Lean 6 Sigma within Field Support Organizations — Identifying as well as Eliminating Waste materials

You don’t have any doubt study various good examples where Slim Six Sigma was accustomed to identify as well as eliminate waste materials in each manufacturing amenities and support companies (we. e. banking institutions and private hospitals). The majority of us can quickly observe how concepts for example inventory decrease and enhanced product high quality are put on physical items or paperwork. But how about Field Support Organizations in which the primary item (the completed support request) is usually vaguely defined and also the main element (specialized expertise) is actually intangible? How may we apply exactly the same techniques to get the same outcomes (elevated speed, decreased costs, as well as improved high quality)?

In the following paragraphs we will concentrate on just one component of Lean 6 Sigma: Waste materials Reduction. While support managers might intuitively suspect that we now have many regions of waste inside their organization, they might not realize how the same tools accustomed to streamline manufacturing assembly lines may be used to improve area service procedures.

Let’s start by comparing the essential activities carried out in each a factory and something field business:

System Advices

Manufacturing: Revenue order is actually entered straight into the MRP
Area Service: Telephone call or e-mail by hand entered in to SMS


Manufacturing: MRP inspections parts share lead occasions, current stock, etc. prior to sending comprehensive demand in order to plant ground.
Field Support: Typically TEXT only inspections technician accessibility before dispatching (along with limited fine detail).

Procedure Activities

Production: On grow floor — fabricating; putting together; testing.
Area Service: From customer website – changing parts; troubleshooting; modifying.


Production: Final QC examination; Ship; Bill.
Field Support: Customer Sign-off; Ahead info; Bill.

Although the particular tasks will vary (combined with the terminology), you can observe that there are lots of parallels inside the two procedures. And, being comparable processes they frequently are susceptible to similar causes of waste. Below all of us examine the most typical areas associated with waste which are normally specific by Slim Six Sigma tasks.


Processing waste is usually the outcomes of over digesting in each manufacturing as well as service. In production this describes making items at greater (and much more costly) specs than required through the customer.

Inside a field support organization you are able to over-service a person by going above the contractual Support Level Contract (SLA). For instance, you may offer an average one-hour on-site response once the SLA just specifies a typical 4-hour reaction. While it is almost always better in order to over-perform compared to under-perform upon SLAs, it nevertheless represents waste when you are not matching the client demand needs – which can result in higher expenses or skipped revenue possibilities.

TIP: Measure your own actual reaction times separately for every service region and compare towards the local competitors. In a few areas you might have a aggressive advantage (at the. g. lower compared to industry regular response occasions) that may be leveraged because of your marketing group.


On the manufacturing ground, products tend to be transported through station in order to station through the process. When they are mapped as well as measured very carefully, you will frequently find the merchandise moves excellent distances through the facility, and signify potential opportunities to lessen waste.

Transportation waste inside a field support organization takes the shape of miscommunication. Service ask for information is actually transported (conveyed) in the customer towards the call middle, from the phone call center towards the field specialist, and (frequently in document form) in the technician to a main billing area. If you’ve got a separate dispatching or even triage assist desk, you will find even much more handoffs. Each handoff represents a chance to introduce delays, mistakes, and non-value-add actions.

TIP: Produce a pipeline statement that shows the amount and typical age associated with service demands in every stage from the process (Opened up – Not really Dispatched; Sent – Not really Started; Began – Not really Completed; Finished – Not really Invoiced; Invoiced). This will help you identify bottlenecks which are caused through transportation delays inside the process.


There tend to be several Slim Six Sigma resources that concentrate on creating efficient work places by, among other activities, reducing the actual unnecessary as well as awkward actions an owner may encounter while carrying out their actions.

Perhaps ironically, motion waste inside a field support organization is usually caused by an make an effort to improve high quality. For instance, if the Dispatcher requirements additional clarification of the SLA necessity, they might physically walk to the Agreements area in order to retrieve the paper document. Likewise — especially throughout an end-of-month charging frenzy — the Invoicing group may set you back the Financial area to locate a “live” person to check on credit standing.

TIP: How often would you observe phone center personnel travelling the workplace while talking with customers more than their cellular headphones? Consider actually rearranging the job areas and/or making electronic information marts exactly where customer username and passwords will end up being easily utilized by everyone at work.


