The Guthrie Group Helps Improve Process and Profits With Morae
Zack Guthrie, P.E. and The Guthrie Group, Inc. (TGG) are management consultants in the process of Lean Six Sigma. They use Morae to help their clients make things easier, faster, better, safer and cheaper for customers. Typically TGG is focused on problems that directly impact the customer—i.e. responsiveness (customer waiting on a phone or waiting for a product to be delivered) and quality of service.
What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma is used by the majority of the Fortune 500 and Fortune 100. “Lean” indicates the removal of waste—the things that don’t add value for the customer. “Our goal when helping clients become leaner is to use tools to be able to see the waste, and once we can identify those problem areas, we can work to reduce or completely remove that waste from the process,” said Zack.
Where “lean” removes waste, “six sigma” aims to remove variation. “If you watch five or ten users doing the same process, you’ll find great variation in how they accomplish a task—from the layout of their screen to the number of keystrokes,” Zack said. “Removing variation shifts everyone closer to the most efficient way of accomplishing the task.”
Real Measurement With Morae
“Measurement is critical in any company,” said Zack. “Restaurants measure the temperature of coffee or types of ingredients used in a recipe. An airline pilot measures air speed. A nurse measures vital signs. But in the past, screen-based transactional processes like filling out a form online or filing a claim were measured in board rooms with Post-it notes and only qualitative data.”
“Without Morae, you really can’t measure a transactional process. And from our standpoint, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
TGG uses Morae to help teams determine the best way to conduct a process. They encourage teams to own the research by putting them in charge of the observation process. For example, in a team of five, one person would be named the “lead researcher.” That person would execute 15 transactions while being observed by the rest of the team using Morae. Next, a different group member would become the lead researcher and perform those same 15 transactions with the group observing. All the while, Morae is capturing data—all the keystrokes, mouse clicks, and windows used.
“And from there, we’re in a great position because we have solid data, a team that’s collaborating together, a unified goal to understand how long the process is, and the challenge to the team to cut that in half,” said Zack.
ResultsBy using Morae and Lean Six Sigma, TGG has helped teams achieve impressive results, including:
- 50% of drop down fields removed
- 50% of intranet site fields removed
Less Email Traffic
- 1,000 emails in bound per day (from the same recipient) reduced by 80%
- 25,000 emails across 30 days for a 14 person team reduced by 50%
Less Lead Time
- Lead time reduced from 31 hours to 3 hours
- One team realized that 60% of their time was being spent trying to determine how to triage a problem rather than actually solving the problem. They created standard forms so that a) all information is present b) triage category is known immediately, and c) there are opportunities for automated processes to take over.
In many cases, these lean processes can be discovered and learned in as little as three days. “However, the key is for teams to learn the decided upon ‘best way’ and practice, practice, practice,” said Zack.