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Case Study - Six Sigma Implementation Bluvas T-shirt Company

Bluvas T-shirt Company has been manufacturing custom printed t-shirts since 1953. Competition and reduced profitability has forced the management to take a second look at their processes in an effort to improve their revenues. The management considers customer satisfaction paramount and has decided to use customers as a driving force for their process improvement project. Using the Six Sigma methodology, the current processes were benchmarked and improvements made based on customer driven critical to quality characteristics.

In January 2002, in light of reducing market share due to increased competition in Washington DC area, General Manager Harsh Marwaha decided to employ six-sigma methodologies to improve and control the production of t-shirts. This translated to a goal of performing at the Six Sigma level by the end of August 2002. The team was tasked with improving market share using the Six Sigma process.

The Bluvas T-shirt Company manufactures custom-printed t-shirts. Clients pick shirt sizes, fabric color (white, gray, or navy), image to put on each shirt, and quantity. Bluvas, Inc. would like to increase sales by improving quality and order delivery for customers.

brainstorming meeting. Since the customers typically ordered by phone, the team agreed that the best way to get the VOC was random surveys for the customers over the phone after they had placed their orders. Category Sample points for further discussion Customer Service On-time delivery Shirt options Friendly support Product Quality Off center image Image not bright Torn Stained

Customer service includes factors like on time delivery, and after sales service. A high percentage of Bluvas Inc. customers are repeat customers. Better customer service can help increase customer loyalty, and, therefore, possibly increase sales. On-time delivery involves giving customer a feasible delivery time during the order/pre-order process. Once the customer agrees to the delivery time, it is entered into the database and production is scheduled.

Problem statement: "Voice of the Customer data indicates that in order to promote growth with our customers, we need to improve our process capability in the areas of on-time shipping and product quality." On Time Shipping: Customers want shipping on the shipping date notified during ordering. Previous delays in shipping have caused customer attrition. Product Quality: Customers want products to be zero defects. Bluvas is currently operating at about 130,000 defects per million opportunities, which is less than 3sigma level. The rework for defects is costly for Bluvas and customers are usually refunded for any defects. Next, the team created a goal statement that described the success of their project, as they saw it.

Goal statement: "By the end of August 2002, both of these processes will be operating at a Six Sigma level." After considering the problem and goal statement, the team created a project scope, which detailed the process boundaries and project focus.

Finally, the team determined the benefits expected from their improvement project. Expected Benefits: Revenue growth by increasing product quality. Better customer relations. Increase in revenues due to customer retention and customer collateral. Identification of other factors affecting product quality.

On-Time shipping: The following Ys were considered for measuring on-time shipping: Y1: Number of orders that are received by customers later than the promised date. Y2: Number of orders which are shipped later than the promised date of shipping Y3: Number of orders that are shipped later than the targeted date of shipping. (Targeted date for the company was three days before the contract date) Y4: Proportion of orders which are shipped later than the promised shipping date Y5: Proportion of orders that are shipped by the date specified to achieve on-time shipping. Product Quality: The following Ys were considered for measuring product quality: Y1: Number of t-shits returned by the customers due to the image being off centered. Y2: The distance between the image center and the t-shirt center.

Measure 1- define project Measure 2- Define Charter Measure 3- High Level Process Map Measure 4: Project Y Measure 5: Performance Standards for Y Measure 6: Project Data Collection Plan Measure 7: Data for project Y Measure 8: Process Capability Measure 9 Improvement Goals for Project Y Measure 10: Prioritized List of All Xs Measure 11: List Vital Few Xs Verify Xs with Data Measure 12: Quantified Financial Opportunity Measure 13: Proposed Solution Measure 14: Piloted Solution Measure 15- control