Author Archive

Why FMEA (Failure, Modes, Effects, Analysis)?

October 1, 2010 1 comment

What is FMEA?

Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service.

Failures are any errors or defects, especially ones that affect the customer, and can be potential or actual.

Failures are prioritized according to how serious their consequences are, how frequently they occur and how easily they can be detected. The purpose of the FMEA is to take actions to eliminate or reduce failures, starting with the highest-priority ones.

When should you use FMEA?

  • When a process, product or service is being designed or redesigned.
  • When improvement goals are planned for an existing process, product or service.
  • When an existing process, product or service is being applied in a new way.
  • When analyzing failures of an existing process, product or service.

Why Use FMEA?

  • Failures of any kind are not tolerated in today’s global economy.
  • One must strive for the elimination or extreme reduction of any type of failure in products and/or services.
  • FMEA is a versatile tool that uses a logical methodology to reduce or eliminate failures or errors.
  • FMEA assists in managing risks by identifying the risks involved when failures occur and its effects.

FMEA for Customer Service

  • Service FMEAs investigate services before they reach the customer.
  • Focus is on failure modes (tasks, errors, mistakes) caused by system or process deficiencies before the first service.For
  • For healthcare, use the Service FMEAs

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GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP) Model Overview

September 3, 2010 2 comments

GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP) is widely used to facilitate change in an organizations, here is the model as posted on Bob Von Der’s Blog.

1. Leading Change

First and foremost, authentic, committed leadership throughout the duration of the initiative is essential for success.  From a project management perspective, there is a significant risk of failure if the organization perceives a lack of leadership commitment to the initiative.

2. Creating A Shared Need

The need for change must outweigh the resistance – the inertia in the organization to maintain the status quo.  There must be compelling reasons to change, that resonate not just for the leadership team, but that will appeal to all stakeholders.  To paraphrase Peter Senge in his groundbreaking book, The Fifth Discipline, “Although we are all interested in large scale change, we must change one mind at a time.”

3. Shaping a Vision

Leadership must articulate a clear and legitimate vision of the world after the change initiative.  Every journey must have a destination otherwise you are just wandering.  The vision must be widely understood and shared.  The end-state must be described in behavioral terms – i.e., observable, measurable terms.  Not business results, but individual behavior.  This might be the single most critical factor in a successful change initiative. 

4. Mobilizing Commitment

Once you have leadership support, compelling logic for change, and a clear vision of the future, you have the necessary ingredients to rollout your initiative.  You now begin to execute an influence strategy to build momentum.  You leverage the “early adopters,” to pilot the project where you face low resistance and can learn from mistakes with a forgiving partner.

5. Making change last

Steps 2-4 are primarily about accelerating adoption of your changes.  Steps 5-7 are about making the changes permanent.  You leverage early wins, taking the knowledge gained in your pilots and transfer learning’s and best practices to your broader rollout.  You plan for integrating with other existing, potentially competing, initiatives.  You assess what is helping and hindering the initiative.

6. Monitoring process

It is important to plan for measuring the progress of your change initiative.  Is it real?  How will you know?  You need to set benchmarks — realize them – and celebrate! Similarly there must be accountability for lack of progress.

7. Changing Systems and Structures

Every business has underlying systems and structures: hiring & staffing, IT systems, training & development, resource allocation, organizational design, SOPs/workflow, etc..) These systems were designed to support the current state of the business.  If they are not changed to support the desired, future state of the business they will always push you back to the old way.  That’s what they are supposed to do.  In order to make change permanent you must systematically identify how these systems influence the behavior you are trying to change, and modify them appropriately.  Failure to address these systems and structures is why so many initiatives become the proverbial “flavor of the month.”

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How to get the voice of your customer (VOC)?

August 11, 2010 1 comment

Step 1: What is Critical To Quality (CTQ)

  • Voice: The customer need
  • Expectation: The category of the need expressed in the “Voice”

Example: CTQ for Steve’s Hamburger Stop

Step 2: Identifying Cause & Effect Analysis

  • Cause Factor: The “inputs(s) the company controls to drive the performance of the CTQ

Your customer is why your business is successful. Utilizing tools such as Voice of Customer (VOC), Critical To Quality (CTQ) & Cause & Effect (C&E) Analysis  you can provide them your services on their voice and expectations. This facilitates Customer Satisfaction!!

Why Social Media for Customer Satisfaction?

July 26, 2010 1 comment

Why tune in to your customer feedback?

In today’s competitive world, a company’s reputation for satisfying clients is one of the key factors in whether or not someone will buy from them. For Non Profit organizations, the social, economic or political mission is key but so is the proof that the money and efforts being provided are having a positive effect.

