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Strayer

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  • #248700

    Strayer
    Participant

    @Mike-Carnell: Well, you knew someone was going to quibble.Β  Education has an inherent value that can’t be measured by such things as placement rates and incomes of graduates.Β  Speaking for myself, my undergrad degree was liberal arts with a double major in English and philosophy.Β  Not highly employable even back then.Β  I found it invaluable when I got into IT.Β  What is programming, after all, than language and logic?

    I don’t think success of graduates is what this question is about, although maybe it should be, since @tapiseniryan asked about “managing” an academic institution.Β  I was involved in six sigma for administrative processes where the most difficult part was defining the customer and their specifications.Β  I insisted that it tie back to the end customer but making that connection was difficult since it’s always indirect.

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    #248699

    Strayer
    Participant

    As said in the short article linked above, DMAIC is to improve an existing process.Β  DMADV is to design a new process.Β  And as suggested, you may find that the existing process is inherently defective and you may be better off to switch to DMADV and redesign.Β  But don’t rush into that.Β  You need factual data that shows that defective outputs from the process are the result of an inherently defective process, not just from less than optimal operations.Β  The scope of a DMADV project is obviously much larger than DMAIC.

    There are many methodology and tools differences between DMAIC and DMADV, although there is much in common.Β  But these aren’t things you need to know to answer this particular question.Β  Also, DMADV isn’t the only defined methodology for DFSS (Design For Six Sigma).Β  It’s the most widely accepted.

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    #248660

    Strayer
    Participant

    Is there a defined process?Β  What are the specifications?Β  How are they measured?Β  How much can you trust the measurements?Β  Are there controllable variables?Β  If you can positively answer these questions you can employ six sigma.Β  otherwise you’re likely to misuse or abuse.Β  I’m reminded of the nineteen-nineties when some companies tried to use six sigma for everything and discovered that many improvement projects either failed or had deceptive results,Β  or where someone was trying to promote an agenda or just earn required internal certification.

     

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    #248617

    Strayer
    Participant

    I’m guessing that you’re conflating the +/- 3 sigma control limits in control charts with customer specification limits.Β  They’re quite different.Β  ControlΒ  limits, calculated variation from the mean, tell us whether or not the process is under control.Β  Whether orΒ  not variation is within specification limits is a different question.

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Strayer.
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    #248448

    Strayer
    Participant

    There are many others out there.Β  I’ve read reviews and comparisons over the years.Β  You can find many on-line.Β  Some are advertised in Quality Progress (American Society for Quality’s magazine).Β  But we trust Minitab for ease of use, features, and reliability.Β  One thing I advise is “don’t even think of building your own”.Β  Sure, maybe you or people in your organization are really sharp with Excel or with building apps, and maybe you have some statisticians who really understand the formulas.Β  But if you go that route you’ll spend much more than licensing and almost certainly end up with something you can’t trust.

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    #248186

    Strayer
    Participant

    Assuming that you are only looking at the QA aspect, be careful not to conflate QA with QC.Β  It’s a common mistake.Β  QC concerns testing, inspection, detecting defects, and stopping defectives from moving to the next step in the process.Β  QA, on the other hand, concerns assuring management and everyone else involved that procedures and standards are followed and analyzes how well they’re working.Β  In the end-to-end supply chain QC looks at the quality of the inputs and outputs while QA looks at the quality of the process, including QC.

    By “QDF” I assume you mean “QFD” (Quality Function Deployment).Β  You can find many examples but the bottom line is you have to do it yourself for your process.Β  Β It’s a rigorous exercise that requires training and lots of reliable data.Β  In my experience they often end up using assumptions and are more often misleading rather than useful, after a great deal of work.Β  But if you want or are required to go there, here’s a starting point: https://asq.org/quality-resources/qfd-quality-function-deployment

    I would not do a QFD without a software tool since doing it on paper is really, really tedious and time-consuming.Β  And doing it yourself in Excel or other general-purpose software can be even harder, and very error-prone.Β  You can find free QFD software and templates on the internet.

