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Implementation Case Studies

Case Studies

A Case of Mistaken Capability

The common expression “numbers do not lie” may be true, but a clear understanding of where the numbers came from, and of the human factors involved, is required to reveal the truth in the data.

A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 1 of 6

A combination “case study and tutorial,” which illustrates Six Sigma’s use in IT support, tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases.

A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 3 of 6

A combination “case study and tutorial” illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable. Third in a series of six parts.

A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 4 of 6

A combination “case study and tutorial” illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable. Fourth in a series of six parts.

A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 5 of 6

A combination “case study and tutorial” illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable.

A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 6 of 6

A combination “case study and tutorial” illustrates Six Sigma use in an IT call center. It tracks a DMAIC project from inception through its five phases. The goal is to make a company more competitive and profitable. Last in a series of six parts.

A Successful Pain Management Initiative at LDS Hospital

Despite already having adopted many best practices, LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City discovered a problem in the rapid treatment of pain in the emergency department. The staff immediately began a pain management initiative to remedy the problem.

Achieving and Sustaining Improvement in Cardiac Medication

A Six Sigma cardiac medication project was successful in coordinating high-quality care, incorporating advanced technologies, and adopting best practice standards.

Addressing the Issues at Doctors Hospital of Augusta

Implementing Six Sigma has allowed Doctors Hospital of Augusta to begin winning the battles with the familiar healthcare issues related to quality, resource constraints and ensuring optimal, accessible services for the community.

Aligning Call Center Agent Goals with Customer Desires

Within online banking call centers, there may be no bigger improvement opportunity than the agent call handling process.

Applying Six Sigma to Improve Diagnostic Imaging

Six Sigma can help the traditional workflow of diagnostic imaging keep pace with the science delivering better equipment and information systems.

Attention Six Sigma, You’’re Wanted in Surgery

With the demand for surgical services growing, especially with ambulatory and cosmetic procedures, hospitals continue learning that Six Sigma is a useful tool.

Automating Input Data to Improve On-Time DeliveriesAn iSixSigma Case Study

Liquid Controls, a manufacturer of high-quality flow meters and accessories for accurate liquid measurement, is a well-practiced user of Six Sigma methodologies. Having adopted Six Sigma in 1999 and made significant strides in improving manufacturing processes, the company more recently…

Bank Deposits: A Black Belt Case Study

A Black Belt used Six Sigma to improve a transactional bank deposit process, resulting in yearly savings of $4 million.

Bridging Functional Silos to Achieve ‘Customer Impact’

Limiting the scope of the business process a Six Sigma project addresses may create problems when root causes outside the project scope are found. An approach using process mapping and risk analyses resolved this problem for one company.

Building a Business Case for Software Defect Reduction

For a software company to make a case for process improvement, reliable measurement data is needed. Unfortunately that data normally comes from an improvement project.

Case Study Shows Six Sigma Role in Financial Services

An international bank, decided in 2003 to adopt Six Sigma in all its business units in Europe. It then set out to implement one of its priority business strategies – significantly grow its car loan business in the next two years.

Case Study: Applying Resource Modeling to IT Problem

Using resource models to manage the utilization of human resources can lead to higher service levels, lower costs and other benefits. This case study within the field of information technology shows the mechanics of building such a model.

Case Study: Implementing an Automated Time and Attendance System

Océ Business Services deployed a Six Sigma project to review its payroll process and used an automated solution to standardize time and attendance policies.

Case Study: Improving Purchase Order Process

The accounts payable department of a healthcare system completed a Six Sigma project to address the high volume of invoices being processed and to develop a system for monitoring how well new processing-time standards are being met.

Case Study: Improving Recruitment Processes – Part 1 of 2

In this case study, a team strives to improve the recruiting process in a large, fast-moving consumer goods company. Part 1 focuses on reducing the recruiting cycle time.

Case Study: Improving Recruitment Processes – Part 2 of 2

In this case study, a team strives to improve the recruiting process in a large, fast-moving consumer goods company. Part 2 focuses on decreasing the effort required to fill a job opening.

