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Best of iSixSigma: 2017

The best of iSixSigma 2017 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers. U.S.A.F. Uses Continuous Process Improvement on the B-2 Bomber: Part 1 In this case study, the 509th Maintenance Group of the U.S. Air Force used an eight-step continuous process improvement approach to balance its resources and meet…

Developing Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical to ensuring a project team has the performance data it needs to sustain improvements. With KPIs, a team can evaluate the success of a project against its established goals. Types of Metrics There are two types of metrics to consider when selecting KPIs for a project: outcome metrics and…

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Best of iSixSigma: 2016

The best of iSixSigma 2016 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers. Avoid Two Common Mistakes in Measurement System Analysis Learn two of the common mistakes made during measurement system analysis and how to avoid them. Run Charts: A Simple and Powerful Tool for Process Improvement Among other benefits,…

Best of iSixSigma: 2015

The best of iSixSigma 2015 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers. An Affinity for Organized Thinking: A Diagram With Many Uses The humble affinity diagram can organize output from brainstorming, sort out overwhelming observations about a process, and inspire participation from a group. Process Documentation – A Modern…

Process Documentation – A Modern Approach

Every organization aspires to grow with time. The most common hurdle faced by an organization in the path of scalability is the absence of proper processes and systems. To overcome this, an organization needs to adopt a standard approach to business process creation and documentation. All business processes should be documented in a systematic way…

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Best of iSixSigma: 2014

The best of iSixSigma 2014 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers. Most Popular Build a Visual Dashboard in 10 Steps The Lean Six Sigma team at Ball Corporation began an initiative to develop visual signs on plant floors that would depict the health of the company and point…

Best of iSixSigma: 2013

The best of iSixSigma 2013 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers. Most Popular Five Simple Steps to Project Certification Success For many organizations, Lean Six Sigma certification requires a Green Belt or Black Belt to present and defend their project to a panel of experts. Whether you are…

Best of iSixSigma: 2012

The best of iSixSigma 2012 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers. Most Popular A Plan for a Five-day Kaizen Grabbing Hold of the GRPI Model Optimize Attribute Responses Using Design of Experiments Using the R-Squared Statistic in ANOVA and General Linear Models Most Comments How to Develop a Lean Six…

The Importance of Implementing Effective Metrics

When a company promises and delivers on quality, there is a good chance that customer satisfaction and retention will be high. But paving the road to success depends on companies being well-informed about their own business. They achieve that knowledge by developing and utilizing effective metrics. Why Do We Need Metrics? Metrics are used to…

Harvesting Value in Transactional Processes with Lean Six Sigma

In an era of high competition, with many companies facing a less-than-certain future, the need to increase performance in the eyes of the customer has never been stronger. Transactional processes play a major role in any company’s interaction with the customer, which makes them excellent candidates for Lean Six Sigma improvements. Methods and tools that…

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Why Choose Six Sigma Over Kaizen?

Message: 8897 Posted by: Carlos Castillo Posted on: Tuesday, 29th January 2002 What are the benefits of choosing 6sigma over Kaizen, 6 sigma seems a great deal more expensive and more bureucratic. I have obtained great gains from Kiazen with minimal investment. Message: 8899 Posted by: mn Posted on: Tuesday, 29th January 2002 ——————————————————————————– I…

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Six Sigma Versus Lean

Message: 16306 Posted by: Eric Posted on: Thursday, 25th July 2002 My company is actively deploying Lean Mfg principles. To this point, we have not been heavily involved with Six Sigma. Although recently our Customers have heightened our awareness of Six Sigma by asking/ requiring us to participate in their Six Sigma efforts – including…

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Six Sigma Versus TQM

Message: 15934 Posted by: Tim Posted on: Wednesday, 17th July 2002 ——————————————————————————– Hi, I am writing my thesis about Six Sigma and try to compare TQM and Six Sigma. Actually there are differences but does anyone know how to define TQM exactly. Can I use Deming for this comparison? Does it make sence to point…

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Six Sigma DMAIC Quick Reference

The DMAIC methodology should be used when a product or process is in existence at your company but is not meeting customer specification or is not performing adequately. For DMAIC milestone reviews, there are certain deliverables, checkpoints, questions and concerns that the Black Belt and improvement team should be aware of prior to a tollgate/milestone…

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What Is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma – what does it mean? “Six Sigma is a quality program that, when all is said and done, improves your customer’s experience, lowers your costs, and builds better leaders. — Jack Welch Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined,…

