Customer Satisfaction

Contamination, Perception and The Story of the Dirty Rug

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a relay manufacturer in China.  They wanted help implementing lean in their stamping operation, reducing changeover times and help resolving some long standing quality issues.  During my initial visit, they told me that one of their biggest problems was product contamination due to dirt, dust, human skin, fibers, etc.  As they took me on a...

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Don’t Let Operator Issues Be An Excuse Not To Do Your Job!

I recently visited a client that is experiencing a number of quality issues both internally and externally with their customers.  A large portion of their manufacturing process relies on operators doing their job properly.  In reviewing their process, it was evident that operators were not handling material properly, not using process fixtures, and not following the methods they were taught....

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Are your improvement efforts being deceived by the average?

In his recent book, The 4-Hour Chef, Timothy Ferriss talks about the documentary, Objectified, where Dan Formosa, PhD, then with Smart Design’s research department, explained one of the first steps in its innovation process: “We have clients come to us and say, “Here is our average customer.”  For instance, “Female, she is 34 years old, she has 2.3 kids,” and...

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Understanding the Aspects of Product Quality Can Help Build a Competitive Advantage

In his 1987 article in the Harvard Business Review, “Competing on the Eight Dimensions of Quality,” David Garvin defined eight dimensions or characteristics that can be used at a strategic level to analyze product and service quality.  As producers of products it is important to understand what customers desire among these characteristics to help build a competitive advantage....

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Understanding Why Customers Complain

Improving customer satisfaction and understanding why customers complain are certainly worthy Lean Six Sigma projects and deserve attention.  Companies need to understand why customers complain, why some unhappy customers’ don’t complain, and what customers’ expectations are about their complaints.  Customers usually complain for a number of reasons:  to obtain a refund or...

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Do you really understand your customers?

If you don’t know what your customers want, it’s pretty darned hard to give it to them.  Sometimes organizations, even entire industries, have the attitude of “we know what’s best for the customer.”  Organizations have the misguided belief that “we’re really tuned into the needs of our market,” when in fact they are out of touch with changing...

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