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    #248166

    Strayer
    Participant

    Heh, heh @Mike-CarnellΒ  I had the same issue applying 5S in my home office, basement workshop, and kitchen.Β  It comes down to being brutally honest with sorting.Β  Stuff you frequently use or reference?Β  Okay, store that as easy to find and access as possible, and as near as possible to where you use it.Β  No brainer.Β  Then there’s stuff you sometimes need.Β  Nearby and easy to find but don’t mix it with category 1.Β  Then there’s the stuff you rarely, if ever, need but have a good reason to keep — store it somewhere out of the way.Β  And then everything else, that you should chuck.Β  Differentiating between the latter two is where I have the biggest problem but it’s a minor one as long as it’s stored out of the way.

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    #248101

    Strayer
    Participant

    One thing I’d recommend is to apply 5S to your home office workspace, your work diskspace, and cloud storage.Β  It’s lean, not six sigma.Β  You probably know the drill.Β  Many people, especially those new to working from home, don’t do it.Β  They may think it’s all about utilizing the technology.Β  An organized workspace where you have ready, easy to find,Β  access to what you use most and that isn’t cluttered by stuff you rarely or never use makes a big difference.

    As you know, some of our tools utilize teamwork.Β  When we first started doing this in the nineties, meeting or sharing online rather than in a room, it was quite challenging.Β  Today it’s a lot easier but still a challenge since not everyone is good at it and people working from home often lack tech support when things don’t work.

    Beyond that, listen to @Mike-Carnell.Β  Β It’s about the data and the analysis.Β  Get trusted data.Β  If you or team members can’t collect it on-site such things as gage readings should be available on-line, rather than recorded and transcribed where transcription errors are possible.

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    #247676

    Strayer
    Participant

    It depends what you want to do.Β  ISO 9000,9001…Β  are standards.Β  They tell you what you should be doing in order to be compliant, but not how to get there.Β  Lean six sigma is about how to get there — achieve high quality and efficiency without regard to compliance with bureaucratic standards.Β  Very different things.Β  For analogy, consider public education today.Β  There are standards for what students should know at each grade level and tests to measure whether or not they know that.Β  But these standards don’t teach students anything.

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    #247675

    Strayer
    Participant

    I would do a formal FMEA exercise.Β  Failure Mode Effects Analysis will help you to understand and prioritize the various failure modes so that you can address them in order beginning with the highest RPN (Risk Priority Number).Β  If you aren’t familiar with FMEA you can find instruction here or by web search, but the definitive handbook is from the AIAG https://www.aiag.org/quality/automotive-core-tools/fmea Β  As for your statistics with mixed failure modes, when you mix apples and oranges it won’t tell you much about either apples or oranges, but only about apple-orange.

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    #247622

    Strayer
    Participant

    My guess is that they have industry specific codes that don’t necessarily include SS or CPI in the title or description and they don’t recognize either as an “industry” in itself.Β  How many times have you seen a list of classifications and none of them fit? Β  It happens all the time.Β  The bureaucratic committees that create such lists try to be comprehensive and end up being either too specific or too generalized.Β  Does anyone here know someone who participates in the NACIS Association and can either clarify or advocate for additional codes?

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    #247338

    Strayer
    Participant

    Negative values indicate that the gage is biased to measure low.Β  This article may be helpful. https://mei.org.uk/files/pdf/Mathematics_of_Measurement_Systems_Analysis.pdf

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    #247268

    Strayer
    Participant

    As Crosby said, the only goal is zero defects.Β  Otherwise, if you’re saying that your goal is 99% defect free, for instance, it’s saying that your goal is to create 1% defects.Β  I appreciate the concept of weighting defects so we can address the most significant ones first, as we do in an FMEA or Shainin.Β  The obvious problem with the methodology you describe is that it’s reactive rather than proactive.Β  In other words, it finds and weights defects after they occur, which is wasteful.Β  It sounds more like a complicated way to make excuses rather than prevent defects.

