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Operations Management - Case Pepe Jeans

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Case: Hank Kolb, Director of Quality Assurance

1. Causes of quality problems on the Greasex line

2. Steps to set up a continuous improvement program

There are two different sides to consider when setting up such a program, the methodology including Six-Sigma project oriented statistical tools and the people side including creating commitment to and the knowledge about the program among the employees. Organizational change always creates resistance, so getting the employees to understand and feel the necessity of quality improvements is of utmost importance.


Hank Kolb doesn't have any quantification of his suspicions of the state of the quality and how this affects the costumers, so before he starts acting he needs to get a better understanding of this.

This corresponds to the first 3 steps in the Six-Sigma systematic method (DMAIC)

Define: He needs to identify who the target customers are and which characteristics of the product affect their perception of quality.

Measure: He needs to determine how the process is performing at the moment according to these characteristics.

Analyze: He needs to analyze the process to find the causes of defects. For this he can use a fishbone chart like the one above as basis for his statistical tests.

After having diagnosed the problems it is time to start acting on this knowledge which are the last 2 steps in the DMAIC.

Improve: After having analyzed the causes for the problems it is time to modify the process to fit with the customers' expectations of quality.

Control: To make sure that the process stays within the acceptable range he needs to establish control functions.


I have divided the DMAIC cycle into a "diagnosis" part and an "action" part because I want to emphasize the importance of the people in the process. When Hank Kolbs get to the "action" part it is important to have the support and commitment of the people running the process, but in order to get this commitment I believe that he needs to have a diagnose to convince them of the importance.

Of course he also needs the help from people in the organization to get specific knowledge while he is diagnosing, but it is when they have to act on it, that their commitment gets really important.

In order to get this



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