upon the process to be analyzed and type of demand, the depth of analysis varies from the simple inspection of expectations in the eyes of your internal clients, to the more complex analysis of the relationship between client expectations and specific process characteristics (Quality Function Deployment QFD).

    The key is to examine the process from end-to- end starting with analysis of the Voice of the Customer (VOC) data (using Lean techniques such as process mapping and value stream management) in order to eliminate waste, synchronize flows, standardize activities, and smooth out volumes and variety so you can better respond to variability.

    2. Performance Management

    Simultaneously, is the need for the development of a performance management system that allows for the continual communication of objectives and monitors progress. The Performance Management system includes performance indicators adapted to each level of the organization as well as structured process for managing performance through cascading of your objectives, plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycles, regular meetings, establishment of measures, and monitoring of performance indicators.

    3. Performance Development

    An efficient organization relies on responsible teams which function in accordance with process standards. Therefore, new methods of working, based on the development of people, natural and project teams and empowerment throughout the workforce, are key. This comes through the development of efficient leadership processes concentrated on developing individual and team expertise to support the change process.

    Every organization is measured in accordance with how well it is able to execute — from cross functional management of constraints and information/material flows to good process management to the development of its people. The Lean Six Sigma approach enables excellence in each of these areas.

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