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Do your customers hate you?

Here's a quick challenge and reality check to see how you're doing thus far with your organizational improvement goals.  Take an honest look at your customer-facing processes as if you were the customer. Better yet, actually WALK the customer trail. Put yourself in the driver's seat as if you are a customer and analyze the overall experience.  I'm not talking about "...but our company's internal data for defects per million shows that we're making pretty good parts".  I'm talking about taking a long, hard look at customer perception.  How does your customer perceive the overall quality, service and ease of doing business associated with their relationship with you? Have you seen the television show Undercover Boss? Yeah... do that. Customer satisfaction is not always about facts, figures and statistics.  Sometimes it's all about asking this simple question:  "Dear Mr. Customer - How likely is it that you would actually take the time to recommend me to a friend or colleague?" Think about all of the facets of going out do dinner. You judge your satisfaction with the restaurant based on 

Do you measure customer satisfaction by the number of customer complaints you have?

The lack of a formal customer complaint is not a reliable indicator that the customer is satisfied.  Customer complaints are more often a sign that the customer is so extremely dissatisfied that they feel obligated or angry enough to tell you about it.  What about the other portion of customers that simply turn and walk away?  In most business circumstances, by the time a customer has left you, its too late to regain their trust.  You've lost them and they're not coming back.  In fact, there are a certain set of customers that will spend their nights and weekends talking trash about you, your company and their horrible experiences in dealing with your sorry butt.

Ok... now that I've made you feel like a complete loser, let's at least have a little fun here.  Sit back, grab your cup of coffee and feel the pain associated with being a dissatisfied customer.

Want to gauge your customer's perception of you?  Here are some tips and techniques that we've seen work out in the real world:

SIMPLE & LOW COST:  Ask your customer to help you in getting 100% by partnering with you on the solution of 100% satisfaction.  Rather than asking "Is everything ok?", try asking "What would I have to do in order to receive an A+ or 100% rating?"  This approach invites the customer to give you pointers on improvement rather than the traditional invitation for feedback (i.e. "Y'all doing ok?").  By making it an "Us (you and your customer) against them (bad grades)" you create a partnering perspective with your customers in order to solve the puzzle (how to get an A+) together.

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD:  Use a process to measure how likely your customers to "promote" your organization called by using a grading scale called the "Net Promoter Score".  Learn more about this process here.

NPS-Definition copy

COMPLEX & HIGHER COST:  If you are in an organization that can spare a few more bucks, consider using a product like Online Survey Software from Qualtrics.  It is complex software on the back end but simple for your customers to complete on the front end.  Questionnaires and data from survey results are kept on a cloud for simple analysis, quick feedback on-going monitoring of key metrics.  www.qualtrics.com/survey-software-video

Correlation Matrices

With the official publication of the ISO 9001:2015 International Standard merely weeks away, several veteran auditors and ISO 9001 implementers will be faced with another round of re-learning the new clause structure. Since 1995, I've looked at these various international standards more than any other document in my lifetime. A large portion of the 1987 and 1994 versions are still alive and well in the back of my mind. Memorizing the majority of these standards makes for a tough paradigm shift when a new version comes along - the shifting of the deeply-rooted paradigm. The Bibliography section of the ISO 9001:2015 FDIS (final draft international standard) features a rich source of references, citations and online resources to assist with your transition from 2008 to 2015. One tool that we here at Concentric find particularly useful (i.e. it has been with me daily since the FDIS release) is a document called the Correlation Matrices between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015.

Correlation Matrices

Use this tool to help in the mapping of existing processes, documentation and records (now called "documented information") in order to see how the new standard aligns with your organizational structure. For those organizations that have used the 2000/2008 numbering scheme as the baseline for documentation numbering, note that there is no requirement stating that you have to renumber according to the new structure. In fact, we advise that you build your documentation around the unique processes and internal numbering structure, or other language, that makes sense to you. Until then, the Correlation Matrices can be a useful tool to aid you in your transition.

