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Organizations create processes to establish a consistent and efficient way of performing tasks. Processes can drive almost every department in a business, from the payroll process in the accounting department and new hire process in human resources to the training process in the sales department and assembling a product in manufacturing. Over time, however, processes can become ridden with errors and redundancies as employees fall into ritualized habits and communication breaks down.

Process improvement methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma have gone through several boom and bust cycles since their introduction in the mid-eighties. Despite moving in and out of favor, the longevity of Lean and Six Sigma can be attributed to the flexibility and applicability to companies of all sizes in all industries. Combining the two methodologies into Lean Six Sigma creates a rigorous, data-driven, results-oriented approach to process improvement.

Businesses can use Lean Six Sigma to avoid the breakdown of processes over time by evaluating existing practices, identifying pain points and solutions to ease them, and establishing a plan for ongoing measurement. This culture of continuous improvement can touch any and every aspect of the business, increasing the overall health of the organization and creating a competitive advantage. Several examples of areas of the business that can dramatically benefit from the use of Lean Six Sigma include customer relationships, innovation and productivity.

Customer-Driven Value

Describing customer satisfaction as a current top priority is putting it mildly for most businesses in industries across the board – it’s always all about the customer. Lean Six Sigma not only helps organizations optimize internal processes, it also helps to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Developing lasting customer relationships requires an understanding of each unique customer and their changing environments, goals and areas of importance.

Voice of the Customer (VOC) is used to describe customers’ needs and their perceptions of available products and services. There is no better way to understand how to best serve customers than by gathering their direct feedback, which requires a tremendous amount of listening and a lot of dialogue. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups are useful in turning that dialogue into formal feedback that can be collected and analyzed. The VOC can then be prioritized and translated into requirements that are critical to quality.


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