iSixSigma

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Arne Buthmann

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DFSS Helps Mask a Bitter Taste

A bad taste can prevent some people, particularly the young and the elderly, from taking a medication – which can endanger their health. Taste can also influence what over-the-counter drugs people purchase and the choice between generic and brand-name medications. Because taste is such a key factor in compliance and purchasing decisions, optimizing taste is…

Use a Modified FMEA to Mitigate Project Risks

Every project faces a number of elements that risk its success. For instance, a lack of team-member availability, qualified resources, customer information, data, proven technologies, a clear scope – or deficiencies in a number of these areas – represents a risk. To prevent risks like these from happening, or at least to be prepared when…

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Preventing Conflicts Through Stakeholder Management

A stakeholder of a Six Sigma project is anyone associated with the project either directly or indirectly. Examples of stakeholders are supervisors providing resources, team members, department heads and employees involved in the process. An up-front analysis of who the stakeholders are and how and when to involve them in the project can prevent potential…

Reaching Excellence in Black Belt Performance

What separates high-performing Black Belts from low performers? Most people would probably automatically refer to project success: High-performing Black Belts better execute the Six Sigma methodology and deliver significant process improvements and accompanying financial benefits. While this answer is definitely true, it reflects a limited view. This article outlines a more comprehensive picture of Black…

How to Effectively Coach Green Belts and Black Belts

Green Belt and Black Belt coaching has for many organizations become an integral part of Lean Six Sigma implementation and critical to the success of improvement projects. However, standards and best practices of effective coaching are only rarely established. Some may ask, “Why coaching for someone who has gone through training?” While training is essential…

Why Six Sigma Black Belts Make Better Leaders

A survey by iSixSigma Magazine of more than 1,300 business professionals whose companies are using Six Sigma revealed that leadership development programs which involve Six Sigma training are six times more likely to be called “highly successful” than those without. Many of these leadership development programs involve a Black Belt track for future leaders. Thus,…

Creating a Recruiting Process: DFSS for Process Design

The following case study illustrates how a pharmaceutical company applied selected DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) tools to develop a new recruiting process for sales representatives. Tools and activities are described along the IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize, Verify) phases, which served as a guiding roadmap through this process design project. Identify The need to completely…

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Dealing with Non-normal Data: Strategies and Tools

Normally distributed data is a commonly misunderstood concept in Six Sigma. Some people believe that all data collected and used for analysis must be distributed normally. But normal distribution does not happen as often as people think, and it is not a main objective. Normal distribution is a means to an end, not the end…

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Who Wants to Be a Six Sigma Master Black Belt?

Here is how to become a Master Black Belt: Attend a one-week training course and earn a certification from a European institute. The institute claims on the web to be officially approved and the course is for open enrollment. To most Six Sigma practitioners this does not make a lot of sense, but it raises…

Making Sense of the Two-Proportions Test

Consider a production process that produced 10,000 widgets in January and experienced a total of 100 rejected widgets after a quality control inspection (i.e., failure rate = 0.01, success rate = 0.99). A Six Sigma project was deployed to fix this problem and by March the improvement plan was in place. In April, the process…

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Making Data Normal Using Box-Cox Power Transformation

Normally distributed data is needed to use a number of statistical analysis tools, such as individuals control charts, Cp/Cpk analysis, t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA). When data is not normally distributed, the cause for non-normality should be determined and appropriate remedial actions should be taken. (An introduction to remedial actions for non-normal data can…

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10 Criteria to Use for Evaluating Six Sigma Projects

Projects are the core of every Six Sigma initiative. Identifying the right projects, having skilled people on board, and providing a proper environment for project execution determines whether the intended process and business results can be achieved and whether Six Sigma will be perceived as a powerful approach to contribute to business success. A relatively…

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Cost of Quality: Not Only Failure Costs

When calculating the business case for a Six Sigma project, the cost of poor quality (COPQ), which is the cost caused through producing defects, is a commonly used concept. Within the total amount of quality cost, however, COPQ represents only a certain proportion. Costs do not result from only producing and fixing failures; a high…

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Define and Control: Bridge Between Business and Project

Initially Six Sigma process improvement projects followed four phases: Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Today, some companies still omit the Define phase because a project’s definition is seen as mainly management work. Following this logic, the same might be true for Control: ensuring that the process improvements are implemented and monitored is only a business…

Understanding the Uses for Mood’s Median Test

When comparing the average of two or more groups with the help of hypothesis tests, the assumption is that the data is a sample from a normally distributed population. That is why hypothesis tests such as the t-test, paired t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) are also called parametric tests. Nonparametric tests do not make…

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A System for Colleague Consulting Among Black Belts

Most of the difficult situations Black Belts face in their day-to-day work are not related to the application of a specific Six Sigma tool, but rather to change or project management issues. For example, issues such as:  How to involve a stakeholder that is very negative about the project. How to get commitment from the…

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Using the 1-Sample Sign Test for Paired Data

The paired t-test is used to check whether the average differences between two samples are significant or due only to random chance. In contrast with the “normal” t-test, the samples from the two groups are paired, which means that there is a dependency between them. The following example illustrates the difference between the regular t-test…

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DFSS Study: Develop Software to Track Drug Side Effects

Integrating Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), IDOV (identify, design, optimize, validate) roadmap and selected DFSS tools in the information technology (IT) system development methodology can strengthen the business focus of IT system delivery. Adding additional steps at the beginning and end of the traditional system development cycle for DFSS can support the better understanding of…

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Making Sense of Mann-Whitney Test for Median Comparison

When conducting the 2-sample t-test to compare the average of two groups, the data in both groups must be sampled from a normally distributed population. If that assumption does not hold, the nonparametric Mann-Whitney test is a better safeguard against drawing wrong conclusions. The Mann-Whitney test compares the medians from two populations and works when…

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Y = f(x) Roadmap: Telling the DMAIC Story Using Xs and Ys

With its DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) roadmap, the Six Sigma methodology provides a structured and systematic approach to solve business and process problems. The related toolkit is a selection of proven tools and methods that– correctly applied – helps to determine, analyze and improve a problem. All well and good, however, inexperienced or newly…

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Measure the Immeasurable: The World of Smell and Taste

In many industries, improvement projects quickly face an obstacle: The lack of easy to get and reliable data. This is especially true when the critical-to-quality elements (CTQs) of the project are “soft attributes” such as taste, smell or texture. Facing such a problem in the food and drink industries is obvious. While in a Kano…

IT Development: Finding Balance Between Business and IT

A discussion about an ideal IT system often centers on user friendliness, system reliability, and implementation on time and on budget. These discussions should also include how to create more business value through the development of systems following a disciplined, fact based approach with a clear customer focus. For example, consider a telecom provider who…

Well-run Process Improvement Teams a Key to Success

One of the key success factors of Six Sigma is the ability to set up and run an interdisciplinary, multi-skilled and management-supported process improvement team. A Six Sigma project team – like any small team of workers asked to effect change in their organization – is expected to help promote a culture of innovation and spontaneity…

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