This is the sixth piece in a content series, “The 12 Days of Lean Six Sigma,” about applying the tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma to the holiday season. You can read the fifth piece here.
Every year, Santa’s Christmas list is full of the season’s must-have toys. He’s probably not placing little wooden horses or sturdy toy trains under the Christmas tree anymore because he updates his inventory with the latest market demands.
How does he do it? Well, his workshop must be using the DMADV model to develop new products or redesign existing ones. This DMADV model, which falls under the umbrella of Lean Six Sigma methods, focuses on identifying customer needs and expectations and adopting them into a product that satisfies the customer.
For example, Santa’s workshop probably has a storage room with paperwork identifying each letter of the DMADV acronym as a crucial stage of development. Let’s explore what the acronym stands for:
During the “define” stage, Santa might sit down and analyze people’s yearly wants and needs and figure out what should be examined before moving onto the next phase. He might question whether adults are picking up tablets or computers to read the news this year, or whether children want toy trains to be faster, bigger or both. If his helpers need some motivation before starting to produce toys, this is when Santa comes in to communicate with his team.
After examining consumer needs and figuring out how to move forward with gift production, Santa will want to measure every aspect of the proposed toy-making process. He and his helpers might answer questions like: can the product be made, and can it meet customer expectations?
When Santa and his helpers get to this stage, they’re ready to analyze data based on everything they’ve gathered. If Santa figured out, for example, that making a bigger and faster toy train is going to require an expansion of his workshop, he needs to come up with a plan. Maybe he could save time by creating a dual toy train set, featuring one fast toy train and one big toy train.
This stage finds Santa engrossed in managing his helpers design the new toy trains. During this process, another analysis is made to compare the new design with the specified characteristics. Depending on the need, Santa’s workshop or any other toy manufacturer might use customer test groups to know how well they’re meeting their demographic’s needs.
Before the toy delivery, Santa and his helpers must verify that the final product meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements. This task includes ensuring the safety of its use and if it’s being made like it’s supposed to be. Even after the product is released, customer feedback should be incorporated into future designs. This will help Santa’s workshop come up with a more modern take on this year’s toy train.