ISO 9001 Correlation_Matrices from TC176SC02

For other useful resources to assist with your transition, visit our ISO 9001:2015 Resources page featuring recorded webinars, key links, references and other free tools.

ISO 9001 & Six Sigma Infographic

Certification and maintenance of ISO-based management systems (i.e. ISO 9001, 14001, etc.) is often a requirement for doing business with certain customers and sectors. While many organizations struggle to find value with respective their certification efforts, those that use international standards in conjunction with improvement tools such as Six Sigma and APQP wonder how they could have ran a business without a formal management system. Each organization must use the requirements and guidelines of various tools and methods that are most suitable to their own unique vision.

Visual communication through ISO 9001 & Six Sigma Infographic

The fine folks at Midlake Products up in the Buckeye state ("O.H.I.O." ...while moving your arms to form the letters, of course), have shared with us their ISO 9001 & Six Sigma Infographic. This visual tools is used at Midlake to outline how their operations, as well as other manufacturers, can grow their business by adopting quality practices and standards. We hope you enjoy this visual aid. Special thanks to Jim Moore for passing this illustration along for us to share with our readers.

ISO 9001 & Six Sigma Infographic

We are eager to receive feedback on the use of this infographic or other visual communications tools that you believe are of value. Comment below with a link on where our readers can find these additional tools. Perhaps you have a tool, blog or other message that you would like us to share with our readers in an upcoming blog? Contact us at info@cmsicharleston.com.

For more information about the ISO 9001 & Six Sigma Infographic or Midlake Products, visit them online at www.midlake.com.

Quality Minds Online Prep Courses

Quality Minds Video Training

Quality Minds is an online training series presented by Concentric. These courses are designed for professionals aspiring to pass a certification exam given by the American Society of Quality (ASQ). After successfully completing a course, you will better understand the body of knowledge required for successfully completing the exam. This will allow you to apply a wide range of quality tools and concepts to your individual work situation.

This online course is an on-demand course where you study at your own pace. Each module contains a subject matter video with narration from Stephen Deas. Stephen is a Concentric Subject Matter Expert that was certified as a Quality Engineer in 1991 and a Six Sigma Black Belt in 2003.

Currently these courses are free to those willing to give feedback on the course materials regarding content and logistics on how the course materials should be distributed. Register below.[ezcol_1quarter]

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Eventbrite - Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Online Prep Course

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Eventbrite - Certified Six Sigma Green Belt Online Prep Course

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Eventbrite - Certified Quality Engineer Online Prep Course

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Eventbrite - Certified Quality Auditor Online Prep Course

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ISO 9001:2015 May Webinar is now posted

Quality Professionals are invited to attend an open forum on expected changes to the ISO 9001:2015 International Standard. This forum is part of a series of updates from Charleston area subject-matter experts aimed at assisting organizations in their preparation of the upgrade to the new standard. The panel of experts will include veterans from various sectors such as automotive, aerospace, environmental and information security to discuss the potential impacts on various industry specific (ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 27001 and ISO 14001).

Risk-Based Thinking with ISO 9001:2015

Risk Based Thinking with ISO 9001 2015, AS9100, riskIts projected that starting late 2015 many organizations (thru the quality professional) face the prospect of installing a risk management process into their ISO 9001:2015 quality management system. There are several questions to be answered: [bulletlist]

  • What is risk-based thinking?
  • How extensive does it have to be?
  • How much more work will this be?
  • Could I do this quick enough?
  • How do I get started?

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How extensive does it have to be?

Risk-based thinking will be new for ISO 9001:2015. In the aerospace industry, risk-based thinking has been required as a part of the AS-series of standards for years. The federal government and NASA also have standards addressing risk management. The AS9100 standard does not specify how to implement a risk management process.

How much more work will this be?

