1) Article 1: A Few Words About the Kano Model
  
2) Article 2: Explaining the Total Degrees of Freedom for Six Sigma Practitioners 

  

By: E. George Woodley

  

A Few Words About the Kano Model

By: E. George Woodley

  

A very astute student of Dr. Ishikawa, Dr. Noriaki Kano, developed an interesting model to address the various ways in which Six Sigma practitioners can prioritize customer needs. This became particularly important when trying to rank the customer's wants and desires in a logical fashion.

  

The first step is to identify the quality characteristics that are typically fuzzy, vague and nebulous. These are referred to as the voice of the customer (VOC). Once the voice of the customer is understood, we can attempt to translate it into quantitative terms known as critical to quality (CTQ) characteristics. This should not be a new concept for those familiar with the Six Sigma methodology. What happens from here, though, can sometimes go astray if we are not careful, and try to put our own spin on the needs of the customer. This may be the result of trying to make things more easily obtainable for us - a formula for failure.

  

So, now that we have identified what is important to the customer in workable terms, we can attempt to go to the second step. Always keeping the customer in mind, we can apply the concepts outlined in the Kano Model.

   

The model is broken down into an (x,y) graph, where the x-axis represents how good we are at achieving the customer's outcome(s), or CTQ's. The y-axis records the customer's level of satisfaction the customer should have, as a result of our level of achievement.

   

The dashed line represents the Must Be's. That is, whatever the quality characteristic is, it must be present, such that if it is not, the customer will go elsewhere! The customer does not care if the product is wrapped in 24-carat gold, only that it is present and is functionally doing what it was designed to do. An example of this would be a client who checks into a hotel 

room expecting to find a bed, curtains, and bathroom in the room. These items are not called out for by the customer, but would definitely cause them to go elsewhere if any of these "characteristics" were not present.

 

The solid line represents the Performance. This line reflects the voice of the customer. The better we are at meeting these needs, the happier the customer is. It is here where the trade-offs take place. Someone wanting good gas mileage would not likely expect to have a vehicle that has great accelerations from a standing position.

   

By far, the most interesting evaluation point of the model is the Delighter (dashed and dotted line). This represents those qualities that the customer was not expecting, but received as a bonus. A few years ago, it was customary that when a car was taken back to the dealer for a warranty oil change, the vehicle was returned to the owner with its body washed, mirrors polished, carpets vacuumed, etc. After a few trips to the dealer, this Delighter became a Must Be characteristic. Thus, a characteristic that once was exciting was now a basic need, and a part of the customer's expectations. Another example of this is the amenities platter that some hotels provide their platinum customers upon checking in. I am one of those clients entitled to such a treat. This practice was certainly a delight. It has, however, become an expected part of my check-in, such that if there is no platter waiting in my room, I'm on the phone with the front desk.

   

Once the critical to quality characteristics have been prioritized, the last step involves an analysis of evaluating or assessing just how well we can satisfy each of Dr. Noriaki Kano's classifications.

   

The Practical Side to the Kano Model

   

Recapping - The Kano Model is a tool that can be used to prioritize the Critical to Quality characteristics, as defined by the Voice of the Customer and the three categories identified by the model are:

    

Must Be: Whatever the quality characteristic is, it must be present, such that if it is not, the customer will go elsewhere!

   

Performance: The better we are at meeting these needs, the happier the customer is.

   

Delighter: Those qualities that the customer was not expecting, but received as a bonus.

   

Being a trainer and consultant, I spend a lot of time on the road. In doing so, I have a tendency to check into hotels on a regular basis. I once queried the manager of a hotel I spend a lot of time at how he established practices to entice the business client. He related the following scenario to me.

  

Table 1

Characteristic

 

Price

Fast check-in

Express checkout

Location

Comfortable bed

Continental breakfast

Jacuzzi

Internet hook-up

Newspaper

Cable/HBO

Exercise room

Swimming pool

Restaurant

Business Client

 

Performance

Performance

Must Be

Performance

Must Be

Must Be

Delighter

Must Be

Must Be

Delighter

Delighter

Delighter

Performance

The first thing he did was to identify a list of qualities the client would be interested in. He came upon his list by listening to complaints, handing out surveys, holding focus groups and conducting interviews. The information in the extreme left column is a partial list from the voice of the customer. Knowing that I was involved in something that dealt with customer satisfaction, he asked me to assist him in ranking the characteristics. I explained the concepts behind the Kano Model, and together we developed the list in the column labeled Business Client. This was all fine and dandy, as far as the business customer was concerned.

    

For my own interest, I asked him to look at these same characteristics from the point of view of a vacationing family, with perhaps a few children. As a final task, I asked him to assess how strong or weak he felt the hotel was when trying to meet those quality characteristics identified in table 1.

   

Table 2

Characteristic

 

Price

Fast check-in

Express checkout

Location

Comfortable bed

Continental breakfast

Jacuzzi

Internet hook-up

Newspaper

Cable/HBO

Exercise room

Swimming pool

Restaurant

Business Client

 

Performance

Performance

Must Be

Performance

Must Be

Must Be

Delighter

Must Be

Must Be

Delighter

Delighter

Delighter

Performance

Vacationer

 

Must Be

Performance

Performance

Performance

Must Be

Delighter

Performance

Delighter

Delighter

Must Be

Performance

Must Be

Performance

How Good Are We?

 

Satisfactory

Weak

Weak

Satisfactory

Satisfactory

Satisfactory

Weak

Weak

Satisfactory

Satisfactory

Weak

Satisfactory

Weak

    

The conclusions from this effort can be as summarized by looking at the rows that have a characteristic in the Must Be category. With respect to the business client, this yielded express checkout, a comfortable bed, continental breakfast, internet hook-up and newspaper. The vacationer, on the hand, had must be's that include price, comfortable bed, cable/ HBO, and a swimming pool.

  

Of these characteristics, the manager realized that the hotel was weak in the check-in and express checkout process, and internet hook-up. This exercise allowed the manager to better address the needs of the customer, based on their critical to quality characteristics. Now the work begins to minimize the gap of where the hotel is with respect to where the hotel wants to be.

  

  

One final word.  If a characteristic isn't on the list, does that mean it can be ignored?

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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