Case Study: Increase Revenue by Decreasing Prices

A diversified manufacturing company looking to increase production volume got to the root cause of its low rate of converting proposals to orders – high prices. With a price decrease of 15 percent, the win rate nearly doubled and revenue increased 79 percent.

Case Study: Increasing Machinery Throughput Without More Machines

Too often manufacturing operations are quick to look at a technological solution or other capital investment to solve a problem, when an investment in human capital can make quick gains for less money.

Case Study: Maximizing the Response of Fire Services to Medical Calls

The City of Kawartha Lakes has 21 fire stations covering a large, mostly rural territory. A project was undertaken to assess the number of, and need for, volunteer fire fighters responding to non-life threatening emergency calls.

Case Study: Reducing Turnaround Time of Lab Reports in the ICU

Having successfully improved customer satisfaction in its diagnostic clinics, a hospital addresses the next problem area – delays in receiving lab test results for patients in the intensive care unit.

Case Study: Use Six Sigma to Reduce Temporary Labor Expenses

In any plant, when production increases above planned-for levels – whether due to sudden increased demand or unexpected constraints in the system – temporary workers may be brought in as a quick fix. Use Six Sigma to keep temporary labor costs from getting out of hand.

Case Study: Using DFSS and DOE to Increase Product Reliability

A medical devices company launched a substrate development effort using DFSS and DOE to predict the stress caused by the laser welding process and ensure product reliability.

Case Study: Using DOE to Reduce Wasted Supplies in CTU

A team at New York’s North Shore-LIJ Health System completed a project addressing the challenge of keeping the hospital environment safe from the transfer of drug-resistant pathogens, while also cutting back the waste and cost involved in doing so.

Case Study: Using Measurement to Drive Behavior Change

To combat waste, practitioners at an IBM warehouse conducted a Six Sigma project to reduce their hardware inventory. They learned that it is possible to change patterns and behavior by implementing and maintaining a measurement system.

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

Quality improvement is not simply data gathering, but analyzing data and organizing it in order to determine ways to improve the process. np Charts coupled with a pareto analysis can help the user improve process quality.

Case Study: Using Six Sigma in a Non-Six Sigma Culture

In an organization that has not embraced, or even attempted, Six Sigma, adapting continuous improvement tools to be less intimidating can reduce resistance to change and improve the likelihood of successful project completion.

Case Study: Why a Team Cannot Afford to Overlook the C in DMAIC

The initial results of a new quality improvement effort at a Midwest lockbox operation were disappointing. When the Six Sigma team got to the Control phase it found the problem.

Common Success Factors, Uncommon Success in Europe

Whether implementing Six Sigma in Munich or Manhattan, Paris or Prague, there are certain common factors that are critical for success.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts: Six Sigma Breakthrough

Multi-million dollar savings are generated by 'beating heart' or 'off-pump' coronary artery bypass outcomes.

Cutting-Edge Methods Help Target Real Call Center Waste

New methods of operation for call centers allow Lean Six Sigma process improvement techniques to be applied to a process that has been difficult to address but that provides the greatest opportunity for increased efficiency – agent call handling

Delivering Record Products without Delays: A DMAIC Case Study

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 the delays in their planning system and develop countermeasures.

DMADV Case Study: Performance Management System Redesign

In this DMADV case study, a large financial-services company revamped its entire performance management system through a Design for Six Sigma project.

DMAIC Case Study: Accuracy of System-generated Service Routes

In this case study, a leading environmental services company used DMAIC to improve the accuracy of system-generated transportation routes for efficiently reaching its geographically dispersed customers.

DMAIC Case Study: Improving System Availability

A leading environmental services company used DMAIC to improve the availability of an internal software system. The goal was to reduce system downtime and reduce defect resolution time, thereby increasing return on investment and user satisfaction.

DMAIC Helps Agency Craft Green Electronics Plan

In an effort to reduce its environmental footprint, P&R IM implemented an electronics stewardship plan with Lean Six Sigma's DMAIC methodology.

Green Belt Project: Reduce Resolution Time and Rework in Software Development

This article describes a successful Green Belt project in information technology in which a software development team applied Six Sigma to reduce the resolution time of software defects and minimize rework, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.

