The Back Story
Ok so I have another example from my life about a Six Sigma concept. Let me lay out the scenario. I love eBay. LOVE IT!! So I am shopping for a TV. I found what I wanted a big 65″ LCD and the price is right. The TV is refurbished, but is meant to be in tip-top shape and fully functional; so there sets my expectation (I am huge on expectation setting by the way, but more on that in another post). I win the auction and WOW am I excited. Even better the company is called “SuperFastShippingElectronics” (of course this is sanitized to protect the shamed). I am all pumped up and my TV will be here lickity split, right? Maybe not. I monitor eBay and get a well-timed notification of my product being shipped and I even have a tracking number. This is good. I am used to this from other vendors and I make sure to provide tracking when I sell an item on eBay. So the day arrives. This is a freight shipper as the TV is a monster. To be able to receive the TV, I have to be onsite. I take the day off from traveling to clients and hold fast at the home office for my prize.
YES!!! The guy calls and says he is 35 minutes out. He gets here in 25. Wow, no way, they really are “SuperFastShippingElectronics”. I skip out of the front door to meet the truck driver and giggle in anticipation for my ginormous TV. He opens the back gate and there it is… Hmm. Seems to just be in the box, leaning up against the wall of the truck on a 45 degree angle. I ask the guy, ” What’s up with the TV not being secured or on a pallet?”. He responds, “Yea they just threw it in there and I leaned it up against the wall so it wouldn’t get damaged”. Hmm. He’s the professional, but of course I am concerned, and who are “they?” How does one expect a TV to survive that is as large as I am tall and wafer thin, traveling a thousand miles unsecured and leaning in a truck with other cargo? ” Slide it over here and let me help you take it down”, I say. Of course, I want to inspect it before it is out of the truck…
Bad News, Everyone…
As the box is being slid I see there is a hole in the side, but it is on a hand hold so maybe it is an anomaly. No, it can’t be. KHAAAANN! Sorry, Star Trek reference… The TV is smashed. I can see into the box and the side is split open. Upon further inspection there is a huge piece of metal protruding from the box as well. I say keep it. I can’t receive a broken product. The driver begins to assess the damage and act as if it is not so bad and perhaps he would accept it if it were him. No sale. Take this paperweight back to wherever it came from. I sign a reject notice. He calls the dispatcher. That’s it. I go to eBay and contact the seller and open a case to ensure I am protected on my end.
The good news is “SuperFastShippingElectronics” is a decent company and once on the phone the guy makes sure I will get a new TV. But When? Well, after the damaged one is returned and inspected. After that they will send the replacement. Hmm. That seems to be three times the original shipping time at best. I get correspondence from “SuperFastShippingElectronics” that is quoted verbatim here:
“Hello, We apologize on behalf of “AnonymousShippingCompany” for the poor condition the TV arrived in. Please be assured we do try our best to make sure these shipments are securely shipped, and even go as far as using custom made pallets to strap these TVs down to avoid damage, but do understand that accidents can happen. We can either issue a full refund for this item, or if you would like, we can ship a replacement item out to you. We do strive for your satisfaction and want to make sure this issue is taken care of for you. Please let us know what you prefer to do. Thank you,”
Wait..What?? You do all of this, but some shipping gnome dismantled your super-secure, palletized solution? Seems to be some kind of disconnect or am I in the midst of a Jedi Mind Trick? Sorry, Star Wars reference.
Let’s Analyze This, Six Sigma Style
We have to take a look at this using Six Sigma. How can we do better for “SuperFastShippingElectronics”
Critical to Quality Characteristics
Let’s go back to the set-up or backstory and pull out what we know about the seller and the consumer, as well as known benchmarks and expectations.
Satisfiers for me are:
- As new TV in fully functional condition – metric is Returns = 0
- Delivery to my home in a reasonable amount of time – metric is OTD <= 10 days
- Pay the price I was quoted and no more – metric is Price Paid = Price Quoted
- Smooth transaction done right the first time – metric is Complaints = 0
*OTD stands for On Time Delivery
Delighters for me:
- Super-fast shipping to my door – metric is OTD <= 5 days
So how did they do?
Well, they failed on all but one of my Satisfiers. I haven’t paid any more than I was quoted, but I did have an opportunity cost of not seeing clients on now two days. So maybe they failed on all four. I had to return this first TV and the second has yet to arrive. They promise a delighter and set my expectation to this 5 day delivery only to have a 15 day delivery which is 5 days more than the mean delivery time of 10 days. Also, I had to take time to lodge a complaint, really just asked for resolution, but it is logged the same as a complaint, so a complaint. This is bad. If you fail to meet my Basic Expectations or Satisfier, then you cannot possibly make it up with a Delighter!!
Passing the Buck
Notice that the Shipping Guy said “They” as the culprit and the Seller apologized for the Shipper. Seems there are two parties to blame, but no one takes accountability for the root cause of the problem. This does not bode well for future ginormous TV’s. They may go extinct. Makes me wonder about doing business with EITHER company in the future.
Six Sigma Primary and Secondary Metrics
A Primary Metric in Six Sigma is the one we are trying to meet or the goal. Here the goal seems to be fast shipping as in about 5 days. A Secondary Metric is a characteristic that CANNOT be sacrificed for the Primary Metric. This is the functionality and physical condition of the product. Here we see that they got it to me quickly, but it was non-functional and physically damaged. No good. Get it?
In the end, I got my huge TV. But guess what…It arrived loosely set in the back of the truck, just like the first. Some people never learn. It was pure chance that this one made it to me in one piece… UGHH! Peace Out! Jason