Seeking Six-cess - Tire Review Magazine

Seeking Six-cess

Leveraging These Strategies and Tools Can Give You a Serious - and Sustainable - Advantage

ep-by-step wheel installation policy, a back-shop tool-placement and layout standardization and a work order barcode scanner to ensure the highest level of program sustainability and data collection.

“The application of Lean and Six Sigma tools has helped us reduce variability in our distribution routing and delivery process,” he adds. “Many more improvement opportunities, too numerous to address, have been exposed and are in some state of correction and further study.”

Dunn’s combined use of Lean and Six Sigma, however, raises questions about how the two systems co-exist and complement one another.

“At Dunn, we’ve chosen to concentrate on the use of Lean and its tenet of ‘plan-do-check-act,’ as it is more readily accepted and applies more appropriately to the non-statistician that you find common to the tire industry,” Schroeder explains. “The Lean P-D-C-A and the Six Sigma define-measure-analyze-improve-control cycles have much in common in function and form, but Lean allows us to move at a greater speed. (See sidebar for more information on process cycles.)

“In our industry, we must often work from a very controlled seat-of-the-pants point of view, to allow us to ensure value but also to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers, both internal and external,” he adds. “We have chosen to use Six Sigma as our data-driven chainsaw-in-the-closet. We Lean it out first. If that proves to be unsuccessful for process correction or the removal of waste, we then tear the process apart using that Six Sigma chainsaw and use the data drill to pluck out the errors and defects.”

Exactly what statistics has Dunn evaluated in this “non-statistician’s” industry?

Schroeder says the company has looked at:

• Process function time data, to create greater process flow, increase value and shorten process time;

• Communication system data, to properly size staffing and create better manpower planning and growth;

• Vehicle year, make and model data, to aid in forecasting and inventory placement;

• Product pick/ship flow data, to improve warehouse floor operations and to add value for the end-user.
Dunn used statistics-analyzing computer software, called Minitab, to help with the data drilling, along with Microsoft Excel. In the end, costs were reduced and process time was shortened.

“Right-sizing manpower, controlling tool-and-equipment costs, improving call-and-contact flow, and the greater assurance of quality by enhancing the perception of process ownership at all levels” all were achieved, according to Schroeder. And the only significant detriment to that achievement, he says, was simply resistance to change.

“That’s always a condition we must combat,” Schroeder says. “There are those who are not as willing to accept new concepts and culture.”

Criticisms leveled at Six Sigma by detractors include its similarity to previous improvement programs; its rigidity and potential to inhibit creativity in the name of process; its overselling by improperly educated consultants; and other issues rooted in math and statistics.

Nevertheless, Schroeder credits Dunn’s upper management for initiating the Six Sigma change and seeing it through.

“After their own Platinum Belt training, our executive team has led a successful culture change,” he says. “Their passion for value has been exhibited daily in the way in which they conduct their daily interactions with our people. They understand the value of a true Lean Six Sigma champion, and that true change can only start at the top.” 

You May Also Like

Consider Software Solutions to Streamline Operations

Representatives from several software providers share how solutions drive efficiency and profitability, as well as what to look for when considering a system in your shop.

When it comes to operating a successful tire dealership, software systems have become a necessity. Not only do they streamline the point-of-sale process and daily operations, but today’s software packages also offer solutions for customer communication, inventory, service writing and more.

We spoke with representatives from several software providers, who shared how these solutions drive efficiency and profitability, as well as what to look for when considering a system for your shop.

How Data, Analytics Can Boost Profitability for Tire Retailers

By collecting and analyzing data about a dealer’s sales history, inventory levels and market demand, data and analytics platforms can analyze the performance of each dealer’s store and recommend actionable improvement opportunities.

How to Start the PPP Loan Payback Process

For many PPP loan recipients, it is time to start the repayment process—or file for PPP loan forgiveness. Read on to find out which portion of your loan may be forgivable and how to apply for forgiveness, as well as how to start the repayment process.

Creating a Positive Work Environment

Larry Sutton of RNR Tire Express shares seven different practices that have helped him create a positive work environment.

Using Data to Enrich the Customer Experience

Attaching data or a number to a vehicle’s service record adds a level of transparency to the discussion, and moves it from an “opinionated upsell” to a true, fact-based service need.

Coats Tread Depth Data

Other Posts

Microlearning Makes the Tire Industry Smarter, More Profitable

Microlearning modules can be customized to company and team member needs, where participants can learn through their own experiences and at their own pace.

Setting Up for Success: The Importance of Onboarding New Employees

Onboarding serves to not only give a new employee practical information that they will need in the job, but having that information gives them confidence as they start out in their new position.

Online Reputation Management

Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Loaner Vehicles: Drive Revenue, Customer Satisfaction

If managed efficiently, loaner vehicles can impact your business in many positive ways leading to higher sustained revenue.