Helping the Help Desk Satisfy Customers More Quickly: An iSixSigma Case Study

A company in India implemented Lean Six Sigma to achieve dramatic improvements in its help desk operations.

HMO Formulary Standardization Six Sigma Breakthrough

A healthcare provider used Six Sigma to see if evidence-based medicine could promote a more standardized formulary.

Hospital Improves Medication Reconciliation Process

Hospitals are finding it challenging to determine the best method to manage patient medications and thereby improve patient safety. Forrest General Hospital used a change acceleration process to improve the medication reconciliation process.

Improving a Health System’s Cash Flow Management

As hospitals consolidate resources regionally, a big challenge takes shape: handling the information necessary to manage cash flow efficiently.

Improving ED Wait Times at North Shore University Hospital

North Shore University Hospital initiated a Six Sigma project aimed at improving the patient experience by reducing wait times in its Emergency Department.

Improving Lab Performance with Six Sigma

By targeting the testing process for products that make up a majority of the lab’s workload, a project team was able to reduce cycle time.

Improving Outbound Calling Conversion Rates

To improve the success of marketing phone calls to registered but unfunded customers, Internet betting exchange Betfair launched a Six Sigma project.

Improving Patient Charge Capture at Yale-New Haven

Every year, hospitals lose millions of dollars when items used in the course of a patient's care are not charged or reimbursed. A Six Sigma team improved processes and made a dramatic change in patient charge capture at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Improving the Productivity of a Service Team

In the growing service economy where human resources are the biggest driver of costs in an organization, companies want to get the maximum return from their employees. This case study follows a DMAIC project to maximize the productivity of a BPM application support team.

Increasing Cath Lab Capacity Through Six Sigma

One focal area increasingly targeted for performance improvement in healthcare organizations has been the cardiac cath lab.

Leveraging Six Sigma to Improve Hospital Bed Availability

This article documents a Six Sigma project to reduce the time between when a discharge order is written for a patient and when that hospital bed becomes available again.

Listen to Customers and Change the Process Accordingly – An iSixSigma Case Study

For a business to successfully change its processes to meet customer needs and expectations, it must gather measurable critical-to-satisfaction data. Then the company must analyze the information, draw reasonable conclusions and act on it.

LSS Streamlines OR at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center successfully used LSS initiatives to improve their operating rooms. Delays were common in the perioperative environment and turnover times between surgical cases impacted surgeon satisfaction and services available.

Measure the Immeasurable: The World of Smell and Taste

The lack of easy to get and reliable data is especially true when the CTQs of the project are "soft attributes" such as taste, smell or texture.

Medical Transcription Six Sigma Case Study

This case study is an example of a Six Sigma breakthrough improvement in a Medical Transcription company in India.

Optimizing OR Capacity at The Children’s Hospital

To increase operational efficiency and access within its perioperative department, The Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, USA, began a focused improvement initiative in 2005. The next year, the hospital project had produced significant results.

Outpatient Imaging Reports TAT Cut from 64 to 9 Hours

With the help of Six Sigma, an outpatient imaging center identifies the root cause of slow report turnaround times and improves performance to a better-than-industry standard.

Process Excellence: Battling Inefficiencies at Canada Post

In 2003, a small group of employees began Black Belt training to give impetus to Canada Post’s process excellence movement. By the end of 2005, project teams are expected to have netted more than $10 million in savings and new revenues.

Process Redesign to Reduce Cycle Time: A Case Study

A power distribution company in India, serving domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural users, was not meeting the country’s performance standard regulations for metering and billing. A Six Sigma project was initiated to reduce cycle time.

Project Examples from an LSS Deployment for Cultural Transformation

By implementing a strategy to support common tools, thinking and language across the enterprise, a business is laying the groundwork required for a sustainable continuous improvement culture. 

Quality Skills Can Make a Difference in the Community

Sometimes it is important to ask ourselves a fundamental question: How are we improving quality in our communities? For quality professionals, this means applying their expertise beyond their paying day jobs to help solve community problems.

Read-Rite Low FPY Manufacturing Case Study

This real-world Six Sigma manufacturing case study highlights how a low first pass yield (FPY) was defined, measured, analyzed, improved and controlled.

