Posts Tagged ‘Customer Value’

The Pyzdek Institute Project Charter – A forgotten but an extremely important tool

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Why create a charter it seems just like busy work? I mean the boss wants this done NOW why waste the time on creating a charter? Good questions, but I can guarantee you a charter is NOT a waste of your time, nor the bosses time either. Do you remember the school yard game where you would line up and tell the person next to you something and have them pass it on. What was said at the end of the line? Was it ever the same thing? I’d say NO. Why is that? Because as much as we think we state things clearly the receiver never gets it exactly like what we said. I see this all the time in training and working in teams. We are such a diverse group of people that our individual picture of what is said gets mixed with what we know and that changes the thought.

So we write a charter to capture the “true” reason we are doing the project. It is the best way to capture and pass on what you are doing. With out it your team may get lost very quickly as the direction at the beginning is slightly different in everyone’s mind.

The charter is more than a simple statement of the project objective. It hold a lot of information so everyone gets the same “picture” of what we are doing. Some things in a charter may seem redundant but they are not. They are stating the approach to the issue in a slightly different way so other will get the complete picture of what is happening. You will find that you will come back to the charter time and again to bring the team back on task for what they were brought together to accomplish. So lets look at what should be in your charter.

The Header Block

  • Project Name
  • Black/ Green Belt Name & Telephone Number – Who will be the project Lead and their phone number
  • Sponsor Name – Who will be the project Sponsor

Note: A sponsor is ALWAYS needed. The Sponsor will be a top level manager that the project will impact and help the most . This Sponsor will help remove road blocks as the team encounters them. Plus the Sponsor will be the main conduit to top management that will need to support this project as well.

  • The Project Start and Target Completion Date. Management will not support a project that they do not have some time frame to complete.
  • Projected Annual Savings – All Six Sigma Project need to return savings back to the company. Top Management talks in big dollars so to get their support this had better be big dollars.
  • Type of Savings –  There are basically two types of savings Hard savings and cost avoidance.
    • Hard Savings – This is savings that impact the “bottom line.” This means that at the end of this project someone, the sponsor most likely, will be reducing his/her budget to show a hard decrease in spending by the company.
    • Cost Avoidance – This is a savings that may not impact the bottom line as it is a savings that avoids an expense that is causing, in many cases, a department to overrun their budget. This is things like scrap and rework.

The Project Detail Block

  •  Opportunity Statement (Current State) – Here we need to describe the problem as briefly as we can but with enough detail that everyone understands it.
  • The Project objective (Future State) – I like to call this a vision statement of the future state of the process. Many times this makes it easier for others to “picture” what it will look like when the project is complete. It should be specific, measurable and attainable within the time frame of the project.
  • Business Case – This statement needs to tie this opportunity to the company goals and objective and defines why we need to do it NOW. In other words it is a statement showing us the  “burning platform” or real need to do it now.

The Metrics for DPMO Calculations Block

  •  Opportunity Definition – Above we gave a brief description of the opportunity. Here we provide some details as to where an error could be made or a defect could be created. For example an employee filling a form, or the manufacturing of a part or feature, or an interaction with a customer.
  • Defect Definition – In this area we describe what is an unacceptable condition for the opportunity mentioned above and describe the value for the metric? For example: a form returned  for missing or incorrect information, a defect in a part or feature, or a customer placed on hold for over ten minutes.
  •  Metrics – The metric is one or more measurements of the defect described above. This may seem hard to define right now but believe me when I say management when they saw this problem it was not a touchy feely thing it had hard number associated to it. Numbers they want to see changes in. It could be dollars, volume, time, or number of customers but there are numbers that are the metrics YOU need to improve. Sometimes even management does not quite know what they are but it is your job to ask why they think they see this as an issue and find the metric!
    •  Before Project – Here list a value for the metric that is what Management/Sponsor/Team thinks it is today. Later in the measure phase we will actually measure these and get them exact.
    • After Project – Here list a value for the metric that is what Management/Sponsor/Team expect you to achieve. In the Improve phase we will report on how well we did in meeting this metric and goal.

Project Scope Block

The best way I can describe this is when looking at the process you are trying to improve. What steps of that process will be looked at in this project. This will help you keep the project focus and not have what I call scope creep due to not know what areas of the company this project will cover. It also should be noted that you need to make sure the scope is not to big ( you can not solve world hungry, you may be able to only solve hungry in your neighborhood).