From the perspective of a company’s management, customer satisfaction is all about improving revenue, reducing costs and increasing profit. For non profit organizations, sustaining and growing the list of donors and increasing the donations per subscriber are all affected by the satisfaction with your organization or mission..

What is changing ?

The methods of providing of customer / donor feedback is changing

Customer Satisfaction Surveys were conducted and tabulated and reported, monthly, quarterly and annually. Reporting often took place weeks and months later due to exhaustive analysis that was done on the data. Then a summary report was prepared and reviewed with different levels of management for possible corrective actions.

Customer Service metrics (responsiveness, first time fix, complaints and critical situations) were reviewed and reported – monthly, quarterly and annually. Actions were taking to improve any issues found.

Today, in addition to survey feedback and customer service feedback, the web is providing feedback, IF organizations are listening. Blogs, social media sights such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter and some key sites. In addition consumers can Vote on what they like and don’t like when created by others using sites like Digg and Delicious.

The Speed of Feedback is changing

The monthly, quarterly and annual reporting of customer satisfaction data has been replaced by daily and hourly feedback. In some cases, companies have found themselves needing to respond on the weekends and have been criticized by taking a full day (from Sunday to Monday) even when the response from the organization was satisfactory.

The Nature of the Feedback is changing

In the past, feedback was often structured. Surveys asked specific questions and led the customer to provide feedback on subjects the organization felt was important. Customer service was measured by coding the cause of the service call or the result, the volume or calls, response time ,and time to resolve issues. In short, the organization controlled what it wanted to hear as feedback. With social media, the customer or donor owns the subject of the feedback and therefore the conversation with the organization.

Customers or donors are providing feedback in 3 key areas

  1. Product Problems: customers having difficulty with a product or service.
  2. Product or service improvements customers would like to see in the future
  3. Better ways to market, sell, support or communicate with customers./ donors

How to get started with Social Media

Start Listening

There are many tools to find out what is being said about your organization and your key executives. See my blog post on different tools what they do.

Engage Executives

Be prepared to react and know how to reach executives quickly if something seriously damaging emerges in the listening.

Set some policies and processes on reacting

Remember customers will be watching for your reaction. Being on the sites where the customers and donors are communicating and responding appropriately builds trust and shows you care.

Review progress and adjust regularly

Most companies are in the infancy on how to handle social media so it is important to take a learning attitude and regularly review progress and best practices in the industry.

What activities do to first?

  • Decide to invest some resources and time on the new Web Technologies.
  • Get Educated: The top social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube. Invest in some education on these key sites. See what they do.
  • Start Listening to your stakeholders.
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Why Root Cause Analysis?

July 6, 2010 3 comments

Root cause analysis helps identify what, how and why something happened, thus preventing recurrence.

Root causes are underlying, are reasonably identifiable, can be controlled by management and allow for generation of

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a process designed for use in investigating and categorizing the root causes of events with safety, health,
environmental, quality, reliability and production impacts. The term “event” is used to generically identify occurrences that produce or have the potential to produce these types of consequences.

Although there is substantial debate on the definition of root cause, we use the following:

  1. Root causes are specific underlying causes.
  2. Root causes are those that can reasonably be identified.
  3. Root causes are those management has control to fix.
  4. Root causes are those for which effective recommendations for preventing recurrences can be generated.

Root causes are underlying causes. The Practitioners goal should be to identify specific underlying causes. The more specific the Practitioners can be about why an event occurred, the easier it will be to arrive at recommendations that will prevent recurrence.

Four Major Steps
The RCA is a four-step process involving the following:

  1. Data collection.
  2. Causal Effect Diagram
  3. Root cause identification.
  4. Recommendation generation and implementation.

Step 1 —Data collection. The first step in the analysis is to gather data. Without complete information and an understanding of the
event, the causal factors and root causes associated with the event cannot be identified. The majority of time spent analyzing an event is spent in gathering data.

Step 2 —Causal Effect Diagram. Causal Effect Diagrams help you to think through causes of a problem thoroughly. Their major benefit is that they push you to consider all possible causes of the problem, rather than just the ones that are most obvious.

Identifying the Likely Causes of Problems Related variants: Fish or Fishbone Diagrams, and Ishikawa Diagrams

Step 3 —Root Cause identification. After all the causal factors have been identified, the investigators begin root cause
identification. This step involves the use of a decision diagram called the Root Cause Map to identify the underlying reason or reasons for each causal factor.

Step 4 —Recommendation generation and implementation. The next step is the generation of recommendations. Following identification of the root causes for a particular causal factor, achievable recommendations for preventing its recurrence are then generated.