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Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma


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Dr. Kai Yang was the guest on the Business901 Podcast and this is a transcription of the podcast. Our conversation addressed the message of his latest book, Voice of the Customer: Capture and Analysis (Six Sigma Operational Methods).

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Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing SystemsFinding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six SigmaGuest was Dr. Kai Yang world well known expert in the area of Six Sigma,Design for Six Sigma and Quality for Service. Related Podcast: From a Small Restaurant to Apple, Learn how they Capture and Analyze Data Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsDr. Kai Yang is a Professor in the department ofIndustrial and Manufacturing, Wayne State University. His areas of expertise include Six Sigma, statistical methods in quality and reliability engineering, lean product development, lean healthcare, and engineering design methodologies. He is a world well known expert in the area of Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma andquality for service and an author of five books in theareas of Design for Six Sigma, Six Sigma and,multivariate statistical methods. Prof. Yang’s book,Design for Six Sigma: A Roadmap for ProductDevelopment is an influential book that provides aframework to integrate both innovation methods,and traditional statistical quality assurance methodsinto the product development process. Dr Yang alsopublished over 70 research papers. He has been awarded over 40 research contracts from such institutions as US National Science Foundation, US Department of Veteran Affairs, Siemens Corp, General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation and Siemens Corporation. Dr Yang is also a well-known trainer in the area of Six Sigma,lean, he conducted numerous training for many companies, such asApple Inc and Siemens. Dr. Yang obtained both his MS and PhDdegrees from the University of Michigan. Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe Dager: Thanks everyone for joining us. This is Joe Dager,the host of the Business 901 podcast. Participating in theprogram today is Dr. Kai Yang, a professor in the Department ofIndustrial and Manufacturing at Wayne State University. He is awell-known expert in the area of Six Sigma, design of Six Sigma,and quality for service and an author of five books in the areas ofdesign for Six Sigma. Dr. Yang, could you tell me about yourposition and what you do at Wayne State?Kai Yang: Im a full professor in the department. I have beenworking with product development for a long time. Since I joinedthe University, because Im in Detroit, very soon I startedworking with automobile companies such as General Motors, Fordand Chrysler. So, first we helped them to do some of the projectimproving the manufacturing qualities. Then later on, I workedwith a quality reliability group and did a lot of projects based onmy experience, and also based on the research. I thought aboutwriting some of the books which reflect my experience. In theyear 2000, the book publisher asked me to write Design for SixSigma. The feature of my book is linking the quality methods andthe innovation methods and the design methods all together. So,compared to the past quality book, I didnt do problem solving, Ididnt do design, I didnt do the QFD. Of course, some of thetraditional quality items such as design of experiment, Taguchimethod, tolerance of design. So, this is a comprehensive book.After the book was published, very quickly it became number onein this category. Many companies, such as Lockheed Martin,Delphi, GM, they bought a lot of my books as their trainingmaterial. Also, I helped many company to do the training productdevelopment, including some famous companies such as AppleComputer, Siemens. So, Im really happy with my experience, thefeedback I got from my books. I also like the idea of productdevelopment. I think its very important. Recently, we think thereliability quality in auto industry is really important. So, Imhappy to share my experience and my expertise with your guys. Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe Dager: One of the things that struck me very quickly as Iwas reading you Bio was that you trained and worked with Apple.It was interesting because I think everybody looks at Apple, theirblue jean guys, kind of loose and everything. Are they thatstatistical driven that they use Six Sigma?Kai Yang: Well, I think they dont call their approach Six Sigmabecause they think GE is inefficient, too complex, very slow.However, recently, they are really interested in learning,implementing some of the quality tools. I did training in qualitymyself. I did training in brainstorming. I did training for especiallydesign of experiment. And they have done a lot of DOE toimprove their quality, improve the appearance of the product. So,theyre happy with that.Joe Dager: Six Sigma and even somewhat Design for Six Sigmawas a field, Jack Walsh popularized in the early 90s. Butrecently, I think Six Sigma is getting kind of a rebirth, because ofthe amount of statistics and things that were seeing nowadays.Especially with the cashless society, that everythings on a creditcard or on the Internet, that theres so many statistics; whatstatistics to look at and which ones to use. I think very muchapplies to Six Sigma. Do you believe that Six Sigma is kind ofresurfacing again and getting stronger?Kai Yang: Well, I think that might be true, even in serviceindustry. Recently, I have done a lot of work for the health careindustry. I find amazingly, in my experience, they have lot ofdata available in their IT system. They call it medical informatics.However, they are not like manufacturing. They don’t know howtheir process works. So, we dont even know, for example, aduplicated task. Some people say that three trillion dollars of theUS healthcare industry, half of them are waste. I believe that.When you dig in the data and you know that math weighs theirprocess, you really find how the