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Michael Ohler

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Make It a Team Effort: Involving Employees Can Lead to Lasting Solutions

Problem solving teams are often confronted with resistance to change. Even if the change is positive, employees are not always willing to embrace the improvements identified through DMAIC projects. However, by involving the employees to solve problems together, instead of providing solutions for them, practitioners can help assure that employees not only buy into process…

Timeless Wisdom Can Keep Today’s Belts on Track

Successful practitioners must do more than simply master the Six Sigma methodology. They also need to keep an eye on people-related aspects throughout the lifespan of all of their projects. To do that, practitioners may want to consider some ancient (and not-so-ancient) lessons: King Solomon’s use of wisdom at the right time, The art of…

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Assessing Forecast Accuracy: Be Prepared, Rain or Shine

Just as people follow weather predictions to know if they should carry an umbrella, organizations use forecasting to predict and prepare for future events. Across industries, companies attempt to determine what will happen – they forecast for product or raw material prices, market demand, exchange rates, and numerous other key metrics. Based on these forecasts,…

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Using Taguchi’s Loss Function to Estimate Project Benefits

Financial assessment of process improvement activities is the cornerstone to project selection and to benefit evaluation. Representatives from finance organizations, charged with such a task, may be confronted with assessing a large number of projects out of many different areas within their company. For a detailed benefit assessment, often the mechanics of the process in…

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Teamwork and Creativity Help to Identify Root Causes

In problem-solving methodologies, identifying potential causes is a crucial step between process mapping and data collection and analysis. It involves the best available process knowledge, as well as creativity. Creativity and team management tools, more often employed for solution finding than for root cause finding, can generate deep understanding of the process mechanics and help…

Improving Low-maturity Processes Takes Special Approach

Change agents often are confronted with the need to improve immature processes. These can be processes that are undocumented, uncontrolled or highly variable. For improvement to take place, practitioners must first determine if any roadblocks, such as low employee motivation or a lack of strong leadership, are in place that can keep the process from…

Proper Data Granularity Allows for Stronger Analysis

Can we trust the data? This is the fundamental question behind measurement system analysis (MSA). The question can come up in any data-based project. Shortcomings in a measurement system’s accuracy (bias, linearity, stability or correlation) and precision (resolution, repeatability or reproducibility) can obstruct analysis purposes. One often-overlooked aspect of resolution is data granularity, or the…

Be Consistent in Metric Selection for Six Sigma Projects

Six Sigma project metrics are typically taught in detail during Black Belt and Green Belt training classes. But the inconsistent use of these metrics after training can lead to lost opportunities and rework after a project ends. Using project metrics consistently brings enormous clarity to the impact and benefit of a Six Sigma project and…

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