Reducing Customer Complaints and Costs

Reducing Customer Complaints and Costs

An analytical lab is responsible for product development and provision of customized reference specimens to clientele. Incorrect specimens resulted in claims for downstream project quality problems (one claim alone cost $1 million). Customers were requesting reference specimens at a level of precision the lab was uncertain it could provide. The preparation and measurement consisted of a complex series of steps. Desired was to reduce variation in the preparation and measurement of the reference specimens.

Reduce the variation in the preparation and measurement of the reference specimens by 50% to reduce risk and enhance customer satisfaction.

Using advanced measurement system tools in conjunction with other statistical analyses allowed for analysis of within reference specimen variation and between specimen variation. An extensive number of studies were undertaken and key sources of variation were identified. Improvement actions included repair of measurement system equipment, the establishment of best practices lab procedures and other changes.

Variation in prepared samples was reduced by approximately 92%. Final cost savings were being estimated at “over $500,000” based on past warranty claims.

Concurrently, the Six Sigma team was able to statistically demonstrate to clients the level of reference specimen precision they could effectively utilize in their plants. This caused customers to relax demands and allowed production of reference specimens meeting all of the client’s requirements.