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Norbert

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  • #189892

    Norbert
    Participant

    Please do NOT call it MBB training, but “Executive Green Belt” or something smiliar.

    We run Executive Workshops/ Trainings very successfully over the last years – but always designed to the roles of the participants.

    For Executives we explain what they can do to support and drive the Programme, to understand the different roles and Six Sigma concepts (high level) and how to select projects aligned with the business strategy.

    We show project success examples from efficiciency projects, but also from revenue-up projects and product/ service innovation projects.

    We talk about the integration of six sigma into process management environment and Corporate KPI systems and Career & Performance Management Systems …

    We avoid poperpoint as much as possible and run these sessions in a workshop environment with a lot of interaction and a business case study (simulation).

    But we would never call of “MBB Training for Executives” because MBBs have a totally different role and time dedication to the Programme …

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    #188335

    Norbert
    Participant

    Dear Colleagues,
    It’s not a miracle. Just apply the Six Sigma knoweldge you have as a Black Belt and you will find the best approach.
    Take a process that is relevant for your internal and external Customer. Yep, you always should know your Customers’ requirements.
    Four Selection Critieria (data is always helpful!):
    * Process Sponsor who is committed to process improvement
    * Process with a significant amount of cost and ressources on it
    * Process that will be relevant for your organisation in future
    * Process where the external customer will feel the difference
    Does this help?!
    Best, NorbertMBB cert. (GE)

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    #57693

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi,
    In the “Six Sigma & Lean Deployment” I am responsbile for (currently 9 countries across Europe) we use Programme Manager software (i-nexus, i-solutions) very successfully. The tool is more than flexbile, e.g. allows multiple currencies at the same time, there are a lot things in the system we can modify ourselfes (without extra pay to consultants!) and the supplier is very responsive and customer-oriented to our requirements.
    Payback is coming (and partly measured) from huge reduction of manual reporting effort (automated now), using the most current common workbook & methodology standards, the transperency across all projects in all countries/ locations, by re-using of results from other projects than my own and by the leveraging best practices across countries, by using the integrated (approval, notification, reporting) workflows as well as from avoiding redundancy of information in different local systems and various excel/access-sheets we had before.
    What you need to make it run is an appropriate amount of rigour & “discipline” in updating the project information by all project leaders (Belts). But this you also need if you decide to work with ms excel & co.
    Norbert, GE-certified MBB, LSS Deployment Leader Europe
     
     
     

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    #178026

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Ramblinwreck,here just a few thoughts.Being not exactly a Six Sigma approach to start with solutions, these ideas might provide us with some starting points for improvement areas.
    Energy saving: Given the high energy prices there might be enough potential for a six sigma project. I know of one on the hospitality industry that discovered room reservation policies as one of the root causes. By improved reservation rules (clustering unused rooms to areas), they were able to temporarily switch off electricity in unused areas of the hotel.
    At least in european hotels, costs of building and personel are typically the biggest cost drivers. Go for projects for example dealing with employee efficiency.
    Your idea with the pens: It´s possibly intended to give pens away with the name of the hotel on it. But it´s good to question whether the originally intended effect is still wanted or deemed necessary.Maybe worth a project on reducing costs peer room and night (with a little additional focus to keep it manageable).An additional tip for Boom-Boom: Ask management for solution ideas or failed and intended improvement activities. From that you should go back to the “real” question or need that you can use for a singular six sigma project or a whole programNorbert

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    #57273

    Norbert
    Participant

    This is the wrong question!
    Every number an be right or wrong. Do not believe in percentages written down in books! Think Six Sigma!
    The better questions are – about identifying the root causes (does this sound familiar to you?!): Why do you want to educate these Belts? How many projects do you plan/ need to run (in parallel) to inprove process and business performance? How many Belt can you manage and coach on a high quality level? How much (process) change is your organisation able to implement efficiently?
    Based on answering these you will find the most appropriate number of Belts for your company.
    Kind RegardsNorbert, GE-certified MBB

