Your business needs

Customers require products and services with certain specifications to suit their needs. The ability to meet all those requirements is called product or service quality. It always starts by asking your customers what constitutes added value for them, and what they are actually willing to pay. We call these value-added customer requirements CTQ´s -Critical To Quality-. Once the CTQ´s are fully understood, they are translated into measurable product characteristics, and tolerances are set for each of them. If you do not have such an outside view of what your customers actually demand from your organisation, then there is a gap between what you offer and what they demand — and consequently, wasted business opportunities.

Sometimes this translation is performed properly, but the problem lies in the amount of defects generated, resulting in higher CONQ´s -Cost Of No Quality-. A well-structured program aimed at discovering cause-and-effect relationships, or root cause analysis, is needed in this case.

Our answer

Years ago, when working for a well-known multinational company, we spent longer than 3 months discussing with a customer in China the defect level of our, by then, first shipment. Whereas that level was below 0.2% for us, they claimed a ridiculous 15%. After that shipment was sent back and forth a couple of times for proper re-measuring, we made no progress in solving that discrepancy. We finally stopped assuming what our customer was measuring and decided to actually ask what they were measuring. It turned out that we were only measuring technical product aspects, whereas they were measuring product appearance, i.e., if the product had scratches on the surface. We very rapidly came to a solution and solved the issue. Had we asked before, we could have saved a lot of money and precious time.

The lesson we learnt is always “listen to your customer” and then “measure your process the way your customer does”. Our Outside-In and wing-to-wing approaches help you in aligning your product specifications with your customers’ needs. Six Sigma DMAIC offers a rational approach to enhance your product capability to meet your customer-driven specs.