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    #247057

    Strayer
    Participant

    DMAIC is by definition 5-phase waterfall.Β  The charter in D is planning.Β  It’s a wasteful misconception to try to do a beginning-to end work breakdown structure, Gantt chart, etc. since we’ll discover what we need to do in the next phase as we go along.Β  In that respect, DMAIC already is agile, and much like a sprint.Β  Something that works very well is to approach the process improvement effort as program management, where you collect, approve/disapprove, prioritize, and assign individual DMAIC projects (sprints) while tracking progress toward the ultimate objectives.Β  Not very different from SCRUM.

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    #246860

    Strayer
    Participant

    Why do you think your NDC is too big?Β  As I understand it, the higher the NDC the more capable your gage. Β  But I’m not an expert on GR&R, as some contributors to this forum are.Β  Does someone want to chime in?

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    #246829

    Strayer
    Participant

    Once again.Β  Control limits are calculated at +/- three sigma from the mean.Β  A run chart will identify outliers but says nothing about control limits.Β  We do statistical process control because with an ill-controlled process trying to eliminate outliers is likely to lead us down the garden path.

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    #246780

    Strayer
    Participant

    It sounds like you may be conflating specification limits with control limits, which is a common misunderstanding.Β  A control chart tells you whether or not the process is statistically under control, but says nothing by itself about whether or not the variation is within specification limits.Β  The UCL and LCL are calculated at +/- three sigma from the mean.Β  You can find free templates for control charts.Β  Plug in the data set from your run chart and use the rules for identifying variations of special cause.

    p.s. I like to add the USL and LSL lines since this tells me whether or not variation of common cause is within spec limits and whether or not the mean is centered.Β  I’ve had arguments with other practitioners about doing this.Β  They say it’s a distracting complication.Β  I say it gives me a lot more information in one chart.

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    #246756

    Strayer
    Participant

    I consider QC necessary waste.Β  If it wasn’t done right the first time it wasn’t value added.Β  But we can never be sure it was done right the first time unless we inspect/test.Β  That’s why we still need QC.Β  QC provides data.Β  I’d advise you to use that data to find sources of defects in the process.Β  That’s where you can have the greatest impact.Β  It sounds like you’re on the right track.Β  Don’t think DMAIC is a strict step-by-step methodology.Β  We need to do some MA in order to find D.

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    #246709

    Strayer
    Participant

    You can find free on-line training and some places that offer free or very low cost certification.Β  I don’t recommend them.Β  Remember that the barriers to entry into professions are there to assure that you had the dedication to learn what you need to know and the rest of us can trust that you’re capable of doing it.

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    #246660

    Strayer
    Participant

    Okay.Β  There are some things that are very probably NVA.Β  Some that are very probably VA.Β  And some that are very probably NNVA.Β  But are you looking for discussion examples that seem obvious but aren’t?Β  If so, I’m sure some of us can contribute examples from experience.Β  As a retired IT guy, one that comes to mind is software testing.Β  Testing is NVA, but it’s a truism that all software contains bugs until proven otherwise, and you can never completely prove otherwise.Β  So is testing and rework to fix bugs VA?Β  It certainly changes the product and the customer certainly wants it.Β  But it wasn’t done right the first time!

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    #246636

    Strayer
    Participant

    Not sure what you want to accomplish by making a long, long list of examples, which is inherently misleading.Β  It’s value added if it meets three tests:Β  It changes the product or service.Β  The change is desired by the customer.Β  It’s done right the first time – since rework is waste.Β  We can’t really tell whether something is VA or NVA without knowing the details.

    As for NNVA (necessary non value added) I’d say that there’s no such thing unless mandated by the laws of nature and man.Β  We can change the latter by influencing government and business rule-makers.

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    #245755

    Strayer
    Participant

    When I said “creative people are likely to resist” I was thinking of the arts, which I have in my background, where inspiration comes from some magical place which may be called the “muse” and is an individual activity.Β  There is no process for that and imposing a process is resisted.Β  DFSS, TRIZ, and some others such as simple brainstorming, leverage group wisdom to discover and agree upon innovative ideas.Β  DFSS also brings the agreed upon best idea to fruition.