  • First Process Step (Start) –  This is the very first step of the business process that you are trying to improve. This IS NOT the first step of the DMAIC process.
  • Last Process Step (Stop) – This is the very last step of the business process that you are trying to improve. This IS NOT the last step of the DMAIC process.
 Potential Adverse Impacts – Here we have to think about what impacts to the process this project might have besides the listed metrics. Plus what other process might be impacted by the improvements to this process. For instance there may be in the process several things that it does good and we do not what the project to make them worse. Also Improving one process may in fact make another one worse.
  • Besides identifying them you will want to explain how you will monitor them to insure no impact.

Milestones and Expected Dates Block

The Milestones are the all the basic steps to completing a project including the five phase DMAIC process. I know you have the project Start and estimated completion dates above, but you will need an estimated completion time for each of the five step of DMAIC. These will be milestones to you and management on how well the project is moving. It is better to make adjustment as you go then to find you are way behind and over budget near the end of the project.

  •  Core Team Member Block
  • Core Team Members – list here the member of the project team. Include their phone number so everyone will knopw how to contact each other.
  • DACI – Here you will define the DACI roles they will

Well there you have the basic components of the Pyzdek Institutes six sigma project charter. At least from my prospective. If you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them below or you can contact me.


Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Reviews on training and coaching from students of the Pyzdek Institute

Friday, January 27th, 2012

If you are or were a student of mine in the Pyzdek Institute please feel free to write a review and send it to me at and I will include it here:

I liked the format of this on-line course. The video “”lectures”” were great. Concise yet thorough. The assignments made a big difference. If I had not done the assignments, I would have left with an incomplete understanding of the subject matter. The fact that Peter also held me to a high standard was important. The mini lectures on various topics using Minitab and Excel, for example, were also very helpful. They saved me a lot time yet pointed me to the right location in the application. I did get stumped on the modules dealing with distributions. It took a couple of weeks (!) to feel comfortable with that subject. 1/26/12 Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Student

Pyzdek Institutes Training Best Quality Program

Monday, January 16th, 2012

The training we use at Bersbach Institute, at no additional cost to you, is found as the best quality program by World Class Manufacturing (WCM).

Plus when you add the coaching option Bersbach Consulting offers, especially with the Affiliate discount, you really have a great training program.

Six Sigma Certification Cost Comparison.

Do Customers Know What They Really Want?

Friday, August 19th, 2011

In an earlier article, “Creating Customer Value” I explained that to insure you are creating customer value at any given step or your process you need to ask and answer three questions with a yes. They are:

  1. Did the thing in the process change?
  2. Does the customer care about this change?
  3. Was it done right the first time?


Well in those three questions is one from the customers view point “Does the customer care about this change?” Many time we do not really understand or see this view (customer cares about) clearly. We might say for them to care about something that they must understand what they want. Well let try to set the record straight on this one.

First, I’d like to start with my definition of customer value (Want):

Customer value is a product or service that is received by the customer at the right time, place, cost and functions AS DEFINED BY THE CUSTOMER.

It should be noted that time, place, and cost are all parts of your delivery process (which we try to streamline) and only function addresses the actual product or service once in hand of the customer. In the titles question many times we only focus on this “function” but if we do, we miss three other major parts of customer value and may loose the customer because of that narrow sightedness. So DO NOT FORGET the other parts of customer value.

But now let’s talk about this “function” in terms of what the customer wants. I have had discussions with some colleagues that will hold fast; that the customer DOES NOT always know what they want. And, I can not fault them on it when it come to the exact details of what they want. A good example I was given was my colleague said his wife’s birthday was coming up and he had no idea what to get her. I believe him, I have the same problem but some how he and I both get something they like. How does that happen? I think it because we don’t know the details but we do have some more global thoughts (even if they are what NOT to get her). So in reality we do have some, even though vague, ideas of what to get. And those thought will lead us to some places that we think we can find that present.

For instance, my wife love to help in the remodeling of the house, but it will not be “my friendly hardware store” that I will go to purchase her present. No I’ll, and so might my colleagues, go to stores that my wife goes and buys things for herself. I do know what she likes and dislikes as I see what she purchases at these stores. Plus with a little help, I hope, for the store personnel, I can find something that will be just the right thing. It usually works well.

So does the customer always know what they want? I say a BIG YES!! Maybe not the details. But if I walk into your place a business there was a reason and your sales persons will need to understand that and work with me to fill in the details or I will probably go somewhere where I will find the help.

Well there you have it. Customers do know what they want even if it is some what vague. So I hope you are listening when they show up. There are other articles on Customer value that you can find on my blog . As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me.