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    #57024

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Vinayak,
    if I understood your case correctly, i see 2 processes involvolved: email processing (correctly and timely) and logging of staffed hours (accurate). Thus I recommend using at least 2 sigma calculations, if not setting up 2 distinct six sigma projects.
    In the first case, the unit would be an email with 2 defect opportunities: non-accuracy (to be defined) and response time > 4hrs. If you want to take the LSL for accuracy  into account you could use for example weekly ratios and define a week below 95% error accuracy an error. This however reduces the granularity of you information.
    The second one is a bit more challenging. You will need a measurement to compare your data with in order to define a defect and calculate sigma. I think a sort of valitating or benchmark measurement would be helping. Like comparing billed hours with time card entries or time stamps in the call center system and to set “alarm thresholds” to identify defects. Another possible way might be to conduct an ongoing gage R&R study to gather data. Just an idea.
    I hope that I could help
    Norbert

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    #64145

    Norbert
    Participant

    in additon to the expert knowledge of this website try google with ‘cmmi six sigma’ and you will find more than enough interesting articles e.g. http://www.wibas.de/download/CMMI_and_SixSigma.pdf
    Norbert

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    #123090

    Norbert
    Participant

    I concurr.
    Defects and defect opportunities have to be defined out of the customer perspective. If not, you would simply have to increase number of stations/tasks /work steps in order to bring down the DPMO. That would means that complicating the process is always an option to improve that process.
    Norbert

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    #119050

    Norbert
    Participant

    First round of project may be 20 percent of failure (like ‘Pareto’), after that down to 5-10 percent would be ok.
    But – not only in six sigma – you should have an operational definition for “failure” (=defect) before you ask anyone for percentages!
    Identified root causes are:
    * no proper project selection (process)* not enough benefit because of wrong assumtions and/or incorrect data a* resource availability problems (Belt, Champion!, Teammembers)* change of priorities
    It’s always better to stop a non-valuable project as early as possible (Define, Measure) than to finish priojects to keep the ‘failure rate’ low.

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    #115719

    Norbert
    Participant

    monica,
    as you know there is no common definition of six sigma in the world. so if you understand six sigma as a project management methodology and use it for fire-fighting situations only this may be the right approach for your organisation. but in this case you will not be able to see, feel and use the real power of six sigma.
    six sigma (yes, it’s much more than DMAIC only) and process management need each other if you want to achieve Business Xcellence. why?
    business processes are in place in every company to deliver what the customer wants when he wants it. linking six sigma with process management means that you will be able to identify process performance gaps systematically and be able to launch six sigma projects to close these gaps – instead of throwing resources to everything and everyone who is crying loud enough.
    but to me the main advantage of linking six sigma and process management is when you talk about the sustainability of (six sigma project) results. if you are not able to integrate the process improvements into your business processes rigorously and if you are not managing your business processes based on fact and data you will only feel less than 20% of the power of six sigma in your life. and that would be a pity for you and – much more important – for your company and your customers.
    norbert

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    #115612

    Norbert
    Participant

    Regression analysis might be a good choice for forecasting in general.
    It would help, if you were a bit more specific on what you want to achieve/to do and what methods you have considered so far.
    Norbert

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    #56576

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Victor,
    why shouldn´t Six Sigma be applicable?
    Think about issues like delivery time, reduction of waste and broken dishes/glass, scheduling and productivity of employees…
    At the moment I cannot think of any Six Sigma tool that per definition cannot be applied at any circumstance in the catering field. However, you might experience a shift in the preferences of several tools. One tip: Keep in mind that you surely will be working mostly with people with a completely different background to that in the engineering environment.
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts (with brands like Sheraton, Westin, St.Regis and Luxury Collection) applies Six Sigma.
    Norbert

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    #115174

    Norbert
    Participant

    meggie,
    please ensure that your Belts will have a well defined & selected project with them to work at when staring the training. Otherwise training will not help.
    In addition to that training without coaching (by experienced MBBs) the Belts will be 20% worth only. Results will come from coaching and project execution but not from (stand-alone) training.

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    #115173

    Norbert
    Participant

    Do NOT go for ISO first. It’s often a waste of time and resouces. Most of the ISO maps does not help in six sigma projects beacuse the does not show the as-is process including non value-add activities.
    Go for six sigma directly!
    But ensure that process documentation and metrics will be kept in a well defined system. That will help.
    And if you have ISO in place already – then use as much as you can (but no not expect that it will be very much).

