Saturday, September 18, 2010

A fish story: "The customer that got away"

Bubba and Snooky will NOT be living in a goldfish tank from Jack's Aquarium & Pets store, located on Wilmington Pike in Dayton. I'm sure one of their clerks had the best intention, but really missed the boat when it came to satisfying this customer.
Here's the fish story. My daughter's high school biology class experiment, temperature affect on organism behavior (very harmless) this past week, ended with the teacher asking students if they wanted to bring home a goldfish before they would be "released" to meet another fate. With a written note of consent (required by the teacher), plus one of those cheap plastic goldfish containers lying around the house for the past 15 years, my daughter brought home two new family members.
So Saturday morning, I went on a quest to buy a tank so that Bubba and Snooky could have a permanent, comfortable home at least for the next 5 years. My thought was a 2 gallon tank, nothing fancy, but knew they should have some type of aeration. We already have a 15+ year old goldfish, so I consider myself fairly well informed about managing goldfish survival.
I started my errand at the Complete PETMART, close to my home. Open at 9:00 am, the clerk was nice and very helpful, but the store did not carry much of a product line for customers who have fish for pets. I asked the clerk where he would recommend I get a tank and support items, and he suggested Jack's Aquarium. The store is a little farther out, but Bubba and Snooky weren't looking the best for wear after swimming in the temporary vessel for more than 24 hours.
First problem – when I arrived, Jack's wasn't open, and wouldn't for another 45 minutes, until 10:00 am.  Maybe they don't think customers get up for Saturday morning errands. Instead of returning home, I killed time grocery shopping at a close-by store. Jack's was the recommended place to go for fish supplies, so I arrived back at the store just after their opening time.
"To attract and retain customers, effective organizations need to focus on determining and then providing what their customers want and value." (page 92)  I wasn't the only customer on the outside looking in before their posted opening time on Saturday.  My first reaction was that Jack's wasn't worried about being better than their competitor by making this store location available at the same time as their competitor. "Companies that want to retain their customers must continually strive to find ways to delight their customers." (page 94)  Jack's missed the boat. I would have been delighted to have been able to go into the store after 9:00 am just like the Complete PETMART store where I was delighted that there was one clerk on hand to help, even though they didn't carry products that would help out Bubba and Snooky.
Let's continue the fish story. . .
Since I had not previously shopped at Jack's Aquarium, I asked if a sales clerk could help me after looking around the store for a few minutes. I explained the situation; that I was looking for a 1 to 2 gallon tank, big enough I thought for 2 goldfish that are less than ½ inch long, at this point. I also needed an aeration unit. Knowing that these fish could live for a very long time, I told them my daughter would "super-size" the tank in about five years, but for now, I needed nothing large or fancy.
Unfortunately, the store clerk wasn't "listening" and promptly told me that this wasn't acceptable. First, I needed at least a 10 gallon tank, that goldfish could live to be 100 years old, and that I had probably stunted the growth of our current fish that was swimming in a 1 gallon tank. She also informed me that if I purchased the 1.5 gallon tank I was considering, that she would have to ask me to bring the goldfish to her store, she would take them off my hands and exchange them with 2 fish that I would be capable to care for in a 1.5 gallon tank (in other words, I was not competent for goldfish care).
Needless to say, I didn't appreciate being told that I didn't know how to take care of goldfish, and in the tone that the message was delivered. Since she obviously did not want to sell a tank smaller than 10 gallons, I left.
How do customers define value? "The organization itself may be evaluated based on its credibility and reputation for responsiveness to customers, employee competence, ability to communicate, and courtesy." (page 95) Jack's Aquarium missed the boat to meet a requirement for an effective organization as described in Chapter 4 of the text we are using in class, Quality Management. They don't appear to realize that the value of my transaction will determine whether I will buy from them the next time, or that I might tell other consumers about my experience. I am sure that this retail organization has not informed their clerks that "consumers have extraordinarily high standards for customer service. Companies that want to retain customers must continually strive to find ways to delight their customers." (page 94)
Simply listening to what I was trying to do now, and then helping me determine how to move to in the future, would have delighted me. The clerk lost an opportunity to satisfy my current need, and to offer options in a respectful manner, so. . . Jack's Aquarium lost a customer for life.
Not wanting to purchase any aquarium or fish supplies from Jacks, I went home, put away the groceries (melting ice cream since I had to grocery shopped before Jack's opened), I set off to find a 1 to 2 gallon tank at the nearby "big-box store". I found not only a 1.5 tank similar to one that was at Jacks for $10 less, but also purchased other items for Bubba and Snooky to feel more comfortable in their new home. What I spent today on this single purchase at the other store might not seem like much, but had my experience at Jack's Aquarium been completely different, I would have been a regular customer for future needs for other pet items in their store (we have a dog, cat and the 15+ year gold fish). Even more, I would have been able to recommend this store to my friends, other pet owners. Not anymore.
This is one fish story where the customer got away.

