There are seven major types of non-value-added work:

  1. Overproduction (producing more than is required)
  2. Transport (often necessary, but still a waste)
  3. Inventory  (requires storage and transportation)
  4. Sub-processes (inspections, approvals, and other SOPs)
  5. Waiting (idle time for meetings, schedule changes, lost tools, and more)
  6. Correction (repairs, rejects, defects)
  7. Motion (unnecessary motions are wasteful)

Though as an organization you may find some of these – transportation and inventory, for instance – are necessary, they don’t add value to the customer’s experience. When trying to increase value for your customers with Lean Six Sigma, value equals only what the customer is willing to pay for the right product or service at the right time in the right place.

Therefore, improving the customer experience depends on your ability to define what the customer really needs and eliminate non-value added steps to provide it.

Define What the Customer Needs

Lean Six Sigma can help you identify what the customer needs and utilize the information to improve the customer experience. Knowing their needs enables you to discover what they value and how satisfied they are with your ability to deliver that value.

Capturing what your customers need, want, and value requires you to:

  • Collect user-generated content. Surveys, social media, focus groups, and other forms of feedback-gathering tools allow you to gather data.
  • Organize the data retrieved. Affinity diagrams, structure tree, and relationship charts enable you to classify customer preferences.
  • Analyze customer preferences. DMAIC and DFSS ensure that the processes you focus on are the ones important to your customer.

In addition, LSS techniques such as Voice of the Customer provide tools that can help capture customer needs.

Eliminate Non-Value Added Steps

Defining customer needs is only the first step in the equation. Customer-facing processes gain a lot by removing non-value added activities. For an action to be value-added:

  • the customer must care about the step
  • the step must change the product or service or be essential to another step
  • the step must be right the first time

While the ultimate goal is to remove steps that don’t meet these criteria, you may need to retain some non-value added steps for compliance or financial reasons.

As so clearly stated in the bulletin, “Improving Customer Satisfaction with Lean Six Sigma” significantly increasing customer satisfaction will lead to increased sales and market share. With Lean Six Sigma, you gain the ability to identify and provide what your customers need, want, and value. For more information on Lean Six Sigma or LSS training programs, review our website or contact us directly.

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