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Dr. Mikel Harry

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What is the minimum qualification required to be a Six Sigma black belt?

A Black Belt curriculum cannot, by any stretch, be considered to possess the same level of tool mastery as, say, statisticians or quality engineers (CQE).  In true self-fulfilling manner, the more certain professionals try to circumscribe the Black Belt role with the notion of tool mastery, the more they form the notion that Black Belts…

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Is it possible for me to learn Six Sigma from home?

Personally, I believe the potential for “learning at home” is awesome these days.  I like the look and feel of it because all of the knowledge, information, communication, and analytical resources I need are within arms reach — right in my office.  This level of augmentation would be very difficult to consistently provide for in…

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Our CFO expects more from our projects and finds a gap in sales projects. The CFO would like to see more cost reduction. How can we do that with Six Sigma?

I find it most interesting that you experienced “typical” success in several other areas of the organization, but not within the sales function.  Were hard goals not established for this area?  Was this area not emphasized during the course of deployment planning?  Does this area lack leadership?  Should the sales personnel work on improving their…

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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…

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How can I drive successful Six Sigma projects in sales and marketing?

There is a wide array of stereotypical reasons that potentially explain why people are not willing to “do” six sigma projects.  For example, in some situations, there are no incentives to offset the added risk and responsibility.  As yet another example, it is well known that a lack of dedicated resources can deter seasoned veterans…

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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…

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What should we do when a project closes and the result is an employee relieved from the process, but is not reassigned to a new area because of political issues?

It sounds to me like you’ve been “trapped in a barrel and tossed overboard,” so to speak.  Where is your champion?  He or she is supposed to prevent things like this from happening (i.e., sound project selection criteria).  Your project champion’s main purpose in life is to guard his or her flock of Black Belts….

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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…

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When should data be excluded from cpk analysis?

Obviously, a suggested course of action should be quite guarded, as it would be very case sensitive (i.e., circumstantial by nature).  As we all know, some consultants make their living resolving such “catch 22” situations.  We also recognize that the ability to find a balance point is more art than science.  It is much like…

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How does Six Sigma related to change management and project management?

Extensive benchmarking has revealed the “average company” to be about 4 sigma capable.  Compared to Six Sigma the difference is about 1,800X.  Obviously, if one aspires to such a plateau, change is certain.  If change is certain, it is prudent to manage that change.  After all, it is doubtful that one can achieve a 1,800X…

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The Sigma Conversion Table Displays Yields That Don’t Match My Understanding of USL/LSL for the Process. Could You Please Explain Why There Is a Discrepancy?

To facilitate an answer to your question, consider the following table. The first column is the given measure of process capability (provided in the form of Z).  The second column is the corresponding short-term yield of the first column (based on a one-sided specification). Of course, the third column is the associated long-term yield, also predicated on…

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What is the difference between SPC and SQC?

There is little difference between Statistical Quality Control (SQC) and Statistical Process Control (SPC).  At one time, there might have been some philosophical separation, but today, they exist as general synonyms.  Some prefer SQC because the idea of “quality” is larger and more encompassing than that of “process.”  Others counter this by pointing out that…

How do you determine the Xs in the analyze phase of DMAIC?

Establishing the initial list of potential causes is often more art than science.  Unfortunately, the brainstorming process is still one of the best ways to surface candidate variables.  However, there are several other alternatives: 1)   Query process experts. 2)   Benchmark similar processes. 3)   Review the literature. 4)   Perform an Internet search. 5)   Conduct correlation study….

How can I determine if Six Sigma will work in my organization?

Determining if some initiative can “fit” an organization is much like buying a pair of shoes – you can know the exact size of each foot, but sooner or later, you must put the shoes on and walk around a little.  There is no substitute for experience. Six Sigma is an idea-centric, tool-based, fact-driven, top-down,…

Can you please explain "acceptance sampling"?

Arguably, acceptance sampling is an effective and efficient means to ensure the proper surveillance of product and service quality.  Using this approach, a random sample (of product or service) is inspected or tested to determine if the observed level of quality is acceptable or unacceptable.  If the sample supports the hypotheses of unacceptability, then certain…

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