Discuss About The Simulation Modeling Best Analysis Toolkit?
This business report is compiled to study the case of a BPO, managed by AJ Lauren, who is the executive vice president, and handled the (EBO) Employee Benefits Outsourcing business of the BPO. The study of the case will further lead to analysing the situation and developing the improvement methods. Not to forget, post improvement to sustain the improved standard control measures are equally important. The case will illustrate application of six sigma process improvement method to improve productivity and efficiency in the outsourcing business (Adizes, 2015).
The EBO division was one of the fastest growing business of the BPO Inc. Multitude skills like leadership, managerial, negotiating, patience, and to be able to work under high pressure, are a few skills that are required to management an outsourcing business. The steady growth of the outsourcing business over the past years has resulted into creation of new job positions and hence developed requirement for new managerial skills. Many businesses come across a major issue of rising staff cost, when they try to generate the profit. A proper balance needs to be maintained between improving the sales and service of the business and controlling the costs, to struck effective management of the outsourcing business (Khatri, 2009).
The company is facing difficulty in clearly understanding the issues and what could be the right method to solve the issues without further creating new problems. The initial problem of replying to HA’s CEO is already there and connecting with the same is to identify the best possible method of getting a control over the operational issues so as to improve the productivity of CSRs and BA’s (Srinivasan, 2017). There does exist gaps in the process which causes delays and problems in reverting to the customers which in turn affects customer satisfaction level. These process gaps need to be streamlined to a level where there exists optimum utilization of resources and further increases the profitability level achieving customer satisfaction.
AJ Lauren, already working with Ethan and Jerry on the six sigma black belt project which he is sure will help him improve the operational issues. He is clear in his mind about the objective, however needs further clarity on each and every step involved in improvement process as needs to update the status to top management (Wipro, 2010). Post his meeting with Ethan and Jerry, he is aware of the six sigma project status and also how he will revert to the email of HA’s CEO. With the clear status in his mind, he also has some more questions which he wants to solve within next 2 weeks so that immediate actions can be taken to bring improvements (Ray & John, 2011).
Six sigma is a quality improvement methodology used to improve the processes by analysing process steps, identifying the elements which need improvement, developing element alternatives, and then implementing the improvement elements (Kannan, 2006). The five phases of this improvement methodology is called DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control)
The next part in the report will show all the five phases of the DMAIC methodology for process improvement which will include – Define, measure, analyse, improve and ends with control (Erdem, 2007).
Define: - Ethan defined the project as Health and Welfare Service Delivery Process to develop its simulation model so as to understand the operational problems, impact of resources on performance metrics, identify solutions and improve profitability and customer satisfaction levels. He could well identify that the problem was somewhere in the operational level of the Health and Welfare Service Delivery Process, that was negatively impacting the customer satisfaction level and profitability of the organization. The performance metrics need to be rigorously analysed to further deep down on the problem area and resolve the issues (Ogdoc, 2015).
Measure: - AJ Lauren, the Vice President of the BPO, has an objective in his mind and also has a positive attitude to solve the operational problem at the earliest. He, therefore works with Ethan and Jerry on the six sigma project to resolve the issues positively, leaving no scope for process gaps. The main motive of every company is to achieve customer satisfaction. So as to achieve their goal, they want to train the staff in a professional manner to give quality service to the customers. They want to make a robust operational plan for the company and hence needs to analyse each and every step of all the processes to identify the gaps, resources, issue areas and better monitor the performance metrics (Berg, 2008).
The black belt project undertaken is the opportunity to improve all operational problems. A thorough study and analysis of each process is to be done to understand where the resources are getting stuck to revert to the clients with a solution to their queries. The end objective is to empower the resources with all required data on time and to increase their efficiency by multi folds to achieve high client satisfaction level (Barjis & Pergl, 2014).
Jerry analyses various processes and shows details of it through various exhibits. The first option in their mind was to improve the efficiency utilizing the existing process and system. The various processes have certain gaps and lapses which leads to a wastage of a lot of time from the end of CSRs and hence affects the customer satisfaction level. The time taken by each CSR to resolve a client query at their level if still fine, but the time taken by the CSRs to get the report and data from BA’s and then revert to the client is much higher than the standard performance metrics. A huge differentiation is there in the minimum and maximum time taken at various steps of the process. This time differentiation needs to be monitored better to achieve better performance metrics and better tracking of the efficiency and effectiveness (Meyer & Scrima, 2006).