Reducing Admitting Delays by Improving Bed Management

Causes of admitting delays are addressed to meet a hospital's goal to be where employees want to work, patients want to receive care and physicians want to practice.

Reducing Avoidable Cancellations on the Day of Surgery

To accommodate growth in surgical service without adding resources, a Six Sigma team at Deaconess Hospital takes aim at reducing the number of same day surgical cancellations.

Reducing Costs by Controlling Raw Material Consumption

Product manufacturers are pushed to produce quality products without exceeding budget. A textile processing mill followed the DMAIC approach for more effective resource management and thus to reduce expenditures.

Reducing Delayed Starts in Specials Lab with Six Sigma

A hospital's Specials Department project improved start times, increased throughput, implemented control mechanisms for continuous improvement and more.

Reducing Delays in the Cardiac Cath Lab with Six Sigma: An iSixSigma Case Study

New York-Presbyterian Hospital embarked on an initiative to improve throughput in its three cardiac cath labs.

Reducing Door-to-inflation Time for the AMI Patient

At Deaconess Health System a Six Sigma team undertakes a door-to-inflation project to improve the throughput process for patients with acute myocardial infarction.

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

Applying powerful design of experiments (DOE) tools to make your system more robust to variations in component levels and processing factors, as evidenced by this case study involving the improvement of a paraffin therapy bath product.

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

Part 2 of how a DMAIC project reduced costly work in process at Kahiki Foods, a manufacturer of Asian frozen foods.

Removing the Bottlenecks, Improving Flow in Radiology

Moving patients efficiently through the system had become a challenge for the radiology department at Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida. So the clinic employed Lean Six Sigma to find and remove the bottlenecks for its patients.

Rush to Enact Solutions Sabotages a DMAIC Project

A small and relatively young technology company attempting to implement the Sarbanes-Oxley Act finds that rushing to solutions before finishing its DMAIC project can cost time and money.

Salvaging a Call Center’s Big Software Investment

The call center handled technical problems and policy issues for a financial institution's branches, but complaints and cost overruns indicated problems.

Six Sigma Can Drive Environmental Management Programs

The ISO 14001:2004 standard for environmental management asks that organizations demonstrate a program for defining objectives, measuring performance, analyzing outcomes, achieving improvement and establishing controls – much like DMAIC.

Six Sigma Case Study: Converting Paper to Electronic Documents

A case study describing how a process was digitized (converting paper documents into electronic documents) to produce fewer defects through the use of Six Sigma tools.

Six Sigma Catapults Hospitals to Next Level of Quality

Many hospitals are embarking on a cultural change using Six Sigma concepts and principles to catapult themselves into a higher dimension of quality.

Six Sigma Has Successful Start in a Shanghai Hospital

The success of Six Sigma as a tool in healthcare continues to spread all corners of the world. After a Sino-U.S. hospital management seminar, a Shanghai hospital conducts a successful exploration of Six Sigma in a series of positive team projects.

Six Sigma Improves Workflow in N-Medicine Department

The well-regarded nuclear medicine department located in the Ospedale Santa Croce e Carle profits from a Six Sigma continuous improvement project.

Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC process using an organization that develops software packages as an example.

Six Sigma Software Development Case Study – Part 2

The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process.

Six Sigma Trims Turnover Time for Orthopedic Surgeries

A Six Sigma project was assembled when surgeons at a Houston hospital expressed dissatisfaction with the length of time required to prepare the OR between cases.

Six Sigma’s Applicability to Business Forecasting

At Cabot Microelectronics Corporation, the business forecasting process was one that most in the company seemed to agree, could not be improved. However, applying the Six Sigma methodology and tools produced impressive results.

Slashing Product Development Time in Financial Services

Once it is clear that there is a financial justification for increasing the speed of a process, take the time to develop a good value stream map. Making changes may be the easy part. Figuring out what changes to make takes the time and discipline

Software and Systems: The Disciplines of CRM

Customer Relationship Management today is about tracking and analyzing information on current customers as well as sales prospects. CRM software requires a significant cash and time investment and deployment requires a rigorous effort.

Software Vendor Partnership Cost Reduction with Six Sigma

A multibillion-dollar software manufacturer used Six Sigma; a five-day project saved more than $12 million. 

