iSixSigma

Metrics

Do you recommend that a company imbed Black Belts within business units or organize them in a central group that are "loaned out" to business units for project work?

In my deployment and implementation experience, Black Belts should not be pooled into a central organization and then farmed out like a bunch of “rented experts.”  To my knowledge, only a few organizations have successfully implemented this type of approach.  When executed in a large-scale corporation, there is a certain amount of “up-front management appeal.” …

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Should the first project a Black Belt works on (the one that the Black Belt does for training) be one of substance or one that is a sure winner without much substance?

The first Black Belt project is just that – a training project.  It is not a platform from which to attempt solving world hunger, or the like.  The purpose of a training project is two fold.  The first purpose is related to the reinforcement of learning.  The second purpose is to realize an operational objective…

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If a process is broken (low process capability), should it be a DMAIC or Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) project?

Is the process broken because of poor process control?  Is it broken because of inferior technology?  Is is broken because of inadequate operational knowledge?  Is is broken because  of a mismatch between the process technology and the design specifications?  Is is broken because of some interaction thereof?  How can you expect anyone to rationally answer…

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What should you do if your data isn't normal, even after a transformation?

It is possible to analyze non-normal data when conducting a capability analysis – even if it cannot be transformed to a state of normality.  Of course, this position assumes that the underlying distribution is unimodal in nature (i.e., not multimodal).  Technical details aside, this particular type of problem can quickly become an analytical nightmare for…

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What's your best advice to gain the trust, comittment and participation of all associates in the shortest time possible?

In my opinion, between 25 and 50 percent of variable pay must be directly linked to “hard” Six Sigma goals – throughout the organizational hierarchy.  This tactic usually gets everybody’s attention and quickly sounds the alarm to “align goals and objectives.”  It also sets the mood for “win-win” and generates a lot of leadership energy. …

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How can an organization create "sustainable" Six Sigma projects?

I assume you mean “sustainability of project results.”  In other words, the resulting benefits are not to be enjoyed just one time – they are recurrent in nature.  The best way to ensure that recurrent benefits are continually realized is to monitor the situation.  This would normally involve a proactive accounting system and someone to…

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How do I ensure selection of the right type of high impact projects? Any tips on project selection methods and criteria?

Having “been there and done that,” I deeply appreciate your question.  A simple literature search will yield a lot on this subject.  However, you should first read the Rath and Strong book on Six Sigma.  I highly recommend this particular reading, especially for “middle management level” guidance.  This book provides a number of relevant templates…

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How can six sigma culture best be spread to the entire company?

The following references will provide a very nice overview of the field – from general theory to in-depth case studies: 1) Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations by Mikel J. Harry, Ph.D. and Richard Schroeder, Doubleday 2000. 2) Six SIGMA Leadership Handbook by Rath and Strong Staff, John Wiley &…

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How do you handle Six Sigma skeptics?

As humans, we often seek insight by way of reasoning.  In this case, we are concerned with the reasoning of a “skeptic.”  Referencing the standard dictionary (Excel version), we define a skeptic as “somebody who questions the validity or truth of things that most people accept.”  Of little surprise, it would be generally accepted that…

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While calculating Pp and Ppk, how do I determine the value of Short term and long term Standard deviation?

One must necessarily understand that the short-term standard deviation reports on the “instantaneous reproducibility” of a process whereas the long-term standard deviation reflects the “sustainable reproducibility.”  To this end, the short-term standard deviation is comprised of the “within group” sums-of-squares (SSW).  The long-term standard deviation incorporates the “total” sums-of-squares (SST).  Of course, the difference between…

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How do you think Six Sigma will evolve?

To me, the ideology of Six Sigma will evolve in two distinct by complementary directions.  The first will be a focus on value creation, not just cost reduction and quality improvement.  The second will be an implosion of Six Sigma to the personal level.  I have been working with these two perspectives for quite some…

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What Is the Logic Behind a One Tail Defect, Or Is it That This Difference Is Negligible Beyond 3.5 Sigma?

Of considerable interest, this concept often mystifies newcomers to field of Six Sigma. As you already surmised, the referenced charts rely upon the assumption of a unilateral specification (single-sided performance requirement). From a defect accounting point-of-view, it should be fairly obvious that a unilateral (one-sided) specification must be treated as a single defect category. However, a bilateral (two-sided)…

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How can Six Sigma be integrated with ISO?

Imagine working for a corporation that is operating at an overall quality level of about Six Sigma.  In terms of capability, this means that the company would be about 1,800 times better than the average organization (about Four Sigma).  So, what would such a difference be like?  If it existed, what would not need to…

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Where did the name "Six Sigma" come from?