Actually, risk-based thinking could prove to be a very valuable process for your company. Risk entails a probability and impact of a loss or gain. Some useful risk publications include:

[bulletlist]

  • ISO 31000:2009, Risk management – Principles and guidelines, provides principles, framework and a process for managing risk.
  • (Sept, 2012). NIST Special Publication 800-30 revision 1: Guide for conducting risk assessments.
  • Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK Guide
  • Prichard, C., & Tate, K. (2013). The risk management memory jogger.
  • ISO Guide 73:2009, Risk management - Vocabulary complements ISO 31000 by providing a collection of terms and definitions relating to the management of risk.
  • ISO/IEC 31010:2009, Risk management – Risk assessment techniques focuses on risk assessment.

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Can I do this quick enough?

Get started now! There have been some articles on risk-based thinking in Quality Progress (ASQ magazine). See Palmes, P. (Sept 2014). “A new look: 15 things you must know about the upcoming ISO 9001 revision”. Also, there are opportunities to network with experts through ASQ section meetings and through webinars.

How do I get started?

Seek advice from your Registrar about how they are directing their auditors to assess risk. You may want to write a new risk management procedure containing the concepts and body for a risk-based thinking process. It should follow the steps of the standard you want to use, such as NIST SP80-31. (The NIST standard and NASA procedures/ standards are free to the public.)

There will be more blogs on details of risk-based thinking to follow. Of course, Concentric is in place to be the external resource for you to succeed in implementing a good risk-based thinking process. For Glenn's full article register for our upcoming ISO 9001:2015 Forum - January Webinar. You can get update on all the changes including risk-based thinking. Register online here.

White Paper: Strategic Planning

Download our latest White Paper Keys to Competitiveness using Strategy. In this paper you will learn the tools to begin to developing an organization strategy plan and use it as a foundation for setting your organization up for success. Here is an excerpt:

How important do you feel planning is to remain competitive? Do companies routinely take time to plan? Typically…no. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) It is far more exciting to be reactive – to be the hero that solves the problem at the time of crisis. Whatever adrenaline rush you get from this, it is a poor way to run a business. Many of your competitors ARE planning. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage. However there are some companies are not planning. So applying this discipline gives you the competitive advantage over others.

It all starts with strong leadership.

Great leaders inspire others to greatness. They get more energy and creativity from their staff than complacent managers. They help create vision, urgency, discipline, and accountability – many keys to successful strategic planning. Leadership is needed for strategic plan development, strategic plan implementation, and strategic plan systematization.

You need to ask yourself this one question… Are you a strong leader that is ready for the strategic planning processes? 

To read the entire White Paper: Keys to Competitiveness Using Strategy you can download it here.

Turtle Diagrams

A "Turtle Diagram" is a quality tool used to visually display process characteristics such as inputs, outputs (expectations), criteria (metrics) and other high-level information to assist in the effective execution and improvement of key business processes.

7 Steps to Having the Best Year Ever

7 Steps to Having the Best Year Ever

Around this time every year, I take a few hours to begin my month-long+ process of reflecting on happenings and results that went right and wrong during the current calendar year.  Do I have the things I wanted to have?  Did I do the things I wanted to do?  Did I become or remain the person that I aimed to be?

The best way for me to evaluate this at the highest level is to review the top priorities I set for myself for the year.  Every year, I come up with a "theme" that is easy for me to write down and, more importantly, easy for me to recall on a regular basis.  In 2009, the theme was "The Year of the G" - girls (my wife and daughters), guitar and golf.  In 2012, the theme as been "Steep Trajectory" - quick improvements in my health, spiritual leadership in my family, personal finances and business development.

