Loop: Six Sigma Improvement


Loop operate an inbound call centre designed to handle incoming operational and billing related calls from the customers of its client companies, one of which is Yorkshire Water.

The management team assumed that an unknown percentage of these calls are caused by activities either fully or partially within the control of the inbound call process and that a significant reduction in inbound calls could be achieved by applying recognised problem solving tools.


A project team was formed (Right First Time team) and tasked with identifying a number of process improvement actions aimed at reducing the volume of billing calls by 25 %. Oakland Consulting were contracted to supply materials and to train the team using the Six Sigma DMAIC approach and to assist the team with identification of the current sigma rating for the process performance and the projected rating based on the identified improvements.


  • The team was trained in tools and techniques required for a DMAIC improvement methodology. The training was broken down into three parts and delivered using an action learning approach, making use of real data and examples of problems and issues associated with the Right First Time project
  • The problem was articulated and a baseline for call volumes established
  • The team applied the DMAIC approach to solve the problem
  • Opportunities were identified from root cause analysis and recommendations were pilot tested
  • The sigma ratings were calculated for both the current performance and post implementation of recommendations
  • Controls and measures were defined that will ensure that the improvements are sustained over the longer term
  • A plan for roll out, including training of staff and the creation of a Quality Control function was defined


Oakland’s work has helped Loop to:

  • Establish a structured approach to problem solving through implementation of a DMAIC technique with appropriate tools that Loop can roll out across the whole organisation
  • Identify improvements that will reduce the volume of calls received by more than 30%. Delivering an annual saving of £1.2 million on a current cost of £3.1 million
  • Identify other opportunities for improvement using the structured approach that will further reduce the number of calls and deliver benefits in other areas such as general correspondence and debt collection
  • Generate a desire for changing the culture of Loop to one based around Customer Quality. During the project there was a marked improvement in morale of staff involved in the pilot tests. As customers responded positively to the new call handling approach staff felt a greater sense of achievement and customers of receiving a better service. In general many staff commented that it was good for a project to take advice from staff and act upon their suggestions