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About KiranKumar

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  • Birthday 06/24/1978

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    Kiran Kumar
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  1. Explain Bathtub Curve and its utility in reliability engineering. Is this concept applicable for all products? My interpretation : Mostly used in New Product to the Market offerings : Eg : Air Purifiers, Hotel Baking Industry machine new model or a simple NEW to market Coffee Maker. For simple reasons of Product Stabilization 1) The Early stage failures would be high. As they get fixed gradually one after another, the 2) Random/Natural usage based defects popup. Some of these can be solved via quick fixes and some need a product design modification or intervention. Eventually, as the product moves into the 3) Last 1/3rd phase of it's expected life, brands will start receiving breakdown complaints due to the parts that end up wearing off faster than anticipated. The first wave, if addressed, the product's "Usable Life Span" can be validated/improved. The final set to wear off, usually are not aimed for reeingineering as the investment could mean a significtant markup in the production costs. In some ways, this also applies to new service offerings : Eg : Hotels introducing new Cuisine / SPA services etc. The learning curve here helps in maturing the offerings and the last section may not be applicable as in service lines, the improvement in service is a "Continuous Improvement" journey. One way UP !! Note : The image from wikipedia can act as a good pictorial representation.
  2. Q. 198 While customer satisfaction is captured in most B2C companies, the score that is obtained has questionable value. (For this discussion, we will use B2C in context of large set of end consumers who buy products or services from retail directly) What are the methods one can use to make such satisfaction feedback more useful in B2C? Ans : The act of collecting Customer Feedback is a "MUST" !! The score that the teams derive from the customer ratings can be a double edged sword. Done right, it can be of Great Value !! Done wrong, it can mislead the team to poor analysis, conclusion & action plans. The method that i would recommend is as follows : 1) Parameter Performance Analysis : This is a granular analysis of the ratings received for a particular parameter. Eg : Taste / Temperature of Food / appearance etc....can be for a restaurant that uses a delivery partner like Zomato, Uber etc. This is a Objective analysis and the comparison will be : vs Last month/ vs Last Quarter / vs YTD & so on... This exercise must be done for all parameters featured on the feedback form (by the way, the feedback form should not take more than 1 min to fill) 2) The Score Sheet : This is a Focus oriented score i.e if this year, the company decided to make the Freshness by time it reaches the customer as an area of attention, the weightage to this parameter will be enhanced Eg : from 10% weightage in a 10 question survey to 20% weightage at the expense of few other parameters. Organizations keep making One - Two areas as the Focus Areas for the year to get better faster and have the teams get the message of the importance of the Focused upon parameter...If this is done right, it can be a Force Multiplier. Hotel Chains do this as i have worked in that space... Together, this model can be made "Most Useful" or "Most Useless"....A poor Feedback Survey & a misplaced weightages can make things worse than uselessness too.... #Goodluck !!
  3. Q. 195 While customer may be akin to God in business world, not every customer is worth the time and effort. What could be some guidelines for customer rejection ? Use examples from industries that you are comfortable with. Ans : Interesting Question !! Yes, we all want as many customers. However, there are some products / services where the "customer" need to be qualified. Eg : SPA membership in a 5 Star Hotel / Customer for a Maybach/Rolls Royce car / a Villa in a Uber Elite Limited Edition complex of just 51 Villas etc Why? The experience is beyond Monetary Viability/Affordability. For right or wrong reasons, not everyone knows the nuances of using a top notch spa and the etiquettes that need to be followed in such spaces. It's not about saying NO, more so about all the users having a common understanding of the dos/donts etc. same goes with the Maybach Car or a Luxury Complex... This is the ONLY reason why the sellers/providers request for a discussion to understand the customer and educate the customer not about the place but also help them understand the fitment in such a way that the "DECISION" taken is for the GOOD of seller & buyer of product or service....[ Thought we have taken a Luxury example for convenience reasons, this fitment check applies to many products/services at all income/affodability levels ]
  4. The specific benefits/ insights obtained by using a Box Plot. Explain with examples Box Plot is also known as Box & whisker plot. The key inferential data points are : Q1, Q3, Inter Quartile Range ( the area between 1st Quartile & 3rd Quartile ), the Whiskers & the very important Outliers. 1st major benefit of Box Plot is the visually identifiable "Outliers" Every Outlier need to be studied to understand if it is a random occurance or if a special cause is associated with it. The Inter Quartile range and the position of the Median explains the spread of the data and a similar understanding of the far out data points can be gained from the length of the whiskers. Comparing the average rain fall of Top 10 Rainfall supported crop states could be on example while deciding/predicting/recommending which states are likely to have a higher probability of "Good Crop" year. An Airconditioning brand studying the Average summer temperatures of their Top 25 Markets to arrive at better forcasting of sales for the coming summer.