Spare components inventories within either main warehouses or even technician vehicles in many cases are subject in order to management evaluation and overview. In truth, this could be the one region where you’ve already used Just-In-Time or even other Slim Six Sigma methods.

However, inventory may also be thought of when it comes to unutilized area service several hours. These hours are usually non-productive as well as non-billable. Since Area Labor price (eliminating overtime) is basically fixed, even small productivity gains may have a significant effect on your main point here.

TIP: Revenue-by-tech is definitely an often-used as well as sometimes deceptive measurement. Specialists can increase this metric through replacing much more parts or even increasing restore times. While your organization may take advantage of short phrase revenue, client satisfaction and general profitability are affected. Technician efficiency (several hours billable or hours obtainable) is really a key metric for just about any field support organization and really should be calculated continuously as well as reported every day.


As being a worker about the production floor or perhaps a teller in the bank eye-port, field technicians are usually paid actually during nonproductive times. However beyond this particular obvious price concern, delays inside a field support process are usually passed straight and immediately towards the customer – resulting in increased aggravation and reduce satisfaction.

You will find multiple possibilities for waiting inside a field support process such as: Dispatching (specialist waiting upon service demands), Parts Delivery (technician awaiting parts to reach at website), Invoicing (charging personnel awaiting completed documents from area technician), and Agreement Administration (awaiting site review information or even pricing make it possible for contract set-up within SMS).

SUGGESTION: When calculating Time-To-Dispatch, be sure you measure in the service ask for Open time for you to the specialist Accepted period (not once the call middle first relayed the actual request towards the field). This ensures you’re measuring delays which impact the client, not simply when phone calls are “thrown within the wall” towards the field.


Most factory closely screens product defects through the production procedure. The goal would be to identify as well as correct flaws before they’re passed ahead to downstream procedures.

You are most likely aware associated with (as well as currently calculate) two of the very common as well as visible item defects operating organizations: Phone Backs as well as Re-bills. But observe that these tend to be end-point flaws, that is actually, they in many cases are the outcomes of other mistakes passed through the process. For instance, the Phone Center might mistakenly identify the incorrect device when the actual service ask for is entered to the Service Administration System. This defect can lead to assigning/dispatching mistakes and/or the actual technician arriving towards the site with no proper alternative parts. When the technician after that returns the actual completed documents without correcting the merchandise information, the Invoicing group may apply the wrong pricing as well as payment conditions. The exact same defect is actually passed via multiple procedures causing several errors.

SUGGESTION: As an over-all rule, you need to divide Phone Backs right into a least 2 categories: along with and without having parts. In the event that parts had been used, you may want to review stocking methods and guidelines. If absolutely no parts had been used, it might indicate the technician instruction issue (inadequate troubleshooting or even other restore skills).


Producing an excessive amount of product is actually easily noticeable as extra inventory inside a factory environment. But so how exactly does overproduction impact field support? Remember, your completed product is really a completed support call. While it might appear counterintuitive you could have a lot of completed support calls, you must think about this when it comes to scheduling. For instance, a technician might have four Precautionary Maintenance (PM HOURS) appointments scheduled within the next 2 days (2 PM visits every day). When the technician completes all PM visits about the first day you might feel you’ve gained a few advantage. But let’s say these PM HOURS visits tend to be performed in the expense associated with other non-PM support requests? How about the schedules from the other technicians within the same support area? Were their own PM agendas affected because they covered the actual non-PM workload from the first specialist? Did the actual service office in general experience much more overtime expenses since the team scrambled to satisfy customers obligations?

Smoothing away field support production is really as important like a manufacturing ground. Not only will it make a more effective organization, additionally, it reduces the strain on the actual Dispatch Group, Field Administration, and (most of all) the shoppers by reducing the requirement to constantly change and connect ETAs.

Suggestion: Segment the actual each area technician’s work hours through Time-of-Day, Day time of 7 days, and Support Type (PM HOURS, non-PM, Set up, etc. )#). Then compare these details among technicians employed in the exact same service region. If the actual hours-distribution differs significantly amongst technicians it might indicate the scheduling or even performance concern.

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Lean 6 Sigma within Field Support Organizations — Identifying as well as Eliminating Waste materials

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