Spotlight! 2007 Results
The Spotlight! 2007 event was held on
Friday, September 14 at the Four Points by
Sheraton in Ann Arbor, MI. Eighteen teams of Tauber students presented
the results of their summer projects and competed for a total of $24,000
in scholarship awards. A two-person team that
worked with Indo Keramik (non-Tauber students) also
presented their project results.
Spotlight! 2007 Winners
2007 Project Teams
View the project descriptions of all nineteen teams: Spotlight! 2007 Project Book (PDF).
"Lean Transformation to Reduce Lead Time"
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), with 13,400 employees and $4.3 billion in 2006 sales, is a technology leader specializing in affordable, integrated solutions to both domestic and international customers. The specific facility the project was located at is the Integrated Air Defense Center (IADC) in Andover, Massachusetts. IADC serves customers by providing total air and missle defense systems solutions within a joint architecture. Among these solutions is the Partiot Air and Missile Defense System, the most advanced ground-based air defense system in the world.
As part of IDS efforts to meet customer delivery requirements and increase capacity for international workload, the team’s goal was to plan and implement a lean transformation in the Patriot Ground Electronics Assembly area to enable a manufacturing lead time reduction of 30%. The team conducted a lean analysis, consisting of value stream mapping workshops with operators and production support, benchmarking, and other tools, and identified specific opportunities for improvement. This analysis led to a two-part action plan which consisted of foundational “building block” opportunities and higher-level “value stream” opportunities. During the summer, the team not only provided recommendations for improvement, but also implemented the actual transition to a lean workplace.
Improvements included proper visual management, floor
layout redesign to promote product flow and enable pull,
material organization and control measures, and
standardized tool sets utilizing shadow boxes. As a result
of these and the planned implementation of the team’s pull
system design, manufacturing lead time will be reduced by
over 45% and throughput will be increased by 15%. These
results will deliver business growth opportunities of $102
million and savings of $15 million to Raytheon over the
next five years.
Dell Worldwide Procurement
Dell challenged the Tauber Institute team to develop a comprehensive solution to address the high number of Can-Not-Duplicate (CND) occurrences in quality testing throughout the Dell supply chain. A CND occurs when a microchip failure is reported by a motherboard manufacturer but, when the suspect part is returned to the supplier, the microchip supplier is unable to recreate the failure. Over 50% of microchip defects reported by motherboard manufacturers CND occurrences costing Dell and its supply chain partners greater than $1.25M annually in scrap and labor and confounding root cause analyses of quality problems.
The team created failure analysis process maps for several motherboard manufacturers to help determine the cause of CND occurrences. Once root causes were identified, the team explored a range of testing tools that could be used to address the issues, creating a study illustrating the benefits of each different testing methodology. One common roadblock to the implementation of these various testing techniques was the lack of test access provided on the current generation of Dell motherboards. The team also noticed similar access difficulties in the current testing strategy, both in-production and offline. With the complexity and component-density of motherboards constantly increasing, the ability to design access points to thoroughly exercise a motherboard assembly is becoming increasingly difficult.
The team explored a solution that could be applicable to both problems, providing a test methodology that could maintain coverage while reducing the number of test points required and providing the necessary design additions to perform more accurate failure analysis. Additionally, the team provided specifications for the adoption of the new testing strategy and recommendations to improve failure analysis at motherboard manufacturing sites. The team presented these deliverables to Dell and their supply chain partners establishing a foundation to build these changes.
The team’s proposed solution has great potential impact to both production and offline testing. In production, the new strategy stands to reduce time-to-market, test fixture cost and increase production throughput. Offline, the new strategy will enable more precise failure analysis, reducing rework and failure analysis costs, and increasing customer perception of quality. Cumulatively, these proactive measures will save Dell and its supply chain partners millions of dollars in testing and labor costs.
"Optimization of Call Center Training Process"
Dell, the world’s leading direct-sale computer company, earning revenues of $57B and employing 88,000 individuals in 2006, has recently been losing share in the consumer market to comanies such as HP. To remain competitive, the company has underwent an executive re-organization, led by Michael Dell returning as CEO, and after shifting strategies from Dell 1.0, which focused on cost-efficient, transactional customer interactions, to Dell 2.0, which focuses on developing long-term customer relationships. To build these relationships, Dell has invested heavily in resolving customer support issues on every call, which requires developing stronger capabilities throughout 16,700 call center agents.
To support the Dell 2.0 initiative, the Tauber Institute team focused on optimizing the 11-week New Hire Training process which all call center agents must complete before supporting customers. Within this process, one significant opportunity for improvement was the Transition Queue (TQ), the final 4 weeks of training in which agents begin handling live calls while still attending classroom training sessions.
The team conducted a current-state assessment of TQ to identify several key problems.
Across the 13 technical support sites, there were no standardized training and coaching processes.
Every agent entering TQ exited to the call center floor, regardless of qualifications (100% yield).
TQ’s performance measurement system relied on metrics that were poor predictors of agent performance in the call center.
A large proportion of time was dedicated to non-value added or redundant training sessions.
Using these insights, the team conducted a pilot study testing four key improvement ideas at a call center in the Philippines. The team:
Designed a balanced scorecard system to achieve real-time performance visibility for agents in training.
Created an online portal of training modules for agents to pull as needed.
Improved the coaching structure within TQ to include live
call audits. These audits measured agents’ skill level in
the 12 most critical customer handling skills, as defined
by a focus group of Dell
Utilized the new performance measurement system to create a flexible progression through TQ, realizing a two-week reduction in cycle time.
To standardize best practices from the pilot study, the team communicated its findings to a global implementation team. The revised process was implemented before the team’s departure, allowing agents to reach the production floor as soon as they are ready, while identifying those agents who need additional remediation. Throughout the 13 technical support sites, the 165,000 hour shift from training time to call handling time translates to annual cost savings of $2.4M, and the benefit in resolution rate translates to additional annual revenues of $19.3M. These improvements in the new hire training process will ensure that agents are capable of resolving customer issues on every call, helping Dell build more positive, sustainable customer relationships.