Bersbach Consulting

Peter Bersbach

Six Sigma Master Black Belt



The Ever Changing Voice of the Customer

Friday, July 15th, 2011

In Six Sigma, we are very focused on the Voice of the Customer and creating Value for the customer. But getting our arms around this thing value is not real easy. In fact, I believe that it is this constant changing of what is of value that keeps all Quality folks employed. You see, over time, customers change and what they think is of value changes as well.

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to send someone a message most of the time you would mail them a letter. If it was really important, you could fax or telegram them. But today we have Email, Twitter, and Face book. I am not sure anyone really writes letter today. So here, you see a change in what is of value to “customer” (at least customers of the post office). In today’s market, the Post office continues to raise rates to cover costs. There is a think called the Kano Model that explains this very well.

The Kano Model:

The Kano model is a chart with that has two axis and three levels of quality or characteristics.

The two axis are Customer Satisfaction (this is their perception of satisfaction) and Customer Expectation (this is the reality of how well the expectation was met [usually in a percentage]). Some have labeled Customer Satisfaction as Quality.

Customer Satisfaction – This axis runs vertical with the top end of the axis (scale) being extremely satisfied and the bottom of the axis being extremely dissatisfied.

Customer Expectation – This axis runs horizontal with the left end of the axis (scale) being 0% expectations met and the right end of the axis being 100% of the expectations being met.

Note: the two axis cross dead center of each line.

The three levels of quality or characteristics are Must (Basic Quality), Wants (Expected Quality) and WOW (Exciting Quality)

Must (Basic Quality; Dissatisfiers) – These are characteristics do not sale a product but the customer assumes they are there. These are things like brakes, windows and tires on a car. Customers expect them to be there and will walk if they are not. But they are not on the list of things (specifications) customer walk in looking for in a product. You will note that in the Kano Model (fig. 1 below) the MUST curve lies totally below the Customer Expectation axis line representing dissatisfaction. This means providing must characteristics alone will not satisfy the customer.

Wants (Expected Quality; Satisfiers) – These characteristics are what the customer wants to see. Here the customer has come in specifically looking for these. With items that are more complex the customer has a list, specification, or drawing that includes all of these characteristics. Examples of these are a particular color, and multi-year warranty, or a short wait time. Customer usually will use these to decide to buy or not. In the Kano Model, these characteristics (Wants) are a straight line. Where it shows the customer is dissatisfied if there Wants are not met. But their satisfaction increases as more of these characteristics are met.

WOW (Exciting Quality; Delighters) – These characteristics are sale the product if all the others are met. These are characteristics that are above and beyond the customers expectations. Here the customer receives more than they expected. Examples of these characteristics are: collision avoidance systems, life time warranties, and free upgrades for life.  In the Kano Model, the curve for the WOW characteristics is completed above the customer expectation axis.


Figure 1: Kano Model

You will notice another line in this model in the upper right hand corner labeled “Competitive Push”.  This is what represents the “ever changing customer voice”.  You see things that WOW, delight and are unexpected today will be wanted and expected tomorrow (in the near future) and become must have and basic requirements further into the future. Things never stand still. Having a Desktop Computer instead of a mainframe terminal was a WOW in the eighties. In the nineties Desktops were wanted/expected and the Laptop was a WOW. Now Desktops are Musts with Laptops a Want and the IPAD the WOW. Who no’s what is next, but I can bet someone is coming up with that next WOW that will push the Desktop off the chart just like the wire dialup phone and the pay phone booth.

This model gives us an idea of how customer’s expectation (value) is constantly changing. One they see something they like most likely someone will make it affordable for that customer and soon. Who know some day we will all have a spacecraft in our garages and there will no longer be a need for streets. What a confusing airspace we will have. Oh well expectations will keep changing and those in the quality profession will constantly be watching for those shifts in customer expectations.

Well there you have my thoughts on the ever changing voice of the customer and the Kano Model. I hope this helps you with your projects’ focus on customer value and where it might have moved.

Oh, think what would happen if where you worked moved its product focus to a different industry, group or customer set. What happens to the model now?? Most likely, all the characteristics would still exist, but the customers expectation of each may change dramatically. Wow’s, What’s and Must’s could be totally reshuffled.

If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt


The NFL Talks Missing some Six Sigma Rigor

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

As practitioners of Six Sigma you may have caught this, but there are two important elements that the NFL talks have missed and I feel will lead to poor results or none at all. These two important elements are the concept of Customer Value, or some may say “stakeholder” value. Second is the concept of Teamwork. This second one I would think they would get since Football is a “Team” sport, but maybe not.

