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Reducing Incorrect Router Installations by 60% for Call One - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Streamlining technology in our lives is a good thing! Find out how GoLeanSixSigma.com Green Belt Anne Cesarone’s project decreased router order lead time by 11 days, decreased process time for programming routers by 70% and reduced incorrect router installations by 60% for Call One.

Tracy O’Rourke, GoLeanSixSigma.com Managing Partner & Executive Advisor

Executive Summary

Business Case

Customers are complaining that router installations require multiple trips and lengthy time to complete. Process improvement in our router deployments for new carrier circuits would result in higher levels of service to our customers. Process improvement would also save considerable expenses related to rework, including labor and travel expenses.

Root Cause Analysis

Router orders are being placed at the last minute and being expedited to make dates. Routers are being programmed at the last minute, causing errors in configuration. Routers are having to be either reconfigured on site or brought back to the office for rework.

Solutions Implemented

  1. Have Network Engineers make router requests to purchasing at the time they are engineering the job, rather than later in the process when the order is in the Provisioning Department, using a new Router Request Form
  2. Keep an inventory of 10 extra routers based on a Just-in-Time system with Kanbans
  3. Conduct 5S to create and organize new Network Drive for all customer router information, including a new Router Request Tracker
  4. Create new default router configuration files to load onto new routers and to establish consistency and decrease long or repeated visits

Project Results

  1. Increased router order lead time by 11 days
  2. Decreased the Process Time for programming routers from an average of 30 minutes to 9 minutes
  3. Decreased the percentage of incorrect router configurations by 60%, thus improving customer satisfaction

Graphical Display of Improvement

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Histogram of Router Configuration Time - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Words

  • Carrier Circuits: A physical circuit, ordered by Call One, brought into a building by a Telecommunications carrier, and terminated in the customer’s server room
  • Customers: A business, municipality or school whom has signed a contract with Call One
  • Router Configuration: The act of a Network Engineer gathering customer specific data and programming the router with the necessary configuration
  • Router Installation: The act of a Field Technician installing the router at a customer site, including rack mounting, turning on and testing
  • Router Order Lead Time: Total cycle time from the moment the router order is received at Call One to the moment that the router is in the engineer’s hands for programming
  • Provisioning Department: A department at Call One which places the circuit orders, on behalf of the customer, with the carrier

Project Charter

Problem Statement

For the last 6 months, we have received customer complaints on circuit installations that require long and/or repeated site visits by field technicians. We have also received complaints from out CFO that we are going over budget on our shipping costs.

Goal Statement

We would like to decrease the need for multiple technician visits from 35% to 10% by the end of 2nd quarter 2017. We would also like to decrease router programming time from the current 37 minutes to 10 minutes by the end of 2nd quarter 2017.

Scope

  • Process Start: Customer signs a contract for a new Call One circuit
  • Process End: Customer signs a Delivery & Acceptance for completed circuit installation
  • In: The team will develop improved process steps; develop programming templates
  • Out: Increasing our inventory by more than 10%; adding additional staff

Business Case & Benefits

Process improvement for our router installations will result in improved customer service. It will also translate into financial benefits because we will spend less money on expedite charges for router orders, as well as increase productivity in the network engineering department.

Timeline

PhasePlannedActual
DefineJanuary 9thJanuary 9th
MeasureJanuary 16thJanuary 18th
AnalyzeJanuary 30thJanuary 30th
ImproveFebruary 20thFebruary 24th
ControlMarch 8thMarch 22nd

Team Members

PositionPersonTime Commitment
Team LeadAnne Cesarone30%
SponsorJason Spulak15%
Team MemberPeter Peverly25%
Team MemberJoe Crawford20%
Team MemberVictoria Lasch10%

Voice of the Customer Translation Matrix

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Voice of the Customer Translation Matrix - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Project needs to address the router ordering and programming lead time which will impact the overall customer satisfaction.

SIPOC

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - SIPOC - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The scope of this project starts from the point of the customer signing a contract for a new circuit and router to the successful installation of the circuit and router at the customer site.

Swimlane Map (Old Process)

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Swimlane Map (Old Process) - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: There are a few NVA process steps that include significant wait time, which could be leading to increased cycle time.

Data Collection Plan

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Data Collection Plan - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Data collection was made over a one month period by multiple department staff.

Standard Event Occurrence Check Sheet

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Standard Event Occurrence Check Sheet - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The baseline data shows that there are many installations in a month which required either extra time on site to rework or a follow-up visit to complete the needed changes.

Fishbone Diagram

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Fishbone Diagram - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Initial brainstorming points to human error in router configuration and lack of time as potential root causes.

5 Whys

Why do router installs require so much rework?

Because the routers are not going out with correct hardware or configuration.

Why are they going out with the wrong hardware or configuration?

Because we don’t have the time to properly verify correctness before dispatch.

Why don’t we have enough time to verify?

Because the engineers are getting the routers with very little lead time before they are due.

Why are the engineers being given so little lead time to configure the routers?

Because the routers are being ordered too late.

Why are the routers being ordered so late?

Because the provisioners request them late in the ordering process.

Value Add & Cycle Time Analysis

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Value Add & Cycle Time Analysis - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The majority of the steps are non-value adding with considerable wait time. There’s an opportunity to lower wait time by possibly running steps in parallel.

Hypothesis Confirmations

Histogram of Router Configuration Time

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Histogram of Router Configuration Time - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Histogram of Router Order Lead Time

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Histogram of Router Order Lead Time - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Root Cause Hypothesis

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Root Cause Hypothesis - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Data shows that the routers are being ordered with only 2.12 days lead time, which leads to errors in programming and little time to test before they are sent to the field. It also shows that the engineers are taking 29 minutes on average to configure each router.

Impact Effort Matrix

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Impact Effort Matrix - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Options #1 and #4 aren’t options, as they are considered outside of the scope. The team will order the routers earlier in the process, during the design phase of the order. They also created a programming template to load onto the routers.

Before & After Time Data

Router Configuration Time – Before & After

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Router Configuration Time (Before & After) - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Router Order Lead Time – Before & After

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Router Order Lead Time (Before & After) - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Implemented solutions significantly decreased router configuration time and increased the router ordering lead time.

Before & After Swimlane Map

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Before & After Swimlane Map - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: By making some activities concurrent, including the router ordering, we decreased the wait time and the overall cycle time.

Risk Management

FMEA Form

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - FMEA Form - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Ordering routers earlier in the process, having router types verified, testing all routers before dispatch and building router configuration templates will lower the risk of rework and rescheduling of router installations.

Monitoring & Response Plan

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Monitoring & Response Plan - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The Monitoring Plan factors both the leading indicators of router programming accuracy and order lead time along with the Project “Y” of Installation Time.

Innovation Transfer Opportunities

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Innovation Transfer Opportunities - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: All of these improvements could be immediately transferred to other Call One Operations Departments which order and install hardware.

Implementation Plan

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Implementation Plan - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The Implementation Plan will include a few process changes but will affect much of the outputs.

Goal Statement Builder

Anne Cesarone Green Belt Project Storyboard - Goal Statement Builder - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Project Storyboard

Anne Cesarone

Anne Cesarone manages the Project Management team for Call One, Inc. in Chicago, IL. She has her PMP certification, along with her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and has applied these methodologies successfully throughout her 25 year career in Telecommunications and Unified Communications.

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. She is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Instructor at UC San Diego and teaches in San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise Program. For almost 20 years, she has helped leading organizations like Washington State, Charles Schwab and GE build problem-solving muscles.