    Brainstorming is easy to understand but can be difficult to implement.Β  I can refer you to the Wikipedia definition page as a starting point. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstorming

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    #245624

    Strayer
    Participant

    It sounds like you’re only doing the latter part of I, and then maybe C of DMAIC since the improvement was already chosen.Β  If you didn’t play a significant role in DMA, professional integrity should tell you that this isn’t enough, whether or not you can put together documentation that ASQ will accept.Β  It’s possible to turn IC into a level 2 DMAIC.Β  I’ve seen that done successfully.Β  After all, the outputs from DMA are the specifications for I and you can treat them as such.

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    #244981

    Strayer
    Participant

    Are you familiar with DFSS (Design for Six Sigma)?Β  It’s the branch that focusses on creating new processes/products rather than improving existing ones.Β  It isn’t about the creative process itself, but rather about assuring that the result will be high quality and efficient.Β  In my experience creative people are likely to resist. @rbutler gave some good advice.

    2
    #244800

    Strayer
    Participant

    Look for something you can improve quickly and cheaply.Β  Success will do wonders for your self-confidence, and for your organization’s confidence in you.

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    #244555

    Strayer
    Participant

    Are you being led down the garden path, thereby missing the real problem?Β  There might be a hidden root cause.Β  For instance there was a problem with billing errors.Β  After lengthy, expensive, statistical analysis and DoE failed to find improvement someone discovered that we’d missed the root cause.Β  Variations from list pricing and standard discounts had to meet complex rules and be signed off by a corporate officer. Β  But the salesman, customer, and official approver could agree before signature approval got into the system, because the paperwork took quite some time.Β  As a result shipment and billing could occur before the system knew about the agreed price.Β  Once we realized the hidden root cause it was a pretty easy fix.Β  Most of our improvement effort before then had been wasted.Β  Since then I’ve advocated brainstorming to look for the hidden X.Β  In your case I’d start by asking whether something prevents your inventory records from being real time.Β  Do the records show what’s actually in inventory at any given point in time.Β  If not, why not?

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    #244554

    Strayer
    Participant

    Thanks Katie.Β  The problem went away soon after I reported it.Β  As I said, I was signed in but when I tried to comment on a recent discussion it wouldn’t recognize that.Β  Also, thanks for pointing out the “contact us” link (which I’d normally expect in the header rather than footer or labelled something like “report problem using this site”)

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    #244496

    Strayer
    Participant

    I might suggest that you do some root cause analysis to discover the KPI.Β  From what you say it appears that the harvesting process is the source of waste and the root cause lies somewhere there.Β  Assuming that the harvesting process is the same in all hectares/acres, the variance in yield/waste per plot is probably noise.Β  You’re being led down the garden path if your KPI is noise.Β  You’ll put a of effort into collecting and analyzing meaningless data.Β  If you’re looking at the harvesting process you may not need to randomly sample various plots.Β  You may only need to look at one test plot.Β  I’d advise to do a fishbone (Ishikawa diagram), maybe some additional RCA tools, and do some research on harvest waste for this and similar crops.Β  Convince yourself that harvesting process is the source of waste but don’t assume it is. Β  Find the KPI.Β  If you can do that, you should be able to sell it to management and avoid a lot of wasted effort.

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    #244445

    Strayer
    Participant

    I was going to let y0ur complicated question go for those contributors who are much more knowledgeable about statistics and sample size.Β  But on second thought, maybe you’re overcomplicating the matter.Β  Why not measure the waste on a hectare, or even just an acre?Β  Do RCA to identify the root cause of waste.Β  Improve.Β  Remeasure.Β  If that reduced waste, standardize the improvement.Β  Repeat, using a different hectare or acre the next time.Β  Granted with an annual production cycle it may take years to significantly reduce waste.Β  But that will also be the case if you employ more complicated statistics.Β  Consider that the difference between waste vs. production on one hectare/acre vs. another probably has more to do with harvesting process than any other variable, and harvesting process is probably the same.

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    #244348

    Strayer
    Participant

    FYI, ASQ’s GB certification is lifetime.Β  We recognize that a GB is not a full-time six sigma professional but has sufficient knowledge and experience to serve on teams.Β  I think that should apply to internally certified GB’s.Β  What bugs me is BB’s who earn certification, internally or externally, for advancement rather than what they do on the job.Β  If they want to continue to be recognized as BB’s they should be periodically recertified using the same criteria as for original certification.