  5. While solving problems, root cause analysis is considered as an obvious step. When is it that one should refer to a “cause” as the “root cause”? (or a set of “causes” as “root causes”) The most comprehensive answer wins. Do try to consider varying situations. If answers are similar in detail, those with examples will get preference over others. Each occurrence of a problem will have a "RootCause". However, another instance of the same problem may have a different "Rootcause". Most often these Rootcauses can be bucketed into : People/ Product/ Process related. When can I call the cause "RootCause"? When you don't get an answer to this question : " Why did this Cause Occur?? " Keep asking this question till there is NO Answer. That could be the "RootCause". In Hotels for example : The Guest Slipped in the Bathroom may have the following Potential Causes : 1) The HK associate forgot to clean up the water used to wash the bathroom(i.e he missed Dry Mop) 2) There was a leakage in the pipeline to the Wash sink 3) The WC got choked and the water overflow occurred 4) Due to changing weather conditions outside, the AC Condensation occurred resulting is water drops falling from ceiling. Therefore, whenever a Defect occurs, do a RCA. Solve the problem with an effective solution. Keep collecting the RCAs over a period of time to develop a perspective around the problem and the appropriate long term solutions. This is an ongoing activity. When addressed well, the Rootcause will not REPEAT !!
  6. Tollgate reviews are "MUST Do" pause and review exercises for both the project variants : DMAIC & DMADV. Why essential? It's the time when all stakeholders get to evaluate the work done this far, make sure the reality is acceptable to the team vs the plan. Team agreement on the direction taken & direction that will be taken is the key achievement out of the exercise. Course correction is ensure if it necessitates. Who all should attend? Every team member who shares responsibility & accountability towards the stated objective of the project should attend, express their opinion, document the observations & decisions taken. This will ensure there is minimal REWORK and that the end achievement is the "Best Achievable" one.
  7. Q. 142 Turing test checks if a machine can imitate intelligent and unintelligent behaviors of humans. While it makes sense to test if artificial intelligence is delivering business expectations, what could be the value in determining if machines can behave like humans or not? The GOAL by Large Organizations & Industries is : Can we replace Human with a Machine? this, for all the benefits a Machine provides over a Human Being !! The Limitations that a Human being brings along will be out of the window, if the Positives of Human beings can be incorporated into the Machines !! This makes Machines, a Better Choice [ If there is a Choice !! ]
  8. 5 Process and Project are terms used in the Business Improvement or Six Sigma world, while the term project is used in the Project Management realm. What are the key differences in a Project and a Process? Can the terms be used interchangeably? Give examples to support your answer. By Operational Definition, Process is the sequence of defined steps that need to be followed to accomplish a task Eg : Making Tea !! Project is a small/big planned activity to either improve a set of processes or create a new set of processes to achieve a stated Objective!! Eg : Dubai Airport revisiting the existing Immigration process to reduce processing time(improving existing process) vs Dubai Tourism setting up world's first underground Resort (brand new project with brand new processes) !! Project & Process words cannot be used interchangeably !! A set of processes together can qualify as a Project !!/ one process alone in isolation rarely qualifies to be a Project. In general, Project is a larger n time consuming activity !!
  9. Time Series Analysis is a very reliable tool when the factors that influenced the performance of the "metric" under monitoring "remained same" or if we are in a position to quantify the impact of the factors on the Metric with 95%+(or desired) accuracy. In such a scenario "Forecasting" becomes feasible and the Best possible Forecating is Practical !! However, in the real world, New Factors keep cropping up (sometimes even unknown to the Observer) Eg : Retail, ECommerce and ever evolving Consumer Benahvior and Preferences. When Factors Influence alters significantly and when Unknown Factors start impacting the measured "Metric", we will start seeing Forecasting going for a Six and the search for the "Altered Factors/Magnitude of Influence" begings...once again !! Can we safely say : in a faster evolving Market Reality(particularly in complex environments like Retail & where customer behavior has numerous factors influencing), forecasting based on Historic Data is becoming difficult, by the day !!