process works. You can do a lotof improvement through that. So, I do think data mining Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsstatistics, then linked with industrial engineering Lean, will do alot of good for all kind of industries.Joe Dager: Most of your books are written based on Six Sigma,Design for Six Sigma, and Design for Six Sigma service. Howdoes Lean play a role in your training methods? Do you use Leanin conjunction with Six Sigma?Kai Yang: If you notice my new edition of my Design for SixSigma book, I purposely added the Lean operation in general.Also, Im adding the Lean product development. This is veryimportant. The tradition of Six Sigma statistical mass innovationmethod is about increasing your value of your product andservices by improving quality, by being more creative. But on theother hand, you need to reduce your calls. You need to be moreflexible, responsive to market. Reducing the product developingtime, increasing efficiency, increasing operation efficiency is soimportant. Definitely Lean is very, very important. Actually, Ishare some our experiences. We recently worked with Siemens,and working with their team, we are able to reduce the productdeveloped over time by big margin. They are really happy with it.The Lean and the Six Sigma is complementary; they go together.They are not contradicting each other. I think they work well sideby side.Joe Dager: One of the great strengths of Six Sigma and Designfor Six Sigma is the tools of Voice of Customer, Voice of Market,and Capture and Analysis Stage. I really dont know of a betterset of tools than Six Sigma in obtaining that information. Why didyou choose to write about these?Kai Yang: Well, when I started to write the book on design forSix Sigma--they also had a lot of information, there were a lot ofthings going on in Voice of Customer, such as Quality FunctionDeployment, such as getting the Voice of Customer information.But many of these available books and the training do not have a Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemssystematic way of obtaining the real customer voice. So, in myrecent book, Voice of the Customer, I added in a lot of new--wellnot really new--but kind of a popular emerging message, such asover-serving the customer in their work environment, in theirliving environment. Live with the customers own life to observe avery objective Voice of Customer information. I think Toyota alsouses this in some way.The other thing is after youre getting all kinds of information,how to process it, how to get meaningful information so you canguide engineers. For example, a customer may say, Well, I wanta car which drives fast, which saves gas. So, this the voice ofcustomer. But you cannot use it to guide your design because theengineer will ask you, What do you mean by saving gas? Whatmileage per gallon? They want to have some specific numbers asguidance. So, my new book Voice of the Customer, really talksabout how to carry out this type of translation. So, I saw my VOCbook as an interesting, useful item to the product development.So, Im happy with it.Joe Dager: Theres a section of product development process inthe Voice of the Customer book. One of the things I noticed rightaway was the concept design process that you talked about. Takea few concepts, select them in detail, and test them and then theiteration of going back through it. That seems a little bit of whatIm seeing in Lean software development these days, is peopleare talking about testing early and failing early before they go on.When you get into larger companies, you need tools like SixSigma to be able to interpret that data that comes back fromthat. Isnt that correct?Kai Yang: Oh yes. Absolutely, in larger companies, the Voice ofCustomer--first of all, they have a different kind of Voice ofCustomer. People do not have the same opinions, even for thesame product. So, also, they have, for example the product suchas cars, they have many different aspects: appearance, Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdrivability, all kinds of things. You really need a good system toprocess this kind of data. And also, you need coordination. So,one of the experiences which it doesnt do well is throw theinformation over the wall by marketing people to engineer anddesign. So even though they say the same thing, they dont havethe same interpretation. So finally, the product doesnt reflectwhat a customer really wants. I think, no matter for large orsmall companies, how to translate the voice of the customer intoyour design practice is really important for final success.Joe Dager: How do marketers receive the Six Sigma process? Dothey welcome the value of the interpretation, that data that SixSigma gives them? Or is there a resistance that theres just toomany statistics, theres too many tools to use?Kai Yang: That will be a part of the headache if youre trying toimplement that. I strongly think we should have, in doing thistype of work; we should have a joined team, a multifunctionalteam of marketing people, design engineers, engineeringmanagers, because the people need to talk to each other to reallyknow what they are doing. If the engineer knows the marketingpeople, what they do, the interface with real customers, they willknow things a lot better. Also the marketing people, they willknow what headache, whats the problem facing the engineer,whats easy to do, whats not easy to do. They are also more ableto provide useful information for engineers. The desirableapproach would be a multifunctional team working together. Thatwill overcome a lot of problems like that.Joe Dager: You touched upon the Blue Ocean Strategy. Do youuse that type of strategy in a design for Six Sigma process? Isthat a strategy that is really doable?Kai Yang: For a design for Six Sigma, we talk about a fewaspects of design. First is how to design a product that reallyadds value to your company. I have to say, Apple did a good job Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemson it. They launched a sequence of products that people didntsee before. It really opened peoples eyes. Oh, you can dosomething like that. Thats really feasible. They created amarketing