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    #244322

    Strayer
    Participant

    It depends on the certifying organization.Β  ASQ, for instance, requires that you do certain things, and submit proof, to maintain your certs.Β  Otherwise you’ll have to go through the certification process all over again.Β  I’ve seen situations where people on the management track go through BB internal training and certification, and never really use it again.Β  Recertification would be appropriate in those cases if they want to continue to call themselves black belts.

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    #244274

    Strayer
    Participant

    I think this is a poor choice for a six sigma training project. Β  I suppose that your instructor has his/her reasons, maybe that this is something management wants to address, so you’ll have to live with it.Β  If, as you say, your teacher isn’t really knowledgeable about forecasting methods, that’s a real bummer.Β  I’d advise you to look up information on Six Sigma for Demand Forecasting.Β  There’s some pretty good stuff there that you might find helpful.

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    #243708

    Strayer
    Participant

    It sounds like you posed a challenge to improve something that was outside their area of responsibility and no one, understandably, wanted to become responsible.Β  As customers/users of the bathrooms you can identify defects and report them to those responsible but you don’t control their processes so you can’t improve them.Β  A training exercise should use a scenario where participants can identify with the process to be improved.

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    #243577

    Strayer
    Participant

    You shouldn’t skip MSA.Β  Per my previous comments, you need to use the appropriate tool/method rather than force-fit a tool such as GR&R.Β  Also beware that there may be hidden (uncaptured) data when you’re dealing with something like delivery time.Β  I recall a case where the data showed that delivery times were nearly always met and measurement of days to delivery was accurate, according to MSA.Β  But customers complained.Β  It turned out that customer service did not enter orders until they could confirm with production since the system made it a real pain to change production schedules and/or orders and keep them in synch.Β  So this, and negotiating with the customer, was all done off-line with no record!

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    #243533

    Strayer
    Participant

    @FabioCacciottiΒ  MSA should always be part of the process.Β  We need to know about confidence in our measurements and evaluate how much of the variation we’re seeing may be due to our measurement system.Β  Reputable polls, for instance, state a margin of error based on sample size relative to population and, if they’re sophisticated enough, considering randomness of the sample.Β  The problem many beginners have with MSA is that the tools they’ve been taught may not be applicable to the measurement system they’re using.Β  For instance, you wouldn’t use GR&R unless your measurements come from a calibratable instrument such as a clock.

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    #243510

    Strayer
    Participant

    @Erik2018Β  The 1.5 shift is controversial.Β  You’ll find much discussion here and elsewhere about it, including whether or not 1.5 is the right value to account for long term drift.Β  Most of us just accept it.

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    #243509

    Strayer
    Participant

    You are using attribute data (yes/no) rather than proportional data where there is a range of values for the variable.Β  Look up MSA for attribute data and assessing reliability of qualitative measurement.Β  In your case I’d be more concerned about sample size and sample selection, unless there’s a question about accurately measuring days to delivery.

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    #243414

    Strayer
    Participant

    Reading between the lines, I’m guessing that you might be troubled by the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a repeatable process, where defined inputs go through defined steps to produce defined outputs.Β  I had to deal with the same issue in software development.Β  Everything seems to be a one-off that will never be done again.Β  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a process.Β  To elaborate on @cseider comment, you might look at multiple project records to identify frequently occurring problems/losses. Β  That’s something you can attack.

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    #243355

    Strayer
    Participant

    As a senior ASQ member who knows people involved in creating the exam questions, I can assure you that none of the practice questions available from ASQ and other sources will appear on the exam, as such.Β  The practice tests are to help you decide whether or not you’re prepared to sit for the exam.Β  It might be useful if these questions referenced the BoK, but not that much.Β  Either you know the BoK or you don’t.

    You don’t have to use these practice questions unless you want to.Β  Look up qualifications to sit for the exam on the ASQ website.