Customer Value

Customer or stakeholder value in solving an issue, involves insuring we know who the customer and or stakeholders are. Generally speaking you look at where the money comes from, Customers (fans). This is why in most places we talk about “customer Value”.  I also like to expand the “customer” to be all stakeholders because without all stakeholders a product can not be produced. So I define Stakeholders in three. Those three groups are:

1.      Customers – Where the income (money) comes from.

2.      Stockholders/owners – Who’s money is invested in the business and that investment is being spent to produce the value for the customer. Yon this group because in all businesses you have to spend money to make money. Customer pay for product at delivery usually not in advance.

3.      Employees/ Players – Who perform the “manufacturing of the product” for the customer.

Both the Stockholders/owners and the Employees/Players are investing time and/or money to create a value for the customer.

So where is the customer in the NFL talks? In businesses that are working similar issue this point and input would not be left out of the discussion, where clearly it is in the NFL talks. Businesses include them because the solution may not even be focus on increasing value to the customer. Which means insuring that the change will increase customer value thus increase profits.  When customers are left out ( even though they don’t know they are) they go some where else. That is what happened in the steel industry. That is also what was and may still be going on in the automotive industry.

By the way value can be defined (Seen) by asking three simple questions and you are creating value IF and only IF you answer yes to all three. They are:

  1. Does the Customer Care ( Is the customer willing to pay for this change)
  2. Did the “thing” in the process change. (With all the step you go through in changing a Flat tire ONLY removing the flat and placing the new tire on the car are value added.
  3. Last was it done right the first time. Customer do not like to pay for repairs or rework.


Teamwork in not decision making by concession or compromise it is decision making by consensus  or accord. To do that you have to pick you team members carefully. They need to come from all three stakeholder groups and each member needs to have the following qualities:

  1. Wants to make a difference by improving the process creating a better working place.
  2. Is willing to work on and support the team “project”.
  3. Is willing to take the risk of offering “Wild” ideas
  4. Is willing to withhold judgment
  5. Can “Piggyback off other’s ideas
  6. Is willing to LISTEN (no side talks)


As you can see not all the stakeholders are on the team and those that are there do not or will not agree with the 6 items above. In the six sigma world of problem solving this will only lead to disaster.

Well there you have my thoughts on the NFL talks. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.


Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt

QFD on a Defense Contract

Friday, March 18th, 2011
Peter L. Bersbach Philip R. Wahl
Quality Engineering Quality Engineering
GM Hughes Electronics GM Hughes Electronics
Tucson, Arizona El Segundo, California

I wrote this and presented this at the 1990 ASQ Quality Congress but thought some may find it interesting and informative.


This paper describes a real life application of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to a factory of the future in the Aerospace and Defense industry. The factory of the future is a proposed high rate low cost microwave hybrid manufacturing facility. It is felt that without the application of QFD the facility will never achieve its goal of high rate and low cost. More a diary than a historical account, this paper describes an application that is still in progress. The completion of the project is planned for 1992.

Besides the goals of high rates and low cost mentioned above, several other reasons for the choice of QFD as a tool for managing this project will be covered. Some examples are: customer requirements, better company communications, and the integration of customer requirements into production requirements.

This paper discusses the resources required by QFD on this project. These resources include personnel needed for cross departmental teams; personnel needed for formal and informal facilitation and training; time spent in training and team meetings; and other costs such as software, tools, and equipment required to implement process controls.

A description of the QFD tools (matrices) employed and how they were employed, as well as, why certain QFD tools were not used and why others were modified to better fit the situation is discussed. This project incorporated a mix of the ASI basic waterfall of four basic, but large, matrices and the GOAL/QPC approach of 32 smaller matrices.

An in-depth look into the obstacles encountered will be presented. Included will be the understanding and overcoming of any resistance to this new approach by management, as well as the removal of any barriers found between departments. The obstacle of ignorance toward QFD is also discussed, with the approaches used to educate all of its advantages explained.

Finally, this paper provides the complete description of the results achieved. This includes the accomplishments, failures,

and the current status of the project. Also it will look at the future plans and goals that the project has and will try to project a completion date when the development of new matrices will essentially stop and the maintenance of the old ones begin.



In October of 1988, a team of engineers from Hughes Aircraft, Delco Electronics, General Electric, AT&T, and Pacific Monolithics, was formed to write a proposal for a factory of the future. The Air Force had requested bids from several companies to assemble a manufacturing process capable of building Microwave Modules (Hybrids) at a rate of at least 1000 Modules a day and at a cost of less than $400 each. The intent was to use this module in a low cost active array radar system that was as good as or better than the current radar systems found in today’s aircraft.

