Thursday, August 01, 2013

Analyzing Business from a Customer Perspective Key to Creating Customer Satisfaction says Extension Specialist

Contact: Chrystal Irons, business development specialist
Tel: (417) 546-4431

FORSYTH, Mo. -- Every successful business strives to continually deliver goods and services that satisfy their customers according to Chrystal Irons, a business development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“A business is truly successful when it is able to adequately and efficiently provide the product or service their customers want, when they want it, how they want it and at a price they are willing to pay for it,” said Irons.

But, what happens if the business processes breakdown and that standard cannot be achieved? That is when Lean Six Sigma methodologies should be used to help a business solve issues according to Irons.

Lean Six Sigma combines two powerful process improvement methodologies focused on increasing efficiency, decreasing costs and reducing variability by designing a system that continuously responds to customer demand.

“Through Lean Six Sigma we can analyze business work processes from a customer perspective to determine the value the process brings to the customer,” said Irons.

A business work process is a group of linked activities with the purpose of producing a product or service for a customer.  Simply, a process is how the work gets done. For example, there are inventory processes, delivery processes and billing processes.

“Each step within a work process must create value for our customer. And by value we mean it represents something the customer is willing to pay,” said Irons.

For a step to be value-added it must meet the following three criteria:
1. The customer has to care about the step.
2. The step must either physically change the product or services in some way or be an essential prerequisite for another step.
3. The step must be done correctly the first time.

“Any process step that does not meet these criteria is determined to be unnecessary.  By eliminating these wasteful steps a business is able to improve the efficiency of their processes,” said Irons.

Using the tools, techniques and framework of Lean Six Sigma, a business is able to achieve process improvement by analyzing all steps within a process from the customers’ point of view.

“Doing this allows a business to deliver products and services the customers demand better, faster and at a reduced cost increasing customer satisfaction and creating business success,” said Irons.

For more information or assistance related to a current or future business, contact one of the MU Extension business specialists in the Ozarks: Chrystal Irons at (417) 546-4431, Kathy Macomber at (417) 682-3579 or Willis Mushrush at (417) 256-2391. There are also three Small Business and Technology Development Centers in southwest Missouri: Missouri State University in Springfield at (417) 836-5685, Missouri Southern University in Joplin at (417) 625-3128 or Missouri State University in West Plains at West Plains, (417) 256-9724.

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