Analyse: - On analysing the Exhibit 4, team of 7 CSRs are handling the same client, with 2 - 3 CSR at a particular time. The same exhibit also shows that few CSRs are overloaded and few are handling only a single client.
Exhibit 7 shows that only 37% of CSR utilization is happening, which leaves a lot of time of CSRs being wasted, which also leads to increased costs (Li & Meissener, 2013).
Lauren’s meeting with Ethan and Jerry to get a status of six sigma black belt project gives the details of the process improvement project undertaken by them and the measures identified and studied to do the analysis. Jerry found that there were certain gaps or issues while integrating of database update process, which is done in batches, with the participant care sub process, which is done in real time. While he could develop the process map, he faced some challenges in getting the processing time data for the CSRs and the BA’s. He could resolve this there itself by giving form to the BA’s wherein they were required to record the processing time themselves (Sharma, Pandla, & Gupta, 2014). However, for the CSRs, the system records the call durations, but the system does not record the duration for which the client is kept on hold. This was an area where the specific improvement plan needs to be made so as to eliminate the requirement of putting the client on hold, despite giving training to the CSRs for not doing so.
They also identified that many of the resources were underutilized, leading to gaps and unnecessary increase in cost. The focus is to develop a plan to identify how many resources are required in the CSR team and how many in the BA team. The plan needs to further also focus on the optimum utilization of existing resources, if the resources are more than required number then how and where to utilize the excessive resources. While improving the process, a very important step is tp determine the number of BA’s, CSRs and Managers required, and how to allocate the clients to each CSR to increase efficiency and also increase the satisfaction level of the clients.
While understanding all the gaps and issues in the process to bring improvements, there also is a very important point to find an effective way to revert to the HA’s CEO, which also leads to improving the health and welfare service delivery process of the BPO (Breyfogle, Cupello, & Meadows, 2000).
Ethan explained the suggestion to create a new Case manager position between the CSRs and the BA’s. A lot of the discussion happened on how to get new case managers, he also did discussion with the BA’s on this point. This plan was created to develop a service delivery solution which would increase the customer service level. He planned to train and develop one of the CSR to be moved to the new case manager position, so as to facilitate career development and optimize operational expenses. This step could develop a direct contact with the service provider, as only few calls will get escalated, but will not eliminate the problem area completely. The responsibilities are still not clearly defined to each CSR and the CSR’s could still not take customer issues seriously and with the core responsibility to resolve at the earliest (Team, 2004).
The new case manager should be hired from outside the organization, so that the existing teams could accept him as their manager. Making an internal person the leader of both the teams could create internal issues within the teams and could further hamper the performance of the entire process. Also, the qualification of the CSRs and BA’s is not sufficient to make them lead such a position. A person who has handled a team of 40 - 50 people and holds a management degree should be hired externally. This new case manager could take some time to settle in the organization and understand the processes, but will also bring innovation and new ideas for improvements. His acceptance level will be on the higher side.
The High Touch Low Cost Approach simulation model suggested by Ethan can be a solution in part, but needs to be further refined so as to achieve the desired objective of customer satisfaction level and increased profitability.
Agreeing with Jerry’s opinion about Black Belt training in the March first week, which addresses the define phase and the measure phase. The Sam Regan’s email read that the benefits and services provided did not meet his expectations, hence a well trained staff reduces the chances of getting unsatisfied customers.
The CSRs need a more complex training to enable them to resolve maximum cases at their level. Employee performance is the criteria to select who should undergo the black belt certification and who should undergo the training process, so as to eliminate all process lapses and continuously improve the service levels to achieve customer satisfaction. The selected employees need to be self-motivated to undergo the training process, and should have completely understood the mission of their company, only then can they achieve effective results post completion of training. Through the training process, they will be required to do the regular day-to-day tasks as well as undergo the training and project as a part of the training curriculum, extra efforts will be required for a few months, hence these employees need to be kept motivated in some or the other ways by the human resource department (Chakravorty, 2010).