Starting the First Surgical Case on Time to Cut Delays

In this Six Sigma case study, a medical center tackles delays in its surgical schedule by focusing on the first case of the day.

Statistical Image Quality Assessment: Digital Vs. Microfilm – An iSixSigma Case Study

Despite the general perception that the quality of microfilm images are inferior to those produced by digital imaging equipment, National City Corp. proved statistically that the quality of its digital images would meet or exceed customer requirements

Strategies for Improving Patient Safety in the Hospital

The healthcare industry is behind other high-risk industries in ensuring basic safety and valuable lessons can be learned from those who are achieving industry excellence.

Streamlining Diagnostic Testing at Northwestern Memorial

Results were dramatic when Northwestern Memorial Hospital applied Six Sigma to long wait times in its diagnostic testing center.

Surmounting Staff Scheduling at Valley Baptist Health System

Six Sigma at Valley Baptist Health System has begun to foster a culture that embraces the voice of the customer, breaks down barriers to change and raises performance expectations.

Sustaining Breakthrough Improvements in Insurance FirmAn iSixSigma Case Study

Experienced change agents using Lean Six Sigma/TQM methodologies can achieve breakthrough improvements in three to six months. Sustaining this performance is often more challenging and time consuming than the breakthrough improvement itself

Sustaining Improvement by Building a Quality Mindset

A common problem encountered in Lean, Six Sigma and TQM implementation is performance deterioration after the completion and handover of a breakthrough improvement. A project team can help sustain the performance improvements while moving ahead.

Team Teachings: Improving Process Operator Competency

A Six Sigma project targeting a manufacturing process that requires many personnel decisions can offer lessons in operator training.

Team Teachings: Lessons in Operator, Equipment and Product Accountability

A Six Sigma project targeting off-grade production in a carpet yarn manufacturing process offers an example of the value of accountability metrics.

The Importance of Statistical Thinking

This article displays two case studies that illustrate that there is no set rule to understanding variation based on the order of Six Sigma tools used. Six Sigma Black Belts need to understand when to use each tool in business projects.

The Organic Growth of Six Sigma at John Crane Inc.

In 2002, John Crane Inc. initiated a Six Sigma program containing traditional deployment elements, yet they were not deployed in a sequential process. Various deployment elements were "planted" simultaneously and grew together with the company.

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

For many, delivering quality patient care is non-negotiable and the ability to function at the highest level of efficiency while doing so is seen as a necessity...not a choice. Realizing and responding to this quandary a few years ago, California's Stanford University Medical Center decided to aggressively work toward a solution and overcome resistance by approaching it with evidence.

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 both flying hour program requirements and aircraft availability needs.

U.S.A.F. Uses Continuous Process Improvement on the B-2 Bomber: Part 2

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 both flying hour program requirements and aircraft availability needs.

Using DOE to Solve a Product Development Problem – An iSixSigma Case Study

Design of experiments (DOE) helps an automotive company determine factors affecting defect levels in an alternator it manufactured. DOE identified the cause of ventilation noise within the alternator, and moved the problem toward resolution

Using Lean Six Sigma to Improve Call Center Operations

A call center client was so disappointed in the call center service that it was considering canceling the contract. With the help of a Lean Six Sigma expert, the call center improved its performance and the client renewed its contract.

Using Six Sigma to Improve Clinical Quality and Outcomes

These are four examples where Six Sigma can impact in clinical areas such as infection control and medication delivery.

Using Six Sigma to Reduce Medical Transcription Errors – An iSixSigma Case Study

A Six Sigma project at a medical transcription company in India for U.S.-based customers debunks the myth that output quality variability cannot be systematically improved because of inherent variability of input quality and human skills.

Using Six Sigma to Reduce Pressure Ulcers at a Hospital

A medical center used Six Sigma to reduce nosocomial pressure ulcers by 60 percent, improving patient care and resulting in an annual cost avoidance of $300,000.

Using Six Sigma to Solve Issues in Public School System

Of all the innovative applications for Six Sigma, none may be as interesting as one being used in Colorado – applying Six Sigma to all aspects of a public school system. And "all aspects" includes the heart of any school district – the classroom.

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