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    #114279

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,
    additionally to what have been said, I would recommend to do a fishbone diagram. You might want to brainstorm on basis of fishbone categories some potential causes of not meeting customer expectations about cycle time. The results (in a maybe consolidated form) should lead you the to the x´s you might want to investigate more in  the Measure and Analyze phases.
    Include your team in doing this and/ or(if you have none) involve experts at least in the brainstorming session.
    I hope this helps.
    Norbert

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    #113918

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Ramesh,
    in the download section of the minitab-website (http://www.minitab.com) you can find “Meet Minitab”, an 138p introduction – ready to download. Furthermore Minitab itself has a very comprehensive help file. It should fullfill most needs.
    Norbert

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    #56528

    Norbert
    Participant

    If it comes to effectiveness of Black Belts I would recomend:
    1. to look into project selection. What projects (and corresponding goals) are contributing to the strategic goals? If you want to see cost reduction…
    2. to scope projects manageable
    3. to ensure, that you have sort of potential “embassadors” of the upcoming solution on the team (opinion leaders).
    4. to emphazise communication. A stakeholder analysis, a collection and analysis of potential (felt) losses through the project , indentification of potential wins and a corresponding communication plan might help. Should be placed in the beginning of a project.
    5. Ensure, the right sponsor is on the team (in terms of being able to fullfill the role) and that he/she is committed.
    6. to stop projects without full support of the sponsor or where necessary resources/people are not available
    Just a few thoughts…

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    #56527

    Norbert
    Participant

    I  don´t know any film about six sigma. However, I recently read a good novel which tells the story of implementing six sigma in a company. The tiltle: “Leaning into Six Sigma”. Author: Barbara Wheat.
    I hope, that helps.
    Norbert

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    #102480

    Norbert
    Participant

    Yes – month-end past due dropped from 25% to 5% – still as of today. Let me have your email address and I will send you some details.

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    #100511

    Norbert
    Participant

    If the savings are certain, then you do not have to wait to validate the improvement and you can immediately close your project.
    I guess the way you report savings must be established within your organization. We always report project results on a per year basis.
     

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    #92849

    Norbert
    Participant

    If you want to measure Xs then you already have a project approval, right? So, you caught voices of customers with an aspiration of improving a process. If they cannot measure the degree of defect, where is their improvement aspiration based on?

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    #92496

    Norbert
    Participant

    Hi Anonymous,
    Do I read in your message that you are not happy NOW with the factual result now, regardless of your lousy base data?
    If that is the case, then I would definitely share this with management and suggest to go back to your challenge the Xs as it then looks like you did not have them all identified and prioritized properly.
    Then, you will have hit two targets: corrected a defectuous measurement and brought a

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    #87640

    Norbert
    Participant

    You can perfectly budget cost savings, if you respect the general budgeting rules: the proceeds are likely to occur and they are estimated conservatively in time and value.

