A Case of Mistaken Capability

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Lean Six Sigma (LSS) teams focus on the statistical analysis of metrics when identifying opportunities for improvement. The strong focus on data-driven evaluation, however, can overshadow the human element that exists behind the data collection plan. Despite its importance, the impact of human interaction is not easily visible or quantified, buried under reams of data. […]

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Reducing WIP at a Frozen Food Manufacturer – Part 2 of 2

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The following is Part Two of a two-part article. Part One follows the first three steps of a DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) project at Kahiki Foods. Part Two follows the completion of the DMAIC project – the Improve and Control steps. Improve The enhanced choke-point analysis completed in Analyze verified the chicken processing […]

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DMADV Case Study: Performance Management System Redesign

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To facilitate the development of its employees and better respond to the changing business environment, one department of a large financial-services company decided to revamp its existing performance management system through a Six Sigma project. A pre-project analysis revealed that a complete redesign of the system was required. As incremental improvement in the existing system […]

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carpet yarn manufacturing

Team Teachings: Lessons in Operator, Equipment and Product Accountability

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Process data is critical. But taking a step back to look at accountability metrics provides another level of continuous improvement opportunities as shown in this real-world Six Sigma project targeting off-grade production in a carpet yarn manufacturing process.

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Team Teachings: Improving Process Operator Competency

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Polymer chip manufacturing is a multi-step, large-volume process that makes hundreds of millions of pounds of products annually at a typical plant. Unlike fiber extrusion, which requires the use of multiple units of specialized equipment, chip manufacturing involves fewer machines operated in either continuous or batch modes. Chip manufacturing is often driven by operator decisions, […]

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Improving Lab Performance with Six Sigma

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Laboratories can be a taxing environment in which to implement Lean and Six Sigma. Labs are not the same as manufacturing – where Lean and Six Sigma got their start – because they typically have more variability in workload, less operational focus, less process reliability and longer task cycle times. However, through creative adaptation of […]

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Case Study: Implementing an Automated Time and Attendance System

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Companies lose an average of 5 percent of revenue annually due to payroll process inefficiencies, errors and fraud. Leaders at Océ Business Services, a provider of outsourced document process management services, estimated that their company had an even greater opportunity because of their outsourcing model – employees based on client premises supporting thousands of individual […]

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Delivering Record Products without Delays: A DMAIC Case Study

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The record label Music Co. was experiencing a high number of incident tickets regarding its digital release planning system, mostly as a result of delays in a release, reported by the sales team. To help deliver their record products in a more timely fashion, the organization used the DMAIC roadmap to uncover the causes of […]

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Reducing Variability with DOE – A Case Study on Propagation of Error (POE)

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The Therabath paraffin therapy bath (pictured below) is a durable medical device that holds one gallon of molten paraffin wax. Sufferers of osteoarthritis use it for physical therapy. They dip their hands repeatedly in the heated bath, which helps loosen stiff joints. The wax then slowly solidifies as a glove, producing further therapeutic benefits via […]

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The Path of Least Resistance: Is There a Better Route?

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Driven by nationwide technologist shortages, an industry-wide focus on quality and rising consumer demand, healthcare is feeling the pressure to deliver more with less. Given this challenging environment, some organizations have come to the conclusion that taking the path of least resistance may not be the best approach. For many, delivering quality patient care is […]

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Software Vendor Partnership Cost Reduction with Six Sigma

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Business Issue A multibillion-dollar software manufacturer needed to drive down the total $191 million annual cost of supplying its workers with continuously updated workstations. Both the software manufacturer and its primary vendor/supplier were in the midst of an aggressive cost cutting initiative that would lead to a new compensation model. The initial, first year targeted […]

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HMO Formulary Standardization Six Sigma Breakthrough

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Business Issue All medications are not created equally. Reopro (generic name: abciximab), Integrilin (generic name: eptifibatide) and Aggrastat (generic name: tirofiban) are all platelet-inhibiting drugs used in cardiac care. Each is priced differently. They act on patients in slightly different but clinically significant ways. The key critical to quality issue in healthcare is patient safety. […]

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Using Six Sigma to Improve Clinical Quality and Outcomes

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Appropriately implemented, Six Sigma clearly produces benefits in terms of better operational efficiency, cost effectiveness and higher process quality. Perhaps less obvious – and until recently less documented – is the impact it can make in clinical areas such as infection control and medication delivery. Clinicians are often receptive to Six Sigma given its familiar scientific and […]

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Read-Rite Low FPY Manufacturing Case Study

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Read-Rite Philippines is the manufacturing site for the Tape Head Business Unit, and the core competency is assembly and test. Read-Rite Philippines manufactures magnetoresistive tape heads to the entry level through mid-range tape drive markets, with products such as Travan, DLT (Digital Linear Tape), SLR (Scalable Linear Recording) and SDLT (Super DLT). The Elite Sigma […]

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Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

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This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six […]

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Six Sigma Software Development Case Study – Part 2

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This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six Sigma program for software development, […]

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Leveraging Six Sigma to Improve Hospital Bed Availability

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Located in Lafayette, Louisiana, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center recently began working with GE Medical Systems to implement Six Sigma as a method for achieving quality and process improvement. Since patient throughput and bed availability are among the organization’s top concerns, the team began by focusing on this issue. Following a process of […]

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Case Study: Surmounting Staff Scheduling at Valley Baptist Health System

Case Study: Surmounting Staff Scheduling at Valley Baptist Health System

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Finding solutions to staffing issues in the orthopedic unit at Valley Baptist Health System required a dual emphasis on productivity and quality.

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The Importance of Statistical Thinking

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Six Sigma is the buzzword of today. Companies big and small talk about it and numerous success stories further advertise its relevance in today’s challenging business environment. Debates on its emergence as a strategic initiative have created critics who consider it old wine in a new bottle and loyal followers willing to swear by it. […]

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Case Study: Using np Charts To Address On-Time Medication Delivery

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Hy Sedrate, director of quality for St. Recover in the Longrun Hospital, has been worried about his organization’s future, and more specifically about his own future. St. Recover has been acquired, through a series of complex arrangements, by Santa Cura Hospitals, a large regional organization made up of some two dozen hospitals and clinics. Sedrate […]

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Medical Transcription Six Sigma Case Study

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Today’s industrial black belt typically trains for six months. Seventy-five percent of this training time is spent learning theory, and the balance is spent in practice. Often when the black belt returns to the real world to tackle inefficiencies, he finds that there are no takers for his logic and passion – his Six Sigma entreaties fall on […]

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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts: Six Sigma Breakthrough

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Six Sigma, 6s, is nothing more, and nothing less, than the use of science to solve problems. Scientific evidence that a breakthrough medical solution is genuine is statistical evidence. Though altruism and evidence influence medical treatments, economic pressure drives improvement. Multi-million dollar savings created by “beating heart” or “off-pump” coronary artery bypass outcomes are a […]

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Six Sigma Case Study: Converting Paper to Electronic Documents

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This work described below was carried out in a large company based in the U.S. and India. The project dealt with converting printed paper from U.S. customers into electronic copies. The material was quite heterogeneous in nature – consisting of assorted magazines and legal papers. It is part of an ongoing operation that services several […]

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Case Study: Using DOE to Reduce Wasted Supplies in CTU

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The quality of environmental hygiene in hospitals is under increasing scrutiny from both healthcare providers and consumers because the prevalence of serious infections due to multidrug-resistant pathogens has reached alarming levels. The transfer of gram-positive bacteria, particularly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), among patients is a growing concern. One critical factor for […]

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