niche that has very low competition. So, this is theconcept of Blue Ocean. Its not a crowded sea. You have toomany fish boats to catch too little fish. This is a big ocean withnobody competing because you offer something unique. And thisis a part of innovation, part of the things that as a design team,as a product developer, its your dream to come up with. Intraditional Six Sigma, they dont bring these things into thepicture, but I think Apple is an excellent example of success inthis category.Joe Dager: I think youre so right there. Looking through yourbooks, I think I can say this; your books arent for thelight-hearted reader. Theres a lot of depth to them. Youve towant to take hold of the subject. I found myself reading certainsections of it, especially when I into customer survey design, andpicking certain parts out of it. Things that I thought really need tobe considered. I guess large companies have the staff to do andare able to do it. But small companies have to compete in theworld of handling this data now. Do you think they can applysome of these things that you talk about in your book?Kai Yang: I remember, for example, the survey design. Iremember one example very well. One day I was invited intoChina to give some lectures and afterwards went to thisrestaurant. After eating all the food, they gave me a survey form.So basically the survey form had three questions. Do you like thefood, yes or no? Do you like the service, yes or no? Do you likethe price, yes or no? Something like that. Then very quickly, I fillin the survey form. But when I think at heart, whether themanagement can really use this customer survey to improve theirbusiness? If I say, Well your food is not good. Your service is notgood. Then they know they have an unhappy customer. But Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstheres no way they know why your service is not good, why yourfood is not good. It doesnt really serve their purpose. In thebook we talk about the Ethnographic methods. In this method,the real analogy, you dont need a lot of data. You can put somechef, these kinds as a customer, mingle with customers, thenobserve how they eat. What things they pick, what things theydont pick. Then you know what type of food they like, how youcan improve. Also, you know what type of service. Is it the speed,is it the friendliness they like, what kind of thing they dont like.So, by adopting the philosophy, not a complex methodology, youcan make a big difference. Even for small businesses, they dontneed rocket science to use these methods. Thats the interestingexample I always serve.Joe Dager: I think youre right. However, I also look at the factthat here I am with a flood of data, just looking at how to use,lets say, I send an email out. I look open rates and I look atclick-through rates and different things like that on the Internet.Or on my website, I look at where theyre clicking. I look thedifferent data there. But its hard to distinguish some of that andderive value from there when youre a small business, to be ableto have that expertise or to be able to apply even Six Sigmaconcepts, lets say, without a trained Six Sigma person, or a blackbelt or a consultant that youre using. Can it really apply to smallbusiness?Kai Yang: Well, I think you have to apply intelligently,selectively in small businesses. So, for small businesses, youhave the same type of challenges such as cost, value, efficiency,quality, and so on and so forth. So, you dont have to use someof the very complex tools as Apple, as in GM, as in Siemens.However, the basic principle, basic philosophy does apply. So, interms of selecting the tool sets, small companies, in myexperience, like Lean operation. Like 5S Lean operation will do alot. You can really help a lot. Also, PDCA cycles give self-directed Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsteams, standard operating procedures. Some of the simple dataanalysis like line charts, like histograms, just like a TQC. It willreally go a long way to serve your purpose. So, I think the samechallenge really exists, but you have to apply selectively,intelligently. That is based on my experience.Joe Dager: I also noticed in your product development processthat you spend quite a bit of time talking about TRIZ. Do youthink that is a real important process?Kai Yang: Well, TRIZ basically is a way to try to improve thecreativity of your product development process. Supposedly theTRIZ is you try to condense the inventive principle to a smallnumber of principles. People learn, they can really improve theircreativity by learning existing knowledge. Some of the companiesare very, very successful at it, as far as I know. Samsung is nowis a leading company in electronics. Even now, they still contractTRIZ experts in large numbers working for a couple of years intheir headquarters to help them to improve product development.For Samsung its definitely a useful tool. Its increased theircompetitiveness. I think that now you hear about more Samsungthan Sony Company. So I talk to their product development,some top people. They think that TRIZ really helped them a lot.However, now that every company has the same experience,some use TRIZ and dont get out a lot. I think this is a tool weneed to customize to your own practice. So, it can do wonders, itjust needs to be applied correctly.Joe Dager: I think youre probably right there, because I alwaysfound TRIZ kind of cumbersome. Yet, Im thinking what youresaying is that you customize it and maybe one company will onlyuse a third of it, or half of it, or something like that.Kai Yang: Im thinking about a few things important in TRIZ.One is simplify, customize. The other is you have to go with goodinformation searching the IP. So, for example, when people apply Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsTRIZ, one of the common problems they face is, Well I can plugin what the contradiction is, what the problem is. I can find outwhat principle may be useful for me. But, still, this principle is ageneral principle. Im still not able to figure out a particularsolution for my design problem. So, that is one of the commonthings.I found out if people are given