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    #87639

    Norbert
    Participant

    … is not the end of the world. Quiting the project is the end of that project, though. I must admit that I had to work in a rather “hostile” environment too on a project and I was warned in this forum that my project was doomed to fail. Probably this warning awakened me and this is what I would like to pass to you in the hope that it will also make you succeed. I refused to fail in this project. Easier said than done, but here is how it worked for my project: 1. increased the team  involvement  in the project, 2. demonstrated uncompromized determination, and  3. followed the process to the ‘t’. Increase involvement: a preset time was scheduled for the team to meet weekly – no matter what. Each week a report was issued covering the project progress, issues/concerns, path forward,… to the team, their superiors, the champion, and… the CFO (financial project – first had a call with him to explain and request that he was on the copy list – this did wonders!). It did not bring the team accross the line, yet, but their hostile attitude turned into ‘only’ a suspicious ‘wait and see’ attitude. They were wondering when I would admit my incapacity to improve the process !Uncompromised commitment: I made clear to everybody that this project can only end at the last phase, unless the CFO would decide otherwise. I must admit that the project looked pretty desparate during the analysis phase, but I was determined not to show to the team. They afterwards admitted that they did not understand what was driving me in the project as they could not see how it could ever turn into a success.Follow the process to the ‘t’. : this was the true crazy part. I had the team brainstorm on the X’s and they came out with more than 20 of them. It really was an opportunity for them to demonstrate why the Y cannot improve, because the majority of these X’s were rated as significant and uncontrollable. I followed the text book, stuck to the data and applied to correct statistical tool to each one of them. When challenged, I revisited, verified the measurements and had them reconfirmed. It did make them swallow several of their assumptions, and this started to move them from suspicion to curiosity…I had the team draw up the improvement plan. They failed twice and I had to point out each time which of the critical X’s were not addressed properly. Then, they failed to execute the improvement plan and I had to check every step in the plan with them, the first time. A frustrating experience, for them and for me, as you can imagine! And then it happened. Magic kicked in. The results were UNBELIEVABLY good ! I suspected them of cheating and had the results verified. They could not believe them either and finally called it sheer luck. This made them tilt over though. They took ownership of the improvement plan, had big time attention, admiration and even jealousy from their colleagues, and they are now my strongest advocates for 6 Sigma.I do not know if I handled this perfectly – likely not; but it worked for me. It may also work for you. One thing you probably need to do before you start over again: scratch the word “failure” in your dictionary – it does not belong there and it is too tempting to hide behind…

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    #85767

    Norbert
    Participant

    Maybe this will help. Work your way back in the thinking process: a 6S project is all about reduction of defects. Hereto you need to improve the current processes. This will be done in an improvement plan. This plan will address your most significant defect causes (X). The analysis phase is where you define and qualify these causes. See if you can’t use a pareto chart. 
    So, here is what I would recommend: identify the most significant causes of your defects. I does not matter now how hybrid this causes are in this phase. Prioritize them. Have the most critical causes included in a comprehensive improvement plan that addresses at least the critical Xs and include less critical X – if they can.
    Good luck !
     

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    #85263

    Norbert
    Participant

    I cannot send you a copy of my 6 sigma reports, because it holds company confidential data, but let me try to help you further on your questions:
    On the metrics, let met start by telling you that there is no perfect measurement. After having evaluated about a dozen methods, the selected measurement was “Percent of Past due Accounts Receivable value at month-end”.
    All DSO based measurements were rejected because:
    a)     the ratio holds a substantial non-defect portion (granted days).
    b)     Granted terms are decided by different people than those handling past dues
    c)      The improvement plan would quickly focus on reducing granted terms, thus yeopardising turnover, while a reduction of past dues is easier to explain to the customer as he is faulty.
     So, the ratio measures a true defect: past due means defectuous. This claim was also not easy to accept by the team. How can we hold the customer responsible for bank float days? Some customers only pay once per month, so should we complain if a customer groups invoices undue and past due per month? Etc… It is amazing how inventive people can be to discredit your measurement. We finally bit the bullet  and said that – no matter what (justified) reason – Receivables collected after the due date are defectuous.
    Why at month-end? Because 1) many customers in Europe have month-end payment terms, 2) the customer voice is to reduce the required working capital on the balance sheet which is only significant at month-end and 34) because percent past due calculations during the month can fluctuate substantially, due to sales fluctuations (i.e. 2nd half of month holds more sales…).
    One word of caution: you first need to deal with bad debts that are not getting recognized as such in the books. You either have to have them written off, or you simply exclude them from your project scope, because you will not be able to deal with them in your improvement plan and they will mess up your baseline and blurr your improved results.
    Also, here are a couple of surprising or interesting findings from these projects:

    I had many Xs (don’t have the file handy, but I think between 15-20) – 75% of them were vital. And the majority of the vital Xs were reported uncontrollable (noise). I quantified the uncontrollable Xs to account for approx. 10% of my past dues. However, the uncontrollability is only a perception of the reality. Let me clarify with an example that I can recall. The lack of cash with a customer (invested too much, temporary sales drop, season selling,etc…) was an uncontrollable vital X. Quantified  at 5%. How is this possible if the end performance is lower than 5%. The measurement was correct. So, what happened? While we cannot control the cash-flow of our customer, our improvement plan resulted in making our customer give us a higher priority in his payment sessions. So, don’t let this discourage you.
    Sending payment reminders or dunnings (you know: escalating letters) have NOT improved effect at all.
    If you don’t call then you don’t collect.  Simple, but true. I could tell from the historical graphs when the Credit Controller had taken vacation …
    If you call after the due date (general practice) then you collect late. This may have a positive effect on the number of past due days, but the receivable is still defective when you collect.
    If you call BEFORE the due date, then you may get your money in time. Our improvement plan had the customers identified who reputedly pay late and were at first systematically called well before the due date. You know what? These calls were a lot more pleasant than the past due calls, primarily because you are now “helping” your customer from becoming defectuous again. He is not in error yet when you call.
    If you call, your chances of collecting increases substantially when you are well documented. Record your calls, read what has been said before, check with Customer Service if there are no logistics issues – even unrelated to the receivable you need to collect,  and perform the call professionally. Have the callers follow a training session, and have them build a relationship with the respective customer’s accounting clerks. Ask them how you can avoid having to call them in future, etc…
    Escalate swiftly and assertively – both in the internal organization and in that of the customer. You would be surprised  in how many cases it is only the accounting clerk that is the cause of the problem and nobody else in the customer’s organization is aware this is happening… As a general rule, any receivable that is more than 7 days past due is passed to the Account Mgr. The AM contacts the customer’s purchaser to identify and address the cause.  Only in rare cases is it required to jump to the purchaser’s superior and generally he is the one recommending to take this step if he is not in a position to make the change happen.
     
    One final remark. I did not get any buy-in from the team until the first improve measurement. So, this project was not easy till then. Once they say the results, their mouths fell open (so did mine, I must admit) and I had them pushing me to further the project ! So, hang in there. Follow the phases with discipline and you will make a substantial improvement.
     Good luck in your project !

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    #85214

    Norbert
    Participant

    Mike is right. Here’s a hint: a true six sigma project should have a title that starts with a verb, like “reduce” (defects, variation), “improve” (quality, profitability,…) or “optimize” (processes).
    Your two other “projects” look like possible steps in the improvement plan of your true project. Do as Mike suggests and walk through the phases. Step by step. And you will see how everything comes together in the end: mirvana…
     

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    #83162

    Norbert
    Participant

    Thanks Kealan, for your reply.
    We already has a past due reduction project and now have less than 5% paying beyond the due date. Also, I am not aware of a lot of issues – credit memos are below 2%. So, the real focus now will be on reducing granted terms to the customers.
    I am not aware of any “standard terms”. It looks like these are largely different depending on the region that we are selling to. The project’s objective is to reduce some 10 days  from  say 45  to 35 days. Would you then say that any customer in excess of 35 days is defectuous?
     
     

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    #81472

    Norbert
    Participant

    I “kiss” this in my projects (Keep It Stupid Simple). As of what time frame and frequency convinces your customer and process owner that you achieved the objective permanently? Have them guess safely. They don’t know? Then ask them when they will be convinced that the results are deteriorating? How do they know?
    But far more critical to me is: what are the tolerances/control limits you are setting to you project, and what will be done to correct, if the process exceeds these limits. Too often, one sees that processes deteriorates, as soon as the black belt walks away from it.

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    #81293

    Norbert
    Participant

    2 remarks:
    1. DPMO is an odd ratio, especially the O can be tricky. You claim that you have approx. 170 errors possible per drawing so 170 O’s and you name one error example which is a wrong start and end point That alone – I hope – you counted as two opportunities, but what if there should have been no wire and there is one drawn. That too is an error, or an wire has been drawn that should not be there. Or the wire is not connected to any point. And I bet you can keep going like this if you’d brainstorm this through this some “dummies”.
    2. You know why you can’t believe you’re so good ? Because you probable aren’t… You probably confuse defects with defective units. You do not have 5 drawings defective on a million. You probably have 5 defective drawings on 6000 (1MM/175) (which still looks pretty good to me, if you’d ask)
    To conclude: if you counted your defects correctly and your defect opportunities, then I think you are OK.

