Spaghetti Diagram vs. Value Stream Mapping: What’s the Difference?

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What is a Spaghetti Diagram? A spaghetti diagram is defined as the visual representation of the flow of an activity or process utilized to identify areas that could use improvement. It is unique in that it demonstrates motion work and its associated waste and assists in the quantification of the amount of walking an operator […]

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Hyper Micro Process Map

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Sometimes you have to break something down into the smallest possible pieces before you can make it right. Process mapping is one of the first major steps when adopting six sigma, so it’s something business leaders should learn to love. Depicting workflow and processes in a visual format sets the stage for defining, understanding and […]

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Critical To Quality vs. Critical to Customer: What’s the Difference?

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What is Critical To Quality? Critical to quality refers to the things necessary for a company to have in place in order to meet the needs of the customer. It is the attribute of a process or service that has a direct impact on its real or perceived quality. The Benefits of Critical To Quality […]

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Value Stream Map vs. Process Map: What’s the Difference?

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What is a Value Stream Map? A value stream map is a visual representation of all the components that are needed to deliver a product/service. It looks at the components individually and as a whole, with the goal of eliminating waste and optimizing the entire process. The Benefits of a Value Stream Map A value […]

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PDSA vs. PDCA: What’s the Difference?

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What is PDSA? PDSA stands for Plan, Do, Study, and Act. It is a method that is used in order to test a change that is being implemented or has been implemented. Working through these four steps guides thinking into breaking down a task into sections and then evaluating the result, making improvements, and then […]

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Six Lessons for Deploying a BPM Workflow Product in a Transactional Environment

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Complex, multi-team processes in transactional operations can often be almost invisible in operation and execution – until, that is, something goes wrong. Transactional process failures are common: failed online transactions, payments not made on time, double bookings and lost orders are frequently encountered errors. These processes often involve manual tasks and multiple unconnected systems, are […]

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Six Sigma and Lean May No Longer Be Enough to Improve Services

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Service, or transactional, Six Sigma has sometimes struggled to keep up with its manufacturing big brother in terms of sustainable results. Lean Six Sigma is currently the approach of choice for many service organizations, but that methodology is under pressure as businesses look to cut costs aggressively to survive the recession. In more than 15 […]

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Is Process Management Right for Your Business?

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A process can be defined as a set of ordered actions that lead to an output. In any business function, a goal is achieved through a process – paychecks are printed, orders are taken, employees are hired. How well the processes operate is the focus of this article, and the focus of process management. Process management […]

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Systems Thinking Results in Holistic Improvements

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While managing process improvements on a daily basis, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. Practitioners may view every separate event with a unique perspective using a different dimension and frame of reference than they would use to view other, seemingly unrelated events. When addressing each event, problem and improvement in isolation, […]

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Process, Product and People: 3P Approach to Quality

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Quality management should be a holistic approach. Process, product and people are the three key elements of a company’s quality system and all of them need to be focused on for an overall improvement in performance. Process Process audits and statistical process control are two important tools that practitioners can use for process monitoring. Audits […]

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Six Sigma, Process Reengineering and Prototyping

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Recently, a large-scale financial services company recently wanted to reengineer the process for its entire customer services organization, including people, process and technology. This company had, during the last two years, trained many Black Belts and Green Belts. It attempted to use Six Sigma methodology as the primary method of introducing customer-focused process improvement to […]

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The Perfect Storm: Building of the Six Sigma Phenomenon

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After more than 15 years, Six Sigma remains a hot topic in the business world with many companies having introduced it or at least considered it. But whether a person is just embarking on the journey or is already a skilled user, they may be wondering how to define Six Sigma in simple terms and […]

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Business Process Management for Software Development

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The term “business process management” (BPM) is often encountered in conjunction with Six Sigma and Lean initiatives. Typically it refers to identification of core business processes, assignment of process ownership and definition of measures (and perhaps benchmarks) that indicate the health of a particular process. These measures are often influential in selection of Six Sigma […]

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Business Intelligence Adds to Process Reengineering

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Undertaking a process reengineering initiative without a business intelligence team introduces a significant risk to the project’s success. Business intelligence refers to technologies and practices for the collection, integration, analysis and presentation of business information; sometimes, it also refers to the information itself. The purpose of business intelligence is to support better business decision-making, especially […]

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Improving Low-maturity Processes Takes Special Approach

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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 […]

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Time and Motion Study

Preparing to Measure Process Work with a Time Study

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When first introduced in the 19th and early 20th centuries, time and motion studies established rules of motion that guaranteed optimal performance during a given time period and reduced the number of movements needed to get work accomplished. Over the years, time and motion studies have been done in many industries both to ascertain how […]

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Standardize Processes to Make Change Stick

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Making changes in an organization, especially when embarking on a new improvement method such as Six Sigma, can be slow going – employees may see the method as “just another fad.” Because of this, leaders need to use a deployment approach that will kick-start a change program, and keep it maintained. One method to approach […]

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Business Process Reengineering in a Six Sigma World

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Through the years, there have been many different notions about what business process reengineering (BPR) is and how successful it has been as a process improvement approach. In the early 1990s, Michael Hammer and James Champy authored a best-selling book, Reengineering the Corporation, in which they promoted that sometimes radical redesign and reorganization of a […]

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Threads of Success and Failure in Process Improvement

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Process improvement. By now anyone involved in any type of manufacturing or service industry is familiar with this term. Although there may be a vast array of particular meanings that may be assigned to the term, everyone agrees process improvement is a necessary part of maintaining a viable business. While most of the readers of […]

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Management Assessment for Competitive Advantage

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A management functional assessment model (MFAM) can help organizations attain and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The model aids managers in determining the key activities to address in order to improve corporate efficiency and effectiveness based on satisfying stakeholders. And it does it via an easy-to-use scorecard. While using Six Sigma’s DMAIC methodology […]

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Why a Quality Management System in Service Industries?

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In every organization, both management and the general workforce tend to resist change, whether it be in systems, culture or environment. That is natural – people are usually happy to continue with what they have always done. The change brought about by the introduction of a quality management system (QMS) – particularly in service industries – is no […]

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Process Maturity Model Can Help Give a Business an Edge

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Most competitive businesses around the globe are focusing on their processes for quality improvement, cost reduction and delivery-time reduction. They also are looking at other ways of achieving an edge over competitors, such as certifications like ISO, CMM/CMMI, PCMM, ITIL, COPC, etc. Still they may not be as successful as they would like. The primary […]

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Using Triage to Manage Process Workloads in Services

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It is something we have all experienced: Walking into a bank and finding we are the sixth person in line. Having a computer go down and discovering that it will take hours or days before someone can come to fix it. Getting an urgent request and having to set aside the 10 other things we […]

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