Is Your Product or Service Lazy, Crappy or Whacky?

Improvement Insights Blog

Is Your Product or Service Lazy, Crappy or Whacky?

Sometimes the language of Six Sigma is off-putting. I have found one way to get people’s attention is to use plain English to describe their product or service.

“Your product or service suffers from three key problems: It’s either Lazy, Crappy or Whacky.

“Lazy: Your product takes long breaks, goes out to lunch, spends the night on the town, comes in in the morning a little bit hungover… it’s not your people, it’s your product. If you watch your product, your people are busy but your product is hanging out, taking its time, sitting around having a cup of coffee. If you watch your product it’s not very busy, and so if you want to be faster you have to study your product not your people, right? Because out of a whole [hour], maybe 57 minutes out of every hour is the product sitting around. Three minutes out of every hour somebody is working on the product or service. If you don’t believe me, just watch it for a while and you’ll be stunned, right? You’ll be stunned by how much time your product is hanging out doing nothing.

“The next one is Crappy: Guess what? Mistakes, errors, things that are broken, things that don’t fit together properly, I mean all of that kind of stuff, all of those kinds of problems… you’ve got a crappy product, right? It doesn’t work, or it works intermittently (or whatever it is). I have a wi-fi modem and every once in a while it just decides to quit, like… what? Hey! Why don’t you reboot yourself? Power outages happen, why aren’t you smart enough to figure out how to reboot yourself? This is not rocket surgery, all right?

“And Whacky: is your product too big, too small, too fat, too thin, too dense, too porous, too hot, too cold… whatever it is, right? It’s variable and all this variation costs you money. If you know anything about the Taguchi Loss Function you know the more you move away from a target value for whatever it is, it costs you more and more and more and more money. Does this make sense?

“All right, so Lazy, Crappy, Wacky. That’s what’s wrong with your product or service. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”