In my recollection, two recurring questions have dominated the field of six sigma.  The first inquiry can be described by the global question: “Why 6s and not some other level of capability?”  The second inquiry is more molecular.  It can be summarized by the question: “Where does the 1.5s shift factor come from – and…

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Can you discuss a few of the common problems related to project selection and how they can be addressed in a large service organization?

The following is a list of some “big dos.”  Just flip things around to answer your question. 1) The project targets only one CTQ (for purposes of improvement).2) The target CTQ should be measurable – conveniently and economically so.3) The CTQ should have a well-defined set of performance standards.4) The CTQ should not involve destructive…

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A good number of management systems are available in addition to Six Sigma. Can a company survive with only one?

Today, very few corporate executives believe that TQM is a viable system of business management.  To this point, a 1996 study titled “Measuring Performance After Meeting Award Criteria” was published in Quality Progress magazine.  The conclusions were quite apparent – the impact of TQM practices may not be nearly as significant as some think.  After…

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What do you do in automated manufacturing environments, hospitals, telecom centers or data centers where equipment uptime is so critical?

Based on the elements of your question, I would say that your problem could be readily shaped into a Black Belt project.  I would assume that a Pareto analysis has already been conducted. As a more advanced diagnostic, you should consider employing a multi-vari chart.  Although simple in nature, such a chart has considerable power. …

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Could you explain the best way to predict the outcome of a process in the future?

Reference the quality literature on statistical process control, also known as “SPC.”  There are many excellent books on the subject, particularly the one by “Grant and Levenworth.”  Process improvement and optimization is often accomplished by way of statistically designed experiments, or “DOE” as it is known.  To this end, the work of “George Box” is…

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How can we improve the growth and acceptance of Six Sigma?

We must always remember that the power brokers within and external to a corporation are the ones who render judgment about the success or failure of some initiative. Simply stated, the power brokers are only concerned with one matter – demonstrated results that are overtly visible and economically aligned with larger aims, not hidden somewhere…

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How does normality of the data impact the process performance?

First, there is a great deal of literature on this subject – find it and read it.  However, there is no substitute for direct experience.  Of course, this is directly related to the old saying “we learn by doing.”  Along these lines, I would strongly recommend that you further your Six Sigma training and education…

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How can employees be motivated to do projects?

From my perspective, this is not a Six Sigma problem.  However, it does seem to be a management problem.  The motivational issue will likely disappear with some proactive leadership.  The difficulty you are have in relating your issues to the bottom line is likely due to the nature of your accounting system (i.e., a mismatch…

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What references would you suggest to learn about Six Sigma via self-study?

The following references will provide a very nice overview of the field – from general theory to in-depth case studies: 1) “Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations” by Mikel J. Harry, Ph.D. and Richard Schroeder, Doubleday 2000. 2) “Jack Welch and the GE Way: Management Insights and Leadership Secrets of…

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How many Black Belts are there and how can it improve my career?

Sometime in the not too distant past, I recall that Quality Progress magazine reported on a study that considered annualized Black Belt earnings.  For the exact information on this, you would obviously have to reference the original article.  However, my less-than-perfect memory seems to inform me that a Black Belt earns about $9K(US) to $10K(US)…

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If a Project Doesn’t Meet the Six Sigma Level (as Calculated on the Sigma Calculator on This Site), Is it a Six Sigma Project?

Seems to me that you have described a traditional quality improvement project. Based on the elements of your question, it is my understanding that: 1) Each “drawing feature” constitutes a “defect opportunity.” 2) The customer’s minimum expectation was a quality level of .99, per feature. 3) The pre-project quality was found to .995, per feature…

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How significant is benchmarking in an overall Six Sigma approach?

I assume that you are referring to the “quantitative” variety.  In this regard, I believe that benchmarking is a highly valuable activity.  For example, consider the “sigma-tizing” of a business.  Let us suppose a certain corporation discovers that it is a 3.5 sigma business.  Now suppose that the same company finds one of its competitors…

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Is there a generalized form of Six Sigma that can be applied to every organization that wants to improve their process quality?

A central aspect of six sigma is an eight-step approach for achieving dramatic improvement at different levels of the business.  The process is given by the acronym RDMAICSI – Recognize, Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control, Standardize, and Integrate.  As a short cut, many just apply DMAIC. At a top management level, it functions as a…

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I am confused about which institution I should choose for my Black Belt certification. What approach should I use?

Please reference this previous question.  This question and answer examines how to select a “good” Six Sigma consultant.  In summary, you must consider the consultant’s credentials.  In the consulting business, credentials are everything – plain and simple.  If a consultant does not have the necessary credentials, they should not be considered (for anything).  Following is…

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