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An Introduction to ISO 9000, 9001, 9002, ISO 9000:2000

As geographic barriers between countries deteriorate with the continued evolution of the Internet, ISO 9000 may be one of the largest differentiators between you and your competitors. Already, ISO 9000 plays a key role in winning new customers, maintaining satisfied current customers, accessing foreign countries and dealing with the government. What is ISO 9000, 9001,…

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101 Things a Green Belt Should Know

Green Belts are employees of an organization who have been trained on the Six Sigma improvement methodology and will lead a process improvement team as part of their full-time job. While Green Belts do not need to know as much as Black Belts or Master Black Belts, there are many things a Green Belt should…

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Six Sigma for Small- and Medium-sized Businesses

One of the more familiar dilemmas in business today is how to implement Six Sigma in small and medium-sized companies. This is a serious issue because larger companies are beginning to mandate Six Sigma to their supply base as a condition of doing future business. The problem arises when small and mid-sized organizations solicit deployment…

Six Sigma – A Socio-Technical System

Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM) and its variants are now widespread in American business. Yet many executives raise serious questions about the their value. Fortune magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Business Week have all presented examples of serious failures. Several recognized Six Sigma companies have experienced financial troubles. On a more personal level,…

Six Sigma Q&A

Learning the Six Sigma methodology can be confusing. Even if you know the Six Sigma methodology, questions arise from co-workers or in daily activities and answers may not be readily available. To help with this problem, iSixSigma has compiled a list of questions that have been posed on the discussion forum. Below are the five…

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What Makes Six Sigma Work?

Some consultants are earning seven figure salaries, CEOs of large companies are claiming billions of dollars saved, conferences, books, and seminars are popping up everywhere, and yet one can argue that there isn’t much new about Six Sigma that we didn’t have with TQM. Is Six Sigma just the latest management buzzword or is Six…

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Is This a Six Sigma, Lean or Kaizen Project?

This is a familiar question that is often addressed by organizations. In fact, it is the wrong question. These concepts are nothing more than tools in your management toolbox. You don’t fix a watch with a hammer, and you get the same results when you deploy Six Sigma, Lean and Kaizen incorrectly. The fact is,…

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Breakthrough Change: What It Means and Why It Is Needed

Breakthrough. It sounds good. It even sounds like something everyone should support. The problem, however, comes when people are asked to define breakthrough. There is almost always a slight pause, or in some cases a long one, that says they are not certain what it means. To understand what breakthrough means and why it is…

Design For Six Sigma (DFSS) Versus DMAIC

One of the most confusing issues associated with someone saying “I’m using Six Sigma” has to do with what methodology they are actually using. A majority of the time they are using the DMAIC methodology, because they have existing processes that are wasting resources (hence the big savings you’ve heard about at GE, Honeywell and…

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Ask the Expert: The Topic – Large and Small Deployments

Joe De Feo, President and Executive Coach at Juran Institute, offers his views on deploying Six Sigma in large and small companies alike. Joe De Feo President and Executive Coach Juran Institute Southbury, Connecticut, USA Q: Implementing Six Sigma: A financial decision or a strategic one? A: Implementing a company-wide initiative like Six Sigma is…

Achieving Breakthroughs by Using Policy Deployment

Some companies approach strategic planning in a way that lends ammunition to those who would question its purpose. Typically, during strategic planning time, executives sequester themselves in a retreat-like setting armed with sales and market projections and some semblance of customer input. The output of this event is a nice, bound presentation that sits on…

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Managing for Results Using a Lean Six Sigma Strategy – A Conversation with… Nick Brownrigg, Chief Executive Officer of Masterlease

In a conversation with iSixSigma, Nick Brownrigg, the chief executive officer of Masterlease Group, offers his views on managing for results through Lean Six Sigma and Line-of-Sight™ strategy deployment. iSixSigma: Tell us about your business and the competitive challenges you face? Mr. Brownrigg: We provide full vehicle leasing services to businesses and public sector organizations…

Middle-out Change Is Difficult – But Doable

There are many stories written about successful top-down change, but few about successful middle-out change – probably because the latter is much more difficult to achieve than the former. Sometimes, however, middle-out change is the only option – and with the right leader, success is possible. The following story, which took place at a North…

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Aligning Six Sigma with Objectives and Strategies

In a well-managed business that has implemented Six Sigma, the organization’s objectives and strategies and continuous improvement are all closely aligned. Organizational objectives enhance the efficacy and importance of Six Sigma initiatives. And Six Sigma specialists can play an integral role in ensuring the execution of strategy. In many organizations, however, there seems to be…

