iSixSigma’s Largest-Breakthrough Improvement Projects

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Not all projects are created equal. Being recognized as a finalist or winner of iSixSigma’s Largest-Breakthrough Improvement Project provides an excellent opportunity for outstanding project teams to share their success and lessons learned.

This award recognizes “breakthrough” Lean Six Sigma projects in the following areas:

  • Supply chain. Projects that address processes related to your company’s network of retailers, distributors, transporters, storage facilities and suppliers.
  • Transactional. Projects that address the processes involved in providing services or non-manufactured products.
  • Manufacturing. Projects that address manufacturing-related processes.
  • Customer service. Projects that positively impact customer interactions with your company.

Note:Projects are not industry specific, but categorical as listed above. If there are fewer than five submissions in a particular category, no award will be given for that category.

How to nominate projects:

Any team member can nominate their project. A project may be entered in only one category. The project must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Project must substantially impact the way a process works
  • Project must use Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma methodologies, and must include the essential elements of the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control phases.
  • Project must have been started on or after Jan. 1, 2010, and must be completed through the Control phase by Oct. 17, 2011.
  • Must clearly indicate “breakthrough” improvement as a result of the project in one or more of the following ways:
    • Reduction in defects (90% or more)
    • Increase in process sigma level (minimum of 2-sigma increase if initial sigma level was less than or equal to 3; minimum of 1-sigma increase if initial sigma level was greater than 3)
    • Financial benefit (minimum $250,000 in U.S. dollars AND 5x or more return on investment, calculated to include the cost of the project and resulting expenses)

The two-phase nomination process:

  1. Complete online nomination form, including project name, brief description and contact information.
  2. Submit a presentation in the form of a PowerPoint file (or PDF of a PowerPoint file).
    • Teams are encouraged to include descriptive information in the Notes section of each PowerPoint slide, to provide a “narration” for the presentation.
    • All industry-specific acronyms must be spelled out on first reference.
    • The optimum size of PowerPoint presentation is 10-12 slides. Any presentation larger than 15 slides will be disqualified.
    • No “animations” that create additional slides, or embedded files, may be used. These will be considered separate slides and subject to the 15-slide limit.

How projects will be scored:

A panel of experienced Six Sigma professionals will score the presentations independently, and then work together to come to consensus on the final score. The criteria will include:

  • General Presentation Value: Slides must be clear and easy to understand, and must “tell the story” of the project effectively. The essential project phase tollgate deliverables (listed below) must be addressed on the slides, or in the Notes section.
  • Define: 9 essential tollgate deliverables that must be addressed:
    • Charter elements of the problem or opportunity statement
    • CTQ specifications
    • Expected benefits and how improvements are measured
    • Goal statement
    • Project Scope
    • High-level process map and/or thought map
    • Business case or strategic plan
    • Timelines — estimated duration of project phases
    • Team member names
  • Measure: 10 essential tollgate deliverables that must be addressed:
    • Project Y
    • Detailed Process map
    • Current metrics
    • FMEA to identify potential failure modes
    • Measurement System Analysis
    • Use of historic data to baseline process performance
    • Analysis of the cost of poor quality (COPQ)
    • Process capability
    • Improvement capability
    • Initial Y = f(x) relationship(s) to formulate hypotheses
  • Analyze: 6 essential Tollgate deliverables that must be addressed:
    • Root causes or significant factors
    • How those factors were determined
    • How those factors were prioritized
    • How the root causes were verified
    • Rationale for the type of statistical analysis used
    • Identify critical x’s to characterize Y = f(x) relationships
  • Improve: 7 essential tollgate deliverables that must be addressed:
    • The methodology used to develop the solutions
    • A summary of the implementation plan
    • The revised process map with changes highlighted
    • Initial changed-process metrics
    • Update/create future process map (if applicable)
    • Validate the new process capability with pilot studies
    • Verify critical x’s to characterize Y = f(x) relationships
  • Control: 7 essential Tollgate deliverables that must be addressed:
    • Final control plan for the most important factors
    • Standards/procedures to continue to monitor/audit process improvements
    • 3 months or more of follow-up data in a control chart
    • A summary of benefits expected versus realized
    • Revised process capability
    • Final report summarizing key findings
    • Project close out, team reward and recognition
  • Additional information, such as whether the project has been spread or replicated, or other pertinent details, may be included. Note that this information must remain within the 15-slide limit.

iSixSigma Live! 2010 Awards Winners

Winners— Largest-Breakthrough Improvement Projects:

  • Customer Service: U.S. Army – Joint Attack Munitions Systems – ‘Hellfire Missile Test and Repair’
  • Transactional: Betfair Ltd. – ‘Increase Spanish Outbound Contact & Conversion Rate’

iSixSigma congratulates these companies, and the teams and individuals who have led and contributed to these breakthrough projects.

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