Hughes calculated it could meet the Air Force challenge by using the right mix of technology and people. A proposal team of experts from all areas of engineering and manufacturing, including a group of quality engineers was pulled together. From the start, the program management understood the need to design and build quality into the product. In our case management decided to get involved and stay involved supplying momentum to this quality effort throughout the program. They felt that a new management approach was needed to obtain high rates, low cost, and maintain the product quality and reliability. Management believed that by insuring quality in the product, rework and scrap would be reduced or eliminated, which would cause yields to increase and reduce costs to our customers. This new approach required quality involvement at every stage of the program. Involvement at the proposal writing stage, to designing of the module, to high rate production of the final product. The quality team introduced the rest of the staff to Quality Function Deployment (QFD) .

The Hughes team was one of the teams awarded a contract to develop this module production line. The project is now in Phase 1 and 2 of 4, the Module Design for Affordability Manufacturing Phase. Currently there are ten QFD teams developing matrices, with several more teams anticipated before the completion of Phase 4.


There were three reasons for using QFD on the project: customer requirements, improved communications, and better integration of customer requirements into production requirements. The customer did not specifically call out QFD, but his request for quotes placed a heavy interest in the implementation of a Total Quality Management (TQM) System.

The Department of Defense is restructuring its management system toward a TQM system. Project management envisioned that a team of quality experts could pull together the best tools for the TQM system. The TQM system would require process controls with little or no formal inspection of the product. Convincing the Air Force that the process controlled the product quality and that we had control of the process would be critical.

In addition, the product needed to be characterized by a high rate process that could be manufactured at a low cost. Both of these require designing quality into the product. Designers now realized they had another customer, process or manufacturing engineering. To address these diverse customer requirements and not lose sight of the external customer needs, QFD became a major element of the TQM system.

The second reason for QFD -communications -became apparent right at the start of writing the proposal. We, the internal customers, were transmitting complex information (Whats) and ideas (Hows) thousands of miles, from Delco in Indiana, to Hughes in California, to General Electric in New York, to AT&T in Pennsylvania, to Pacific Monolithics in California, to Hughes in Arizona, and then back again. A tool was needed to keep the team focused and on track with the customers needs. Team members familiar with QFD knew that QFD could fill this need. The matrix structure of QFD allowed each team member to bring his or her expertise to the table and have direct input into the design and manufacture of the module. Everyone’s contributions were recorded on the matrix and reviewed by the team through this process, lines of communication were clearly established and exploited. Once completed the matrix represented the best of all areas that met both the internal and external customer needs.

The final reason for QFD is better integration of customer requirements into production requirements. QFD requires teamwork and simultaneous engineering since each company, group, and department involved in building the product is another smaller, but just as important; customer. As customers they have wants (or Whats) that need to be filled by their suppliers. Design engineering can always design a product that the external customer wants but if manufacturing cannot produce it, in volume and at a low cost, then the company will fail in its attempt to produce the product. In our case we already had a working product, but it was too costly and volumes were too low to meet our external customer requirements. Some of this excess cost and time was due to old technology, but most was due to a lack of understanding of the internal customers (other companies, groups, and departments) requirements. Through teamwork and simultaneous engineering each area was represented on the QFD team. Each area had an input into how we were to meet our external customers needs (Whats), as well as that external customer (see Fig. 1) . Included were the difficulties associated with each “How” so that the team could decide the optimal approach for solving and meeting our customers needs.


The primary resource needed was our experts and their time to work on the team activities. The first matrix developed was the “Requirements Matrix” which laid the foundation for development of new teams and matrices. Several of the Requirement Matrix team members were on subsequent matrix teams. In fact, at least one member of the Requirements Matrix team is found on every team developed. This aided in keeping the voice of the customer moving into and through each subsequent matrix. Each team is made up of four to thirteen members. As each team became larger, it was harder for that team to reach a consensus. with the size of each team being restricted, it was extremely important that we selected the right team members. Each team member had to bring to the team an expertise that was unique and important in fulfilling the teams goals. On our Requirements Matrix we had thirteen team members from the areas listed in Table 1.

Each member received four to eight hours of training on QFD before any work started on the matrix development. In fact everyone working on the program was given this training. In some cases, a second day of training was included. On the second day, Taguchi methods of Design of Experiments was covered. A select few went through several weeks of Design of Experiments (DOE) training covering Taguchi, Box, and Shainin methods. This extensive training augmented the QFD process. Once trained, the teams met for two hours twice a week, which often requires the use of other Quality Tools such as DOE, until the initial matrix was completed in about two to three months. Thereafter, the frequency and duration were reduced to an as needed basis. Currently once every two weeks the House of Quality team formally meets to update the matrix. This matrix maintenance will continue for the life of the program. QFD is never completed, it is continuously refined and improved.