Work Design and Six Sigma: Improve Jobs and Processes

The business world keeps revisiting the concept of a high-performance organization, often coining some new phrase or slogan to describe it. Regardless of its newest label or the guru touting its latest incarnation, high performance has virtually always meant achieving a hard-to-sustain combination of six critical elements: High profitability World-class service Accountability Simple workflow Customer-centered…

Define and Control: Bridge Between Business and Project

Initially Six Sigma process improvement projects followed four phases: Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Today, some companies still omit the Define phase because a project’s definition is seen as mainly management work. Following this logic, the same might be true for Control: ensuring that the process improvements are implemented and monitored is only a business…

Best of Benchmarking Research: Tools and Methods

From the inception of iSixSigma Magazine, a regular feature of the publication has been exclusive research on aspects of deploying Six Sigma. The topics benchmarked have ranged from “Black Belt Return on Investment” in the inaugural issue, January/February 2005, to “The Lean Six Sigma Toolset” in November/December 2009. In addition, the magazine reports each year…

Assessing for Lean Six Sigma Implementation and Success

Successful corporate initiatives such as Lean Six Sigma require proper planning, prioritization, resource allocation, budgeting, training, and proper review and reward mechanics. These initiatives also must consider the stability, accuracy and maturity of the core processes, measurement systems and the people they will affect. In most organizations there is a wide range of both experience…

A Roadmap for Deploying Six Sigma in Small Businesses

Many Six Sigma experts have expressed doubt that Six Sigma can be used effectively in small, or even in some medium-sized, organizations. However, while the approach to deployment must be modified, it is possible for small businesses to successfully implement Six Sigma. Here is how. At the outset, several givens must be in place: The…

Follow a Structured Approach to Continuous Improvement

The need to deploy a continuous improvement (CI) program is greater than ever. In the global financial meltdown, companies must find ways to produce goods and services cheaper, faster and better, while continuously delighting customers. In an effort to catch up, companies may be tempted to launch extensive training programs or start multiple improvement projects…

Six Sigma Tools Still Fit in Projects Lacking Data

In organizations struggling through the early phases of Six Sigma implementation, practitioners often find themselves doing projects with little or no data. Sometimes they can begin collecting the needed data, which causes delays in the project. In other situations, where past information is critical to understanding the evolution of the project, but the data is…

Aligning Six Sigma with Organizational Strategies

Demonstrating clear alignment between Six Sigma projects and a healthcare organization’s strategic imperatives, vision or mission has been an elusive exercise for many organizations. Judging from a random sampling of web sites and hospital lobbies, most mission statements represent variations on a theme and relate to common issues such as clinical quality, cost management, service…

Eight Basics of Lean Six Sigma for Manufacturing Firms

In the efforts to draw closer to customers, many manufacturers have lost focus on what should be a company’s primary success factor – profitable growth. In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it takes more than quick fixes, outsourcing and downsizing for companies to consistently achieve their growth and profit objectives. While these options may yield temporary financial…

Cost of a Process with Poor Quality Can Be Very High

The definition of quality can differ depending on whether it is associated with products and services or with the processes used to generate them. The quality of a product or service is measured in terms of the satisfaction that the customer derives from using it. The quality of a process depends on its ability to…

Creating a Fresh View of Six Sigma Data and Tools

Six Sigma DMAIC and DFSS roadmaps provide the guidance needed for using facts and data to understand problems, opportunities and solutions to get results in a wide variety of project settings. For the routine cases, they give practitioners what they need. There are some situations, though, that can benefit from a broader view of Six…

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Is Six Sigma for Real? Question Deserves Solid Answers

Is Six Sigma for real? Is it the factor responsible for improvements? How much Six Sigma is really necessary to get positive results? Doesn’t any quality improvement method yield similar results? These questions are always in the minds of people in every organization – sometimes out in the open, sometimes not. In a thoughtful response to…

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Maturity Model Describes Stages of Six Sigma Evolution

As organizations adopt and deploy Six Sigma, they go through several stages of maturity. Until now, however, there has been no formal description of this evolution. The Six Sigma Maturity Model™, introduced here, provides an outline of five levels of Six Sigma development. The intent of the model is to help Six Sigma practitioners, deployment…

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What Small Business CEOs Must Know to Start Six Sigma

Most CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses are aware of Six Sigma and what it has done for other companies. But some think the quality improvement program only works in larger companies. Of course, that is not true. Six Sigma can help grow any company by giving it the all-important competitive edge. For the majority…

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