By Sandy Feola

Friday, September 17, 2010

ISO and Six Sigma

Over the past summer I had a coop job with Neaton Auto which is a mold injection supplier for Honda and Toyota. My job was in the quality department which allowed me to get involved ISO/TS and Six Sigma projects. This summer experience was the first time I ever got to learn what ISO and Six sigma is. I have had classes that mentioned ISO and Six Sigma but never went into detail. Working in the auto industry was great experience because they have top of the line technology and techniques for eliminating waste and controlling the quality. This experience was eye opening a I am so happy that I go to see these actives first hand. Now that my classes are teaching us about ISO and Six Sigma I am able to relate what we are learning with my first-hand experience. This for me is very important because I am much better at learning hands on.

I believe that very business should use ISO and six sigma methods. Not every company has to be ISO certified but I believe that every company should create some sort of standards, create documentation and reduce variation in the process. Focusing on those this will give a company more control over their product and increase the quality of the servers or part. On the other hand every company should also be looking for new ways to cut out waste and therefor costs. Eliminating unnecessary waste will give a company the competitive edge because it will give the company bester quality, faster production, cheaper product and give the company more agility to switch back and forth between processes. These methods should especially be used now that we are economically in a hard time. Companies should be putting a lot of focus on eliminating waste and creating better quality to get new costumers and more business from preview costumers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Frustrations with Online Media

Why does it always seem that there are so many different ways to access the same information and it can take hours upon hours to figure out what the reading assignment is for a certain class? Does anyone else find that all the technology and communication on the internet is actually hindering performance and the way students study and learn?

I find that I struggle for hours before actually finding the assignments and when I finally do, it was something so simplistic that its almost not worth my time in the first place. What is the point of having information in multiple areas when you are only creating waste in the time needed to search for your desired information.

 Is it even worth the time and effort posting information in multiple medias and areas throughout the world wide web? Sure everyone can see this information and decide what they are to do with this available knowledge but is it really teaching the masses or just cluttering up space across the board?

Chris P.

Earning my Green Belt

My name is Joseph Matt and I'm currently a student in IET 321, Quality Management. This is my final semester at UD and my victory, victory lap around the Ghetto.

This past summer I completed the project part of earning my Six Sigma Green Belt certification. My journey towards continuous improvement started last fall when registering for classes. Because of scheduling issues I couldn't graduate at the end of the year and would have to come back for another fall semester. After talking to my advisor I was told to enroll in the new Six Sigma Green Belt class, which would add to my resume, give me a summer internship, and complete my IET minor requirements.

Over the summer I worked with a prominent Dayton document management company on quality control of a premier product line that is offered to many state DMVs. Over the summer I traveled to two different plants around the country, ran over 50 DoE, worked with many plant operators and officials, and attached many, many decals.

This week in class we have been learning about the Six Sigma process and it's differentiation and similarities to ISOS standards. My knowledge from last semester and this summer have helped significantly with my homework and class participation.

I look forward to continuing to add onto my past experiences with Six Sigma and supplement it with additional quality management techniques.

-Joe Matt

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lean Sandwiches

Check out this excellent short article on lean:
It was sent to me by a very successful former student, Mike Monnier, Field Service Supervisor at Barsplice Products.

Communication: Making the first impression

Sometimes when we look at communication methods generational issues appear.  The key to remember when communicating, whether by blogs, email, voice mail, texting, or heaven forbid, face-to-face; is that you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Make your first impression a great one!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Video Conferencing

With the economy the way it is, more and more companies are turning to technology for solutions to reduce time and money. I recently saw an advertisement for an in-office video conferencing system. The ad said “emails and phone calls are a thing of the past since video conferencing enables users to connect face to face with anyone at anytime, at a moment’s notice”.

I think video conferencing is a good thing, because businesses can save time and money by holding video conferences instead of meetings. When a company has several branches that are scattered around the country or world, it is necessary for upper management to continually meet to ensure that the branches are doing what needs to be done. By using video conferencing, companies can save money on the cost of traveling as well as the time wasted when they are traveling.

What do you thing about the use of video conferencing? Do you think it is a productive way to communicate?

By: T.S.

Businesses Using Social Media

I recently read an article that discusses businesses using Facebook accounts to advertise to their customers. The article stated that Facebook has many features that allow businesses to advertise and get their product noticed (Stay). Not only can businesses advertise on facebook, but they can also conduct voting polls that allow the business to receive user information back about their product (Stay).

I believe Facebook offers an effective way to communicate because it allows companies to directly communicate with their customers. Facebook also allows the business to interact with the customer without much effort. This is a good idea because if a company would come out with a new product they can get it exposed easily. Also, advertising on Facebook is relatively low cost and since it is digital, no trees are cut down for paper advertisement. A company is able to advertise to a wide range of people only at the click of a button.

What do you think? Should Facebook be limited to only people or should companies be allowed to use Facebook for advertisement?

By: T.S.

Stay, Jesse. "Facebook for Business: Opportunities and Limitations." Inside Facebook (2008): n.
pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. <>.