Performance Enhancement of Team Retailing Through Six Sigma Applications

Performance Enhancement of Team Retailing Through Six Sigma Applications

Amritanshu Rajagopal (Dentalia, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-248-0.ch010
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The basic attributes of a good team include clear identification of goals, clarity of roles, common feeling, motivation, commitment and collaborative attitude (Rajagopal and Rajagopal, 2006a). The team selling approach is followed by many multinational companies for various products and services, which the customer faces as a firsttime buy and salespeople need to support such negotiations with comprehensive information needs. Team selling would also be advantageous when an account requires special treatment or a large number of people are involved in the process of buying decision. In addition, team selling is more likely to be employed when the potential sale is large for the representative firm and when the product is new to the product line of salespeople (Rajagopal, 2007). In a sales team each member of the group shows interest in the achievement and follows a systems approach which provides the framework or organizational principal for evaluating task in parts (Cummings, 1980). The members develop confidence, trust, and commitment to work in a team and rely on group communication on the given tasks and schedule.
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Dmaic Analysis

DMAIC is an analytical, data driven approach to eliminate weaknesses in active processes, products and services. This methodology is an acronym for the following five interconnected phases:

  • Define the process improvement goals that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategy.

  • Measure the current process and collect relevant data for future comparison.

  • Analyze to verify relationship and causality of factors. Determine what the relationship is, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered.

  • Improve or optimize the process based upon the analysis using techniques like Design of Experiments.

  • Control to ensure that any variances are corrected before they result in defects. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability and thereafter continuously measure the process and institute control mechanisms.

The purpose of the Control phase is to maintain the changes that the team made in the X’s in the transfer function equation in order to sustain the improvements in the Y’s. The team must document and monitor the process using the metrics defined earlier in DMAIC, evaluate the solution, assess the capability of the process over time, establish control systems to ensure that the solution works for the long term, standardize procedures, hand over the process to the process owners, and then calculate and document the gains. The objective of the Control phase is to establish the required action plan that reflects the finding from the Improve phase and to drive controls to sustain the improved performance. The team must ensure that the new process conditions are documented and then monitored via statistical process control methods. After a “settling in” period, the process capability should be reassessed. Depending upon the outcomes of such a follow-on analysis, it might be necessary to revisit one or more of the preceding phases.


Stages Of Control Phase

The team assesses the results of the implementation according to the implementation plan developed in the Improve phase. The most important thing is to ensure that the improvements enabled the process to achieve the business goals of the project. At this point, the team might find it necessary or wise to make minor adjustments, to tweak the process a little. The process team should ensure the stability of the process. If the team verifies that the process is stable, it then can determine process capability/process sigma. In the Control phase, the process of evaluating capability is repeated to ensure that improvement occurred. Calculate and document improved process capability:

  • Capability analysis (Cpk) study

  • Confidence intervals (review)

Monitor the process for sustainability to sustain the gains. Maintain the quality levels, and prevent the recurrence of problems. Validate the measuring system: In the Control phase, the process of validating the measurement system is repeated to ensure that improvement occurred.


Control Plan

The control plan is one of the marquee tools of the DMAIC process. It is of the important elements that differentiate Six Sigma projects from traditional projects. The control plan should extend well beyond control charts. It should, include procedures for process setup, monitoring, control, and troubleshooting. The plans need to be complete enough to ensure that the process owners and operators can maintain over time the gains achieved by the Six Sigma team. The control plan is a management tool to ensure that the process changes are maintained. Control plans provide a written description of the actions that are required at each phase of the process to ensure that all process, inputs and outputs will be in a state of control. Control plans are living documents maintained and updated throughout the life cycle of a process. Updates are made as measurement and processing systems are improved. Control plans ensure that improvements are sustained over time and that plans are in place that will continue to identify opportunities within the process.

These are the five elements of a complete control plan:

  • Training plan

  • Documentation plan

  • Monitoring plan

  • Response plan

  • Institutionalization plan, to align systems and structures

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