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5 reasons you don’t have a culture of continuous improvement

By | Change Management, Lean Six Sigma, Lean Thinking, Lean Training, Management | No Comments

Almost all companies want a culture of continuous improvement (CI) – yet so few have it. Why is that then?

Here are our top 5 reasons that prevent you from creating a culture of CI:

1.You don’t invest in training people

Improvement is a skill like any other. Some people have a bit of a natural gift for it – most of us need to be trained. It doesn’t have to be expensive in this day and age and the return on investment you’ll get will far exceed the training cost. It’s also far cheaper to have a Lean Six Sigma training provider deliver the training at your workplace.

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Does high performance equal great customer experiences

Does high performance equal great customer experiences?

By | Customer experience, Lean Thinking, Lean Training | No Comments

We have worked with some great teams. Teams who are experts in their field; truly committed to the cause and proud of the knowledge that they hold.

These teams hit their SLA’s, their visual management is awash with green and they have fantastic people retention. This sounds perfect doesn’t it?

What about their customer’s experience though? Are their customers delighted about the service they receive? Are they leaving awesome reviews? Unfortunately, not always…

The performance of a team is one thing, but the experience a customer has with an organisation can be totally different. We’ve worked with high performing teams but when we get under the skin and gather the voice of the customer and map the end to end customer journey, it can be found that the customer has endured a complex, clunky experience, which has generated dissatisfaction.

So, how can a customer be dissatisfied with the service of a high performing team?

Let’s take a quick moment and look at a customer journey for changing your personal details with your bank:

You phone the bank, key in your account details into the automated service, and then you are presented to an advisor.  You inform the advisor that you need to change your address and your bank details. The advisor asks you to confirm your account details, as well as other Data Protection being carried out. The advisor proceeds to make the necessary changes to your address. Once done, you are informed that another team has to update your bank details. You are then transferred through to the payment team. They ask you Data Protection questions again, and once satisfied, they update your payment details. The total duration of the call was over 14 minutes.

Although both teams met their own call time targets and carried out their Data Protection questions, the customer still left frustrated. Frustrated that they had to provide their account details verbally as well as electronically, frustrated that they had to speak to two different teams, and frustrated that they had to provide Data Protection answers twice.

If this bank put themselves in to the shoes of the customer and walked the process themselves, and documented the process end to end, they would quickly understand why their customers are dissatisfied and work out how to make improvements to the process. So, let’s not ask non value added questions, let’s design a process that delivers first time call resolution and therefore reduce hand offs, and whilst meeting Data Protection requirements, let’s not over process.

Attending a training course with Lean Consulting will provide you with a detailed overview of the tools and techniques required to document and analyse the end to end process and customer journey. The courses shall talk you through the challenges organisations face as a result of their silo approach to meeting customer demand, and the benefits of adopting collaboration and how much more productive and effective companies are if their teams are all rowing in the same direction.

Our training courses aren’t just about learning the tools and techniques of lean sigma either; you will also get so much value from collaborating with others in the room that will maximise your experience and learning.

We’d love to work with you and support you on your Continuous Improvement journey.

Service The right tools for the job

Service: The right tools for the job!

By | Black Belt, Lean for Service, Lean Training | No Comments

In recent times, I’ve found myself spending increased time training service sector individuals in Lean Six Sigma methods as opposed to on the job coaching. This presents a great opportunity to really underpin some of the methods and tools with knowledge and understanding but it did start me thinking….

Are we teaching them the right tools for the problems they will encounter?

To try and answer this question I found myself thinking back to my Yellow, Green and Black belt training and the tools and methods I had being shown. I decided it would be a good idea to re-acquaint myself with all the material, if only to validate the knowledge was still there lodged in my brain awaiting recall (It’s worth noting that for large parts of this I had a very large folder with lots of notes in front of me).

I failed miserably! I was able to recall around 70% of the knowledge but the other 30% was gone. How could I have forgotten that section about DoE response surface designs or that Box-Cox method for transforming data to a normal distribution…?!

The conclusion I reached was interesting….

The reason the 30% isn’t in there is because I’m not using it!

Wow. Could it be possible that nearly a third of what I have learned has been of so little use to me that I erased it from memory? Or should I be applying more of this in the work I do?

Reflecting on my improvement performance, I can honestly say that much of my training was of little use to me.

So why am I not using this 30%?

Simple. I’ve been working in service all this time but the training I’ve undertaken has been Lean Six Sigma training. Let me elaborate.

Lean and Six Sigma both have their roots in manufacturing. Over the years these methods have been brought into service and along with it the training of these methods. However, the training has struggled to evolve away from its roots to the extent that around a third of what I was shown is simply not required in Service-based improvements.

And so, what does this mean….back to our original question

Are we teaching them the right tools for the problems they will encounter?

Answer: No, not in a service context

The great thing about arriving at this space is that I’m not on my own. At Lean Consulting, we’ve recognised this and looked to do something about it, to the extent that we have designed what we believe to be the first real Lean Six Sigma Black Belt that focuses exclusively on Service.

Hopefully we can start to better equip individuals with the right tools for the job when solving problems in services.