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    #243199

    Strayer
    Participant

    My “go-to” tool when time is the concern is a Time Value Map.Β  It shows how much time is spent on each step, which are value-added and non-value-added, and wait time between steps.Β  You want to minimize the non-value-added and wait before trying to speed up the value-added.Β  There are three caveats about using a TVM.Β  It assumes a stableΒ  process.Β  It assumes a linear process.Β  You have to measure time for each step often enough to be confident about the average (see sample size), and if there’s wide variance in any step that’s another problem.

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    #243126

    Strayer
    Participant

    My only experience with the insurance industry is as a customer.Β  From that perspective I’d say I’m dissatisfied. Β  It’sΒ  difficult to understand the coverage and terms, premiums are expensive, you often have to fight when you have a claim, and what you get is often less than you expected.Β  You might start with voice of the customer, what they perceive as defects, and the business benefit of reducing those defects, not just efficiency for processing claims and reducing overhead expense.Β  To be successful your training program should focus more on the customer than on internals.Β  That’s true for any LSS initiative but it’s easy to overlook in service industries where there is no physical product, and arguably where it’s even more important.

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    #243123

    Strayer
    Participant

    @anthony2019Β  I hope you didn’t think I was trying to discourage you with my previous post.Β  I’ve known people who successfully used internal company projects as dissertation topics.Β  Just wanted to give you a reality check.Β  The sustainability issue is a big one.Β  More than a few companies did things such as requiring everyone in certain positions to earn green belt, and a certain number of black belts per department, the latter open only to those on the management track.Β  Most people never did another improvement project.Β  You can find research about this.Β  p.s. I think the idea of continuous improvement projects is basically a mistake.Β  It should be a mind set.Β  Sometimes it may be a project.Β  More often it should be using the tools to tweak the process whenever you recognize something amiss.Β  Doing projects to earn required belts led people to think they’d gotten the belt and now they’re done with it, because doing such projects wasn’t part of their regular job.

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    #243078

    Strayer
    Participant

    Assuming that your dissertation is for a graduate degree, you probably understand that they’re looking for an original contribution to the body of knowledge, not just doing research and regurgitating facts.Β  Researching sustainability for a single SME group might take years in order to draw any conclusions, and the general applicability of those conclusions will be questioned so you’d better be able to back it up with wider research.Β  If you’re going to focus on the group where you work, you have a good historical starting point.Β  But consider that your employer has a stake in what you disclose.Β  You probably signed some sort of agreement when you were employed.Β  Expect them to want to approve your research project, limit the amount of time you and other employees spend on it, and review and approve your dissertation before you present it.

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    #242489

    Strayer
    Participant

    @sheilalopezΒ  The Shainin System (tools, methods, and training) is proprietary.Β  While much information about it is in the public domain you’ll have to pay for the details, and it isn’t cheap.Β  Here’s a link that may be helpful. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233362346_An_Overview_of_the_Shainin_System_for_Quality_Improvement

     

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    #242378

    Strayer
    Participant

    Well, yes.Β  Since the red x is the variable which has the greatest influence on the desired outcome.Β  The problem, and I have a lot of experience in this space, is that the “y” is often fuzzy and not easily measurable.Β  It’s often biased by what some manager wants without regard to voice of the customer, quality, or financial results.Β  If you can’t measure the “y” good luck determining the red x.

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    #241845

    Strayer
    Participant

    @KayKL When I did it I expected to rely on my reputation and contacts as a starting point.Β  But I had non-compete and non-disclosure agreements as you probably do.Β  So I had to build a new network.Β  I found a great small business lawyer who for a surprisingly small retainer fee helped me to create a business entity, comply with regulations, tax, and such.Β  This lawyer organized his clients as a networking community – monthly client meetings where we met, learned from, and helped each other.Β  That, along with getting more involved with professional organizations and local business networking communities, establishing a website, making myself known in on-line social networks such as LinkedIn…

    Bottom line is that you’ll have to work hard to market what you have to offer and find clients.Β  You’re going to become a self-promoting salesperson.Β  You can expect to spend money rather than earning it for quite some time.Β  If you aren’t prepared to do all of these things,Β  don’t do it.

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    #241844

    Strayer
    Participant

    @aayanbuleΒ @Mike