- What: BellSouth wanted to increase the percent of the bills that were mailed within 5 days of printing. We were able to change this key measure to total cycle time from the last print time to when the bills were loaded and ready for pickup by the post office.
Key measure: Total cycle time, Errors per bill cycle
- Who: Billing center
- Where: Georgia
- How long: 3 months (includes 4 weeks of testing)
- How: Six Sigma approach
- Why: A decrease of 10% cycle time = $500,000 annual increase in float.
Collect ideas: Ideas were collected from the front line (65) concerning “What could we do to decrease the billing cycle time? What could we do differently to reduce errors?”
Ideas Tested/Time Frame: The ideas were reduced to 19 testable ideas. All 19 were tested at the same time for a period of a month. Only 3 were significantly helpful, 2 actually hurt either cycle time or errors and the other 14 made no difference at all. Management asked to continue testing one of the significant hurts (supplemental testing on the graph) because they had a hard time letting go of this particular idea. Once management saw that the cycle time was getting worse by holding on to the hurtful idea, they were willing to agree that that idea had to be eliminated.
Some of the ideas tested: checklist created by the “back end” of the process to be used by the “front end” of the process, technicians dedicated to each machine when the machine breaks down (instead of floating technicians), leader reviews statistics every two hours.