Business Metric

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There are all types of business metrics. Some examples would be sales revenue, customer retention rate, and net profit. Each of these and others helps provide you with a fuller picture of how your business is doing. Overview: What are business metrics? Business metrics are metrics that are quantifiable and utilized to assess the performance […]

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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 do you see as the evolution of Six Sigma? What is the future and what are the implications for corporations worldwide?

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It is widely known (in the field of quality management) that Motorola inaugurated Six Sigma in the mid eighties.  At that time, Six Sigma was employed to make a dramatic gain in customer satisfaction (by way of quality improvement).  Almost by nature, the initiative was based on the idea of defect reduction.  For the sake […]

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Do you think being Six Sigma specialist is a good career for years to come?

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I do not believe that any of the Six Sigma roles should constitute a career, as they are temporary job assignments.

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

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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?

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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?

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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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What are your thoughts on the different types of bottom line benefits of Six Sigma?

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The first generation of Six Sigma (1984 – 1994) was initiated at Motorola.  At this time, Six Sigma was primarily focused on the reduction of defects (quality improvements).  It was widely believed that the reduction of defects would naturally and invariably offer certain economic benefits – even though such benefit could not often be directly […]

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How Can Six Sigma can be made part of ISO 9000 system implementation?

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Rhetorically speaking, what is the purpose of ISO9000?  Is it a standard of expectation, much like Six Sigma?  If an organization is currently performing to a Six Sigma level, would there even be a need for this standard?  If this standard was perfectly deployed and implemented in a corporation, would it be a Six Sigma […]

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In a Pareto chart, 20% of the causes represent 80% of the problem but there are never 20%…usually there are more. Why is this?

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The gentlemen referred to as “Pareto” long ago advocated that 80 percent of the world’s wealth was controlled by 20 percent of the world’s population.  This phenomenon is also called the “Pareto Principle,” and will be designated as “PP” for our discussion.  For the case just given, it should be noted that the 80 percent […]

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How are the Six Sigma methods (DMAIC, DFSS, etc.) applicable to software development and services industries?

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Obviously, you know how to ask a “huge” question.  In terms of scope and depth, it is nearly equivalent to the question: “How does one go about boiling the ocean without harming the ecosystem – give me some examples (case studies), tell me the best tools to use, how to use the tools, and kindly […]

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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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We Are in the Field of PCB Manufacturing and Are Using About 800 Components. How Should We Decide the Opportunities During Calculation of Sigma Value?

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Simply stated, an opportunity is merely a set of conditions favorable to some end. In view of the two possible fates of a (critical to quality) CTQ – success or failure – we have the idea of a yield opportunity and that of a defect opportunity. Since one is merely the flip side of the other […]

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

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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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Has Six Sigma lost it's way and is it on its way becoming another fad?

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The simpliest form of an answer to each of your questions is “yes.”  There does exist an ever-present danger that Six Sigma will become diluted.  In fact, there are many signs that it has already happened.  For example, many business executives now see Six Sigma as a commodity.  So what is driving a lot of […]

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If We Need to Define the COPQ Metrics, What Should the Ideal Metrics Be?

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The best metrics are those that correlate to your business goals. If you are uncertain as to the extent of correlation – measure it.

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How do you think Six Sigma will evolve?

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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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Could You Recommend a Book that Will Lay a Foundation Prior to Any Formal Six Sigma Training?

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

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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?

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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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