Step #1 - Creating a theme or strategy for the year is the starting point of defining and realizing your dreams.  Visualize yourself at the end of 2013 and try to capture as many details in this visualization as possible.  One great example and short exercise that is quick, simple and a lot of fun is to answer the following questions about how December 2013 looks in your dreams:

  • What do you look like in a year from now?  Are you better dressed, thinner, have that mole removed?
  • What daily habits - good and bad - will be different?  More days at at the gym that year?  Less time behind a computer?
  • Is your life more balanced than it is currently?
  • How much time and energy have you spent in helping others?
  • How active have you been in your child's life as a parent, volunteer, mentor and role model?

This morning, as I begin my visualization and commitments to 2013, I have started Step 1 by printing off an annual calendar with a monthly view.  Success in realizing your dreams is to break the dream down into actionable steps that can be taken daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.  I often refer to this as a "Goal Converter".  See examples of how this can be applied to your organization in the Goal Converter blog from June 23, 2011 - http://cmsicharleston.com/2011/06/23/goal-converter from June 23, 2011.

Step #2 - Once you've defined the top 3-5 high level goals for 2013, print out this 2013 Calendar - Monthly View and write in the tactical steps needed to realize your goals.  Start with the simple stuff in order to gain momentum.  Here are some examples:

  • January 15th and July 15th - Schedule dentist appointments
  • Monthly budget review (pick the day that works best for you)
  • Schedule "Dude's Weekend" camping trip for the weekend after Labor Day
  • Document key birthdays, anniversaries and other events
  • Vacation planning - especially MANY MINI vacations throughout the year such as short hikes, camping, festivals, etc.

Step #3 - The next step is to keep this paper copy of the year's plan in front of you as an evergreen rough draft.  Pin it to the board near your desk or carry it in your laptop bag.  Once plans and specific dates are a bit more locked into place, enter these key events and tasks into your favorite electronic program.  I would personally recommend Google Apps in order to manage your calendar, task list, share invitations, organize email, etc.

Step #4 - Take 10-15 minutes every Friday afternoon and again on Sunday evenings to visualize the week ahead.  If you have not already, ensure you have moved all unfinished tasks to the following week.  Add new tasks to the list for the upcoming week.  By visualizing the week ahead and having a method to capture the never-ending number of to-do's, you will minimize the anxiety that can often be associated with the Sunday evening panic.

Step #5 - Take 10-15 minutes every morning to visualize your day.  I call this TWS or "Thoughts While Shaving".  Once you get into the office, or as you sit down for your money cup of coffee, ensure your daily tasks are captured and prioritized.  Make sure you include tasks outside of work such as picking up the kids, hitting the gym, picking up your dry cleaning or calling a friend.  NOTE:  Whatever you do, avoid starting your day off by checking email.  Sure, email is important.  But by starting you day with email, you allow the demands of others or irrelevant distractions to control your day.  Lock in your daily plan, begin working on critical tasks, then check emails.

Step #6 - Reward yourself for closure of individual tasks.  What works well for me is to create an empty box by each task.  Once that task is complete, I check it off.  I then go onto my Google Calendar and mark the electronic task box with a check.  I absolutely LOVE to check the box!

Step #7 - Take the time each week/month/year to go back and review all of the boxes that were checked - signifying the individual steps you took to realize your goals.  Too often (and I'm extremely bad about this), we focus on what we did NOT get done.  We do not take the time to appreciate what WAS done.  Imagine your parents doing this to you.  Don't do it to yourself.  Take the time to celebrate, study, learn and improve.

Thank you for reading this blog.  As a reward, here is a free download:  2013 Calendar - Monthly View (Editable Version)

All the best in the New Year!
-JRT

"Of all our human resources, the most precious is the desire to improve." - My latest fortune cookie

Quick FREE conference call tool in a pinch

Many times I find myself in a pinch with regard to communicating with our consultants or customers in multiple geographical locations.  As a fan of avoiding costly monthly subscriptions and buying more equipment than we need, a simple solutions such as http://www.freeconference.com/ has proven to be a great option.  This service is web-based with no required software downloads.  Click here - Introductory Movie  - for a video overview of this service.

Link:  http://www.freeconference.com/