TABLE I: House of Quality Team Composition
Design Engineering System Engineering
Process Engineering Material Office
Test Engineering Reliability Engineering
Contract Office Engineering Program Office (2 Individuals)
Quality Engineering Business Office
Manufacturing Engineering QFD Facilitator (Quality)

Methods Used

The program TQM (QFD) facilitators were trained in two basic approaches to QFD. The two were the American Standards Institute (ASI) approach, which uses a few large matrices, and the GOAL/QPC approach, which uses several smaller matrices (see Fig. 2) . Adhering to a principle stated by Bob King (President of GOAL/QPC) , we used “the pieces” of both methods that worked best for us. Our method employed a foundation of one small matrix (the Requirements Matrix) .The matrix was developed to gain the “Voice of the Customer” and determine critical design requirements (see Fig. 3) .Then a functional tree diagram was developed to aid in selecting design concepts and technologies to be used for each function. At this stage, about ten specialized materials matrices were developed. These matrices were used in trading off different design concepts or for developing the processes to be used with the above technology. In retrospect, we trained our teams basically in the ASI approach and used more of a GOAL/QPC approach in the- actual designs.


Initially, ignorance of QFD was the biggest obstacle. Very few of the proposal team members knew what QFD was. Our saving grace was the customer interest in three basic elements.

1.              TQM system (understand that TQM includes QFD)

2.              The requirement for a low cost module (less than $400.00)

3.              The requirement for a high rate manufacturing operation (over 1000 modules per day)


As mentioned before, these three elements of the request for bid sent a direct message to management: control of product quality is mandatory. Thus management supported the quality group efforts for training and implementation of the TQM system which included QFD. without managements support and active participation, QFD had no real chance of being effective.

A second obstacle was the resistance to change that was felt from many areas or departments involved. QFD was new to each area and that usually means resistance to change. Most have found ways of doing their job, and doing it fairly effectively. They understood that things could be improved but unless “others” followed suit, their efforts would be wasted. Management led the way, convincing others that all involved should listen and learn the tools needed to complete their jobs in the best possible way. Management also participated in both the training and design of the matrices. This role modeling had high payoffs. Engineers entered the training with open minds and exited with new tools to help them do their job better. The program, in turn, now had a new way of doing business.

Do we still find resistance? Yes, some. Just when one group thinks it is finished and does not need the QFD matrices, it discovers other ways to improve the process. This means reassessing the QFD matrices to see how the new approach will effect the overall system and the customer needs. There is also resistance by the teams to integrate their jobs with other TQM tools such as DOE and SPC. Although many are using QFD in their jobs, other elements remain to be integrated. There are elements in the lower level QFD’s that only a DOE will show the true interaction between. It is a logical step that tends to be missed. Our planned solution is to train the staff sufficiently in DOE to make that logical step, and then do the same for SPC.


To date, the QFD effort has been very successful. All the disciplines involved in the program have been trained on QFD, and over 10 teams (matrices) have been developed or are being worked (see Fig. 4). The QFD process has also been very successful at helping us truly hear and understand the voice of the customer. By clearly and effectively communicating with the customer through the QFD process, we are now better equipped to satisfy his needs. QFD is definitely putting us and our customer in the “win-win” situation. QFD is also fostering teamwork and simultaneous engineering, the benefits of which are always desirable.

Even though we have been very successful there have been failures. Some teams staggered because of unclear problem and goal definitions. It is very important that this definition be done when the team is first organized. An overall lack of experience by our team members and facilitators was another problem. This was overcome largely by the robustness of the QFD process and the creativity and cooperation of the team members. We also discovered that the size of the matrices and the number of team members must be manageable. As the matrices get larger, and the participants increase, evaluating all the relationships becomes overwhelming. Although the size of the matrix varies and must not be reduced only to reduce the workload, a 25 by 25 matrix is very manageable and capable of yielding excellent results.

As mentioned earlier another failure was the lack of integration of all the quality tools into the engineer’s daily job. Only further training and time will tell if we fail at this task. However, successful and full integration of all the quality tools into the engineer’s daily job will assure quality is being built into the’ product the first time.

The program is still in the development stage with a lot of paper being scrapped, but no losses of materials and no unusable production equipment purchased. The manufacturing matrices are being developed with the controls and verification matrices roughed out. By the middle of 1990, most of the QFD matrices should be complete, with only continuous maintenance needed to sustain their impact on the program. The first production part should be coming off the new process and an evaluation of the benefits of the whole TQM system can start. We anticipate that a few adjustments to both the process and the QFD matrices will be made to assure our efforts, and product, reflect our customers needs.