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    #79518

    Norbert
    Participant

    You already got some great advice, but let me answer your first question: is the situation now bad enough that you should “stop-the-bleeding”. If so, then go for an early quick fix and make sure people start in time to start with. If that is still inadequate, then I’d suggest you identify quickly to most dramatic issues and have these addressed first. That will give you the time (and already some of the credit) to get your project started properly. Good luck with it !

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    #79381

    Norbert
    Participant

    I thought so to, at the beginning, but now I am not sure. Personally, I have been working exclusively on transactional projects, so far. My manufacturing colleagues seem however to use many of the same tools that I use and are struggling generally with the same type of problems.
    The only difference that I noticed is that I have access to more historical data than they do, so my challenge is often to weed out noise and outliers, while their challenge is to get/gather data and set up adequate sampling plans. I am not convinced that the project type is the true cause of this difference, but it is much more that I happen to have easy access to the data.
    At the beginning, I also thought that transactional projects work a lot with discrete data, but I also know now better. About half of my X analyses are done with fitted line plots and less than half are ANOVA’s.
    Finally, whatever audience you have, even if one does not use a tool that has been trained, it certainly does not hurt to teach this anyway, because now I learned in the meantime that one NEVER has enough tools in is kit… There is always that nagging discomfort of “how can I measure this bes”. Or even worse, you know what you want to show and can’t find a proper method to present this properly.
    And all you would be talking about is a possible  training course reduction of a couple of days?…

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    #78478

    Norbert
    Participant

    I would try to find out where the decision came from to move to 6 sigma – it MUST come from the Board of Directors. Also, installing 6 sigma must be part of the company’s key objectives. If that is not the case, then stop thinking about it.
    If that is the case, however, then anything else you mention looks secondary and symptomatic to me: I am working in a multinational that started to fundamentally embrace 6 sigma some 5 years ago, and it still is a struggle. It’s a struggle to get projects approved. It’s a struggle to have your team endorse an improvement plan. I guess it is the nature of the beast: we don’t want to admit that men are extremely conservative.
    So, I think the key challenge of this job is to spread the word – educate people what it is all about, and start pushing people to change.  
    Hard work and that’s why 6 sigma folks must be  tough!
    Hope this helps… Let us know what you decided!

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    #78429

    Norbert
    Participant

    Me, too, Shari – I know someone who did this project and she would be very interested in your findings, I am sure.

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    #76364

    Norbert
    Participant

    As the colleague experts are apparently all “out of town”, let me (novice BB) try to help you further.
    It looks like you need to compute the sample size for a one-sample Z test. If you have Minitab then you can do this if you can read and type…You first need to know first what the average sigma level is that the processes are running (ball park should be fine) at because it takes a much higher number of samples to check the impact on a process with a higher sigma value.
    Too often, one finds that the computation returns an awfully high number of samples to run. Here is what I would then do:
    a) compute the power of a number of samples that you think you can afford to take (same test run in Minitab). 
    b) evaluate whether you can live with this level of power (don’t forget there is already a statistical significance above 60%)
    c) make sure that you make these tests free of all possible noise – on key factor to look at is your measurement system. Do not assume anything here and check it out for yourself, if you can.
     

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    #75050

    Norbert
    Participant

    Marc,
    it sure looks like you are hitting a lot of sensitive nerves. Mine too. Any chance that I could get a copy, please ? Thanks.
    My address: [email protected]
     

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    #70676

    Norbert
    Participant

    Stan,
    I am truly jealous of your achievement. How did you get to only two percent past dues? How does your procedure look like?

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    #66168

    Norbert
    Participant

    I have worked for 30 month as a master black belt with GE Capital Information Technology Solutions (4,500 employees at 54 locations in 45 countries worldwide) and I can tell you that in this (IT) division of GE six sigma is well implemented. For more information see http://www.gecits-eu.com and http://www.gecits.com or serch for ‘information technology’ at http://www.ge.com.

    “GECITS: Bringing IT products and services together, GE Capital Information Technology Solutions specializes in augmenting Internet and IT infrastructures with a variety of solutions. Customers rely on us to plan, acquire, implement, manage and refresh their multivendor information and communication technology.”

    “six sigma – the way we run our business / the way we work”

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