relevant information about similarpatents, how the people designing similar products resolve thistype of problem, if theyre flooded with good examples. They areable to take it. I think that is also one of the reasons Samsungdid well in using TRIZ. Only learning it does not make it work.You have to flood it with good information.Joe Dager: Lean seems so easy to start. Six Sigma seems like abigger roadblock to get started, get it over the hurdle. Can youexplain why you think the Lean approach is so popular now? Ithink its ease of entry more than anything else. But to sustain itand to create it, do you think Six Sigma needs to support it insome way? How do you look at that?Kai Yang: Well, I think Lean is a great principle, philosophy andmethodology all together, because it addresses some of thecommon problems of waste, waste everywhere, in all kinds ofbusinesses and processes, in service, in product development, inmanufacturing, especially in service. Also the advantage of Leanis the philosophies are so straightforward. You can understand itwithout a whole lot of background. This is really good and alsoapplicable. You can apply it to big, small and all kinds of companyin between. So, this is good. It has achieved great success inrecent years. However, they also have some abuse of Lean. Inmy experience for example, we involve to apply Lean and the SixSigma in the health care industry.What we find out is the Lean coach is everywhere. They just pick,for example, they say, Well, I want to reduce waiting time for Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemspatients. Then they just collect five or six pieces of data so, oh,now waiting time is 40 minutes. Then, after doing somethingafter a few days, then they just pick up three or four numbers.Oh, I reduce waiting time to 20 minutes. But actually, these twoor three incidents are only exceptions; its not really in the longterm how the waiting time is going to be. If you collect moredata, youll find that actually that your waiting time is about thesame as before.This really tells you one thing: you need some powerful principleof Lean. But others, you need some scientific-based approach,not the cheap shots. So, I think Six Sigma and Lean go together.I agree, we dont need some of those very complex statisticalmethods. They have a very low usage of frequency. Somecommon sense, make decisions based on facts, make decisionsbased on what the data tell you. This is still very helpful in that.Like in Toyota, Toyota is a very well organized company, eventhough they have some problems. But they really plan everythingin detail. For example, even when people, change jobs. When youstart from one type of production process to the next type ofproduction process, they have a specific approach called, ChangePoint Management.How do you deal with--even before, you have a process youalready know. Now you are going to new process. So, how do youmake the transition really well? They call it Change PointProcess. Its very disciplined. We think we need a goodphilosophy. We need a disciplined approach. We need a factbased approach. No matter what we do, we should stick to this.Joe Dager: When we talk about Design for Six Sigma, what doesthe Six mean anymore in Six Sigma?Kai Yang: Well, the original intent of Six Sigma means you havesuch a low quality problem. You have such a low defective rate.Then you virtually shouldnt worry about defects. Six Sigma Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstranslates into three defects, 2.7 defects to be precise. Threedefects per million occurrences. I think even now it is veryimportant, because we have public media. Like if we are countinghow many Toyota cars have sudden acceleration, the ratio is verylow. But they have millions of millions of cars. People are buying,people are owning, people are using. We have like 50, 60incidents of sudden acceleration. If you divide that number, itsalmost like Six Sigma quality, even though thats a bad problem.Actually before, Ford had a similar problem, of a tire problem.The defect was also very low. But when that became an issuewith the public media, it became a disaster for the company. So,keeping high quality with a very low defect ratio is really what SixSigma means. You can call it whatever you want, but highquality, high reliability--thats really what Six Sigma means.Joe Dager: Is there anything you would like to add to thisconversation that I maybe forgot to ask?Kai Yang: I think people--to apply Lean and Six Sigma, reallyneed to understand their problem. You need to use the right tool,right methodology, right philosophy for the right problem. In mybook, for example, this book is not an easy book, very in-depth.Another thing designed for a company which has verysophisticated product, sophisticated product developmentprocess. Some of my other books, such as Design Six Sigma forSurveys, such as Voice of Customer, have some tools andmethodology for smaller companies, for service companies.The really important thing is youve got to choose the right thingfor your reality. I think if you do that right, nothing will be wrong.Thats my addition to our conversation.Joe Dager: Well, Id like to thank you very much, Dr. Yang. Thispodcast will be available in the Business 901 iTunes store, andalso on my blog site. So, again, thank you very much. Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsKai Yang: Thank you. My pleasure.Amazon Book Links:Design for Six SigmaDesign for Six Sigma for ServiceVoice of the Customer: Capture and Analysis (Six SigmaOperational MethodsMultivariate Statistical Methods in Quality Management Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: Web/Blog: Twitter: @business901What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated onmany difficult issues. Joes ability to combine his expertise with "out of thebox" thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, costeffectively and with ingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure towork with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event. Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status Finding the Voice of Customer in Design for Six Sigma Copyright Business901