iSixSigma

Six Sigma Methodology

Ask Dr. Mikel Harry: How Can Six Sigma Be Applied to Human Resources?

Dr. Mikel Harry answers the question, “How can Six Sigma be applied to the Human Resources (HR) function?” Listed are some simple examples for Human Resource projects: 1) Employee turnover rate. 2) Job satisfaction issues (surveys). 3) Management satisfaction. 4) Cafeteria food quality. 5) Policy deployment. 6) New hire process quality and cycle time. 7)…

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…

no comments

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…

no comments

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…

no comments

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…

no comments

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…

no comments

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…

no comments

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…

no comments

The theory of complexity states that creativity balances order and chaos. To maintain creativity in Six Sigma, how can address this balance?

Metaphysically speaking, I cannot (and will not) argue with your assertions. Perhaps the transitional state between order and chaos (i.e., the point of bifurcation) necessarily constitutes a stage for heightened creativity. However, scientifically speaking, I do believe that chaos theory and fractal geometry can be effectively employed to examine the effects of unstable processes on…

no comments

Why is it so hard to apply Six Sigma to the oil and gas industry?

It is quite interesting that you find Six Sigma to be “very difficult” in terms of application.  Typically, such a perspective is fairly common among those who have had limited exposure to or experience with Six Sigma.  Either you have convinced yourself that Six Sigma is very difficult (to deploy, implement, and apply), or someone…

no comments

Is the process approach to quality mangement is important in Six Sigma?

Essentially, the idea of a “process” is to “Six Sigma” as the idea of “teaching” is to “knowledge.”  Perhaps Martin Luther King, Jr. best summed it when he stated: “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”  Not only is the process approach important, it is what under girds the…

no comments

Is Six Sigma just as valid for service providers as it is for manufacturers?

So as to better appreciate the spirit and intent of our ensuing discussion, we must call upon the nature and purpose of two recognized entities – the US Postal Service and Ford Motor Company.  If we were to contrast these organizations, how would they appear to be similar? How would they appear to be dissimilar? …

What is the difference between Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma?

Lean Sigma might be an anorexic standard deviation. If this is true, then Lean Six Sigma is probably the linear sum of six anorexic sigmas. I would imagine that a healthy diet, mental exercise, and less greed would improve the current trend. That’s the funny thing about people with anorexia – they truly believe “skinnier…

How can Six Sigma be applied in a software development?

There is a clear tendency among many new comers to Six Sigma.  That tendency is to artificially and unwittingly limit the scope of Design-For-Six-Sigma (DFSS) to the configuration of hardware-based products and processes.  As a result, it is currently common to equate DFSS with such fields of practice as engineering and manufacturing, which have their…

Is there a standard exit document/checklist in template form that provides a step-by-step process to follow during project close-out that ensures all control steps are in place?

I am not aware of a “standardized” exit document (in template form) that is related to the closeout of deliverables.  Of course, corporations often create such devices to serve their own internal needs, but are not usually postured to publicly share the resulting intellectual property.  I would suggest that you post this question on the…

What is the relationship between Six Sigma and Management Information Systems (MIS)?

At the onset of this discussion, it is vital that we establish the basic nature and character of a “Management Information System.”  According to G. Davis and M. Olson in the publication “Management Information Systems” (1984, p. 5-6):  “There is no consensus of the definition of the term ‘management information system’…” In fact, these highly…

How can Six Sigma be applied in an organization that designs, manufactures, assembles and presure tests oil drilling equipment?

You apply Six Sigma in the same way as any other business enterprise.  In general, this means you must implement Six Sigma on a project-by-project basis.  Generically speaking, Y=f(X) and the only thing that changes from situation-to-situation is the variable labels, transfer function, rate of replication, cost-per-transaction,  and faces of the players.  Other than that, …

Is there a difference between Six Sigma and "robust design"?

Where the engineering of quality is concerned, Dr. G. Taguchi popularized the idea of “robustness” in the mid 80’s.  As one might suspect, the underlying definition of this term is fairly simple – per the dictionary, it is the ability to recover from unexpected [and expected] conditions during operation.   In this sense, the idea of…