Ethan gave a good idea about creating a new position for a new Case Manager between the CSRs and BA’s. The Case Manager would be a connecting link between the CSRs and BA’s, who would handle the issues that CSRs would not be able to clarify. Instead of this case manager being an add-on to the existing headcount, this person can be the managing leader of the CSRs and BA’s. He will be continuously monitoring the time taken to resolve each case and would closely monitor the excess time taking cases. He will be the escalation point for any issues or problems. The case related issues should also be escalated to this person. He should work in a manner to resolve the issues and enable both the teams to work and perform better.
Three extra CSRs appointed for HA can be utilized at some other place as their timings overlap and also causes overlap of responsibilities. Multiple people handling the same client at the same time are leaving the CSR assume that the work is done or will be done by the other team member. There should be equal division of responsibilities with each CSR with clear description of what needs to be done and how it needs to be done so that the performance of each CSR can be measured accurately (Saxena, 2009).
The resources of CSR team are unevenly distributed. There needs to be a proper mechanism to divide the clients with each CSR and number of CSR for each client. This will lead to effective utilization of each resource and also will reduce the cost. However, the manpower cut can lead to insecurity among the existing resources. To have that sorted, there can be new benefit plans and incentive plans implemented, to keep the staff motivated as well as improve their performance. Attractive incentive plans have a positive impact on the team performance.
The problem of keeping the customer on hold can be resolved completely. This is possible at the CSR level through maintaining a proper communication via email to the customer about the time they need to check and revert on the issue, then the CSR can forward the request to BA’s and get the database update. This will keep the customer satisfied about the status that the team has noted the issue and is working on it, also will prepare the customer about the lead time they need to resolve the problem. This particular process by having no waiting time and the customers will no longer be kept on hold for any reason. The CSR and BA’s will have sufficient time to check their database and according revert to the customer query.
Automating the process would further simplify the reporting and performance metrics and assessments to take better decisions. This process could take around a year to get completely implemented, and then two to three months to check the effectiveness and build a control mechanism on it. The automated system should be able to give proper performance reports to be analysed from time to time and accordingly performance metrics can be defined. The automated processes ease out much of the efforts and give effective and efficient results (Erdem, 2007).
Control: - The process map developed by Jerry should be continually reviewed and updated from time to time to reflect any modifications. All documents prepared while the improvement process should be standardized and updated with versions.
Despite of such practices and improvements it is also beneficial to do rigorous follow-ups and keep implementing corrective actions with simple documentation so as to increase the sustainability of the improvements brought into the process (Bonacorsi, 2012).
A very critical factor in the control phase is to set up a plan to monitor the new process so as to maintain the project outputs. This step clarifies the way that how the performance of new process would be continuously monitored, who is the related person to be contacted in case of issues or problems, how to do that and how to respond (Emmett, 2007).
Customer contact department of a BPO is not just ubiquitous, but also a high mode of customer dissatisfaction. The performance of its CSR’s can lead to making or breaking the service provider’s indexes of customer service levels and loyalty. Just by focusing on the key factor of customer requirements or in simple words by what customer needs, and by building the processes around those needs and collecting further quantitative measurements on the key factors, the EBO group of the BPO Inc, can be an asset to the organization as a whole. At this particular time, the other data factors of client queries, resource utilization, client being kept on hold, etc. becomes critical.
The Customer Service Representatives need to be competent enough to be able to answer the client queries at their level, in case of need of more details, they should be well trained on how to handle such clients and keep them warm about the issue and data clarification. These are certain important performance metrics to be taken care of as these are client-affecting service level indicators, which can lead to the loss of a client.
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Ray, S., & John, B. (2011). Lean Six?Sigma application in business process outsourced organization. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 2(4), 371-380. Retrieved from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/20401461111189443
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Sharma, M., Pandla, K., & Gupta, P. (2014). Case study on Six Sigma at Wipro Technologies: Thrust on Quality. Retrieved from https://www.iitk.ac.in/infocell/announce/convention/papers/Changing%20Playfield-04-Manisha%20Sharma,%20Kapil%20Pandla,%20Prasanth%20Gupta.pdf
Srinivasan, S. (2017). Simulation Modeling Best Addition to Analysis Toolkit. Retrieved from https://www.isixsigma.com/tools-templates/simulation/simulation-modeling-best-addition-analysis-toolkit/
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Wipro. (2010). Process modeling & simulation. Retrieved from https://www.wipro.com/documents/resource-center/library/process-modeling-simulation.pdf?bcsi_scan_64741547a7fe261b=0&bcsi_scan_filename=process-modeling-simulation.pdf
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