Process Improvement (Lean) Case Study

Client: A leading global technology services company that specializes in IT outsourcing
Industry: Retail
Service: Kaizen Events, Workforce Management
Challenge:  Missed cost and service-level targets
Solutions: A multi-phased approach was developed for this call center to achieve their expected results:

  • Phase I – Complete an Assessment of the overall operations and a foundation for determining the best approach
  • Phase II – Leverage Sigma Kaizen Breakthrough events in areas to gain immediate improvements
  • Phase III – Leverage Lean Six Sigma Workforce Management for improving forecasting and scheduling at this location

Results:

  • Agent lead-time for quality feedback reduced from 8 days to 24 hours
  • Offline work consolidated to a dedicated team
  • Identified an annual savings of $1.8 million in overtime and an additional $1.3 million in excess staffing expense

The call center receives over 750,000 calls per month for one of their major clients. These calls are related to after-sales support for consumers. They elected to try Lean Six Sigma tools and methods for improving their service-level targets and reducing costs within their call center. The service delivery for this company was defined by an abandonment rate of less than 5%. The company was struggling to make this target on a consistent basis. A multi-phased approach was developed for this call center to achieve the gains that they expected.

Phase I – Assessment A week-long review of all aspects of the business was conducted to determine how best to achieve the results needed for this location. Areas that were reviewed in the assessment included volume forecasting, scheduling approach, call procedures, quality monitoring, training, and knowledge management. After the assessment, an event schedule was created for the business unit.

Phase II – Kaizen Breakthrough Events

  1. Cancel-Save process: Improve the handle time on calls.
  2. Quality monitoring process: Reviewed the quality definitions.
  3. Offline Work: To determine the work content and planning for the design and implementation of more effective cellular processing

Phase III – Workforce Management Leveraged Workforce Management (WFM) to improve the forecasting and scheduling of resources within the call center. In their current WFM process, the variation from forecasted volumes to actual calls received could vary as much as 20%. They had implemented a variety of customized schedules that did not adequately match the staffing to the incoming call arrival patterns. Gap Analysis: A comprehensive analysis was completed on the following:

  • Review of the call patterns in order to more accurately predict their call volumes
  • Review of the average handling time to determine the total call load for each time period
  • Analysis was completed on their shrinkage, service level performance, and agent utilization

Future State: With the analysis complete, a current resource requirement could be determined. This formed the basis of new Agent schedules to enable the site to match their capacity and their call volumes within this high variation call environment. The new schedules were put up for agent shift-bid and assigned. Cost Savings: With the implementation of the new staffing schedules, the following annual savings were identified:

  • $1.8 million dollars in overtime expense
  • $1.3 million in excess staffing expense. This resulted in the use of additional part-time employees and a reduction in overtime
  • 82% reduction in the number of schedules used which simplified the management and monitoring of the staff