  10. Hi, Rapid Improvement Sequence tools(like Kaizen) can be used when the Improvemet/solution seems obvious and can be implemented with certainty about the outcome & benefits that would come along. The DMAIC approach is used when one knows there is a Problem, is able to see the Probelem quantified but is not in the knowledge of what the solution for the problem is or what is the most cost effective and long sustaining solution. Both these approaches are unique in their own right : As one is suitable or the other and not One vs Other. I have witnessed the same in Hotels, where a problem like speeding could be solved with 1) Welding a small piece of iron to ENSURE the drive does not accelerate beyond a speed limit(many a times these solutions are replication or adapation to current situation) 2) Energy Conservation being attaked with a HIGH Level DMAIC project... Hope it helps
  11. The Root Cause for this missout is : Process not being the TOP Priority. Just the Outcome. As soon as the outcome is in sight, most teams & organizations switch to Documentation and Handover mode; sometimes even these being compromised. Other aspect that's making this step less attractive is : The speed at which change is happening in business models & processes. By the time this document becomes necessary, the processs could have changed or eolved by several times or even might have transformed completely; leaving very little incentive for it to be taken seriously. Yes, the educated Six Sigma professionals should ensure & inculcate the adoption of these processes as Mandaotry and of Cultural importance and not just seen from the lens of :Pain/Gain !! These practices definitely are a gain in the Long Term
  12. Speaking of limitations of using an FMEA as a method of Risk Assessment : 1) Some possible modes of Failure may be difficult to predict : Process Step failure is easy to visualize. However, the several ways in which Failure can come knocking on the door may not be that easy. 2) The Risk Priority Number Calculation : The assignment of value [to Severity/ Frequency of Occurrence & ease of detection of failure ] is subjective and can be prone to error. 3) The Solution List : The corrective steps that need to be taken in case of a failure in most cases are visualized to best ability. However, in real scenario, actualizing the recommended steps in case of a Failure may not be that easy. Overall, FMEA helps in figuring out what needs to be done in the eventuality of an anticipated process step failure or a breakdown. It's ability to ensure a speedy recovery to Normal State can only be tested when anticipated Failure happens. In case of an unplanned kind of Failure the situation can be worse.
  13. Every Business that produces a Product or Servive has a Customer in sight/mind !! Attending to that customer : addressing the queries of the customer, resolving all Post delivery of the product/service queries/concerns and being there to assist the guest involves Customer Relationship Management !! The nature of the relationship could be B2B or B2C. Irrespective of the nature, there is always a Buyer(Customer) & a Seller(Vendor). Examples : In Hospitality industry attending to the Room Guest & Restaurant Guest is facilitated by a B2C CRM system Within the Hospitality Industry, the Vendors who provide the raw material Eg : Vegetables, Meats and other produce, share a B2B relationship with the Hotel Operator. In simple terms, to a layman, CRM involves attending to all Buinesses "Customer assistance needs" through the customer's preferred mode of communication/assistance. The Modes of communication today are diverse : By Phone, A Site Visit, via Email, via Chat and so on !! The Seller need to be aware of the customer preferences and try to assist / attend to guest through the prerferred mode. Yes, a Brand with excellent CRM system in place is very likely to enjoy continued "Customer Patronage". Recent Example : 2 Days ago one of my friend wanted to by a Mobile. After selecting Mi4, he was keen to pick it up from a store instead of having to wait for it after making the purchase online. Google assistant advised to check at www.poorvika.com. There was a representative to assist with 3 rings. The nearest store to us geographically was identified by the Call centre Rep. A walkin to the store facilitated instant purchase. The next day, there was a call made to confirm if the purchase was made and if any further assitance was needed. The CRM system ensured : 1) Guest got speedy attention and correct advice 2) The brand put in place a system to capture conversion percentage and also make sure a strong lead was not left out till a purchase was made. An example of a Good CRM system.
  14. E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives, can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce. The Add On Explanation : Yes, WorkForce has immense Opportunity to Contribute. No one watches the processes closer than a worker/workforce. Management has the Accountability to create an environment where "Continuous Improvement" is encouraged and rewarded. Time to time, sharing the Industry Benchmarks and analyzing them will also Help in creating the environment and culture of Improvement. !! The Mantra has to be "Involvement" of Management & Staff / Not just sloganeering and demanding improvement from WorkForce !! Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way & shows the way !! Eg : Toyota !!
  15. My Perspective : After pondering over it for a while, it looks necessary that Segmentation and the Segmentation Criteria should "precede" the activity of Root Cause Analysis. It's possible that the Root Cause for a problem within one or many segments could be the same or possiblty two different Root Causes might appear for the same problem faced in 2 different Segments of Data. Eg : Few Root Causes for lack of savings in Age Group 20-30 & 30-40 could be common. Few common Root Causes could mean that an identified Solution could address a specific root cause in either One or few or all of the Segments where the Root Cause appears. If the Identified Solution can address the similar root cause from different segments, thats a Plus/Bonus/Advantage. Nevertheless, RCA should not be allowed to influence the Segmentation exercise. Cannot see any merit in doing so.
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