1.) American Supplier Institute, Quality Function DeDloY!l1ent OFD. Dearborn,MI. ASI Press 1988

2.) King, Bob, Better Designs In Half the Time. First Ed. Methuen,MA: GOAL/QPC, 1987

3.) Re Velle, Jack B., The New Quality Technology. Los Angeles,CA: Hughes Aircraft Company, 1988

LCS; 600-10-991


Well there you have my use of Quality Fuction Deployment and the House of Quaoity. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.


Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Comparing Non-Numeric (Discrete)Data

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

In reality this is only non-numeric in the sense that it is data we collect about the presence or absence (nominal data) of some characteristic or attribute of an item. Usually we take this data and transform it into a count of the characteristic;  like the number of “naughty” or “nice” kids on Santa’s list. Or, more practical to some, the number of red cars going through an intersection; the number of order forms with mistakes in them, etc. These counts are all called nominal scale measurements.  This scale of measurement gives us the least amount of information of the four types of measurement scales (Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, Ratio).

The question I’d like to address here is once you have the data how can you compare it to a standard or another collection to determine if there is a significant difference between the two. An example of this is with order forms. Say you made, what you think is an improvement in the way you handle orders but you really want to know if there actually is an improvement. How do you do that? You can use what is called the Chi Square Test.

Chi Square Test

Chi Square Test is used to evaluate count data presented in 2-dimensional tables (rows and columns) to answers the question: “Do the groups differ with regard to the proportion of items in the categories?” In our order form example we might have these three categories: No Errors, Minor Errors, and Major Errors. We would collect data from these three categories, before and after the improvement.

Lets say before the improvement we had 60% error free, 30% minor errors and 10% major errors. After the improvement we looked at 136 orders and found that 93 were error free, 33 had minor errors, and 36 had major errors.

Our two dimensional table would look like this ( In this table Chi Squared is the value marked X2):

For those who want to calculate the Chi Square value the formula is below:

BUT !!! there is an easier way using Excel formulas. To do this we need to use the “CHITEST”formula in Excel.

  • The “CHITEST” performs the comparison for you and calculates the probability that the two are the same.

    So in our example I entered the formula: =CHITEST(Actual Range [new process], Expected Range[old process]) OR =CHITEST(B2:B4,D2:D4)

As you can see this gives us a formula result of 0.0000004152 or 0% [.00004152%]. This says the probability that the new and the old process  are the same is 0%. The two processes are different! Looking at the counts you can see the new process improved minor errors but increased major errors. Go back to old process!

Well there you have my thoughts on comparing non-numeric data. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

[Note: Most of the information for this article comes from “The Six Sigma Handbook”[i]]

Why do we measure things? To see how things are, or if change has occurred or to understand something. Measurement is just looking at something and describing it in numbers. The rules (mapping functions) that we use to describe the “thing” in numbers provide us with a model of reality. If this model is correct (valid) we can learn about the real world by studying the model and the numbers that it predicts. Without these measurements systems astronomers could not describe the make up of galaxies billions of light-years away from us.

Every questions we have starts in the real world But to understand the question and come up with the answer we use mapping functions (rules) to describe the real world question using numbers. There are times when we map to a non numeric entities in the real world, Like a question about color but we convert these into numbers like the number of red things in a room. These characteristics (elements) are X’s. The “numbers” are Y’s derived using the mapping function as a transfer function of the elements into numbers.

A good example of this we all can relate to is the fuel tank on your car. It would be nice to know how much fuel is in your tank? That would be a measurement of the amount of fuel in your tank.

Real World – Your fuel tank with some amount of fuel in it.

Mapping function – A float with a sensor on a spindle connected to a fuel gage. The gage marked off in numerical intervals. Plus YOU reading the indicator.

Numbers – The gage needle pointing to a numerical value on the gage (like the 1/8 mark just above Empty (0))

Usage – Time to get gas!

Measurement Scales

Not all data (numbers we collect) are created equal. That does not mean some are better than others is just means that some tells us more information than other. You will find that our numbers fall into one of four scales. In teams that I have worked with I always bring up the discussion of measurement scales because not everyone looks at how they would measure something in the same way. Some may look at the fuel tank about as fuel empty or half full, other may talk in gallons of fuel. With that said we need to understand the scale we are going to measure the real world in. The scale of the data to be collected in the measurement process. .So here are the four measurement scales.

  • Nominal Scale – These are numbers that only indicate the presents or absence of an attribute. All we can do here is count items with or without this attribute.
  • Ordinal Scale – This scale gives us a little bit more information. With this scale we can say if an item has more or less of an attribute With this scale we can rank order items.

  • Interval Scale – This scale is use when we are measure the differences between observations. Interval scale numbers that are equally different represent differences of equal magnitude. The zero vale of an interval scale is arbitrary.

  • Ratio Scales – This scale is like Interval Scale except it has a true zero point. In other words you can have nothing less than zero.

Well there you have my thoughts on Measurement and the importance of your scale of measurement. Next time I am going to discuss the different statistical tool use for different scales of measurement. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt

[i] Thomas Pyzdek The Six Sigma Handbook, 2003, McGraw Hill

Creating Customer Value or should I say Removing Non Value

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I have seen many companies trying so hard to get their employees to work harder creating more value for their customers. Trying constantly to keep a competitive edge over the competition. And yet when they really look around their employees are working already so hard. In fact, I’d say, people are busy 99% of the time trying to do a good job. So how does a company today meet this challenge, it is in the things the people do. The process! It is not the “people” that creates the value, but the activity (process) they do that creates it. You can actually see this but looking at the “things” (paper or product) in the process evolving into customer needs. If you focus on the “things” in the process and NOT the people you will see that those “things sit there not doing a thing 99% of the time. So to increase value to your customers you need to take the time wasted by the things in the process  just sitting doing nothing and remove it.

How do you do that? Simple, buy looking at the entire process. Look at things people are working on. If you see things that no one is working on then you can bet there is no value being added. Those steps/activities should be eliminated thus removing wasted time from the process. This concept is applied using what is called a Value Added Flow Analysis and I am going to quickly give you the “How To” perform one.

Value Added Flow Analysis

  1. Capture all the steps in the entire activity/process from beginning to end.
    1. To do this you follow one of those “things” (paper or product) from the receiving dock to the customers hands.
    2. Record EVERTHING that happens and how long it takes. I mean everything! Including, for example, the “step” of the thing (order) sitting is a briefcase or notebook as it is transported back to the office to be entered into your system. Or the “step” of the thing (your lunch order at a restaurant) sitting on the note pad as it travels to the kitchen. EVERYTHING! This list will be long both in time and steps.
  2. Next you will take this list and look at each of those step and determine if it is value added or not. So how do you  determine if it is value added? Value added steps can be identified by answering three questions about each step. All three questions have to be answered YES! If any are answered no then they are “non value added steps” and need to be put on the list to be elimination or improvement. Here are the three questions:
  1. Does the thing in the process change? If the “thing” is paper was some information recorded on it? If the “thing” is a product was something added to it?
  2. Does the customer care about the change? In other word are they willing to pay for the change that happened to the thing in the process.
  3. Was it done right the first time? Remember that you, as a customer, do not what to pay for mistake or redo’s and you surely do not want to wait for the error to be corrected. This is of no value to you.

Once you have identified all the value added step then you need to eliminate or significantly improve all of the others. In a simple world you would just eliminate all of the non-value added steps. But our world that is not so easy to do, but I do feel you can eliminate about 75% of them.

    Non Value Added Step Eliminating:

    How can I be so sure that you can eliminate 75% of these steps; experience. Over the years I find over and over again that you can eliminate about 75% of the non value added steps. Look at one of your processes. When you first developed this “process” it was done a certain way. If lucky that way was written down as a procedure. But as time changed so have customer needs and to meet those needs you have adjusted your process. Over time with all the “adjustments” you now have a process that has several steps that are not needed any more to meet old needs that are no longer there. Another example maybe that the “process” has been handed down from employee to employee (no documentation) and each has done it slightly different. So in time the process has shifted from a originally good one to one that is different during which time the customer needs have changed as well. In either case steps have been left that create no value for your customer and need to be eliminated.

    Non Value Added Step Improvement:

    OK not everything can be eliminated. Why? Because many time we have more than one customer set of values and we have to prioritize, not eliminate, what we are doing. Be careful you are not micro managing something for you own interest and NOT your customers. A good example of a non value added step that can not be eliminated is Taxes. The “Paying Customer” does not care whether you pay them or not. But to stay in business you have to. Some look at the IRS as another customer (although not a paying one). So in these cases you have to look at ways of completing those steps as quickly and correctly as possible.

    Well there you have it. How to create value without something new, but by eliminating waste. That is of value to the customer in that it reduces cost without reducing quality and they receive it sooner than expected. If you like this article I have written several others on my blog . As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

    Bersbach Consulting
    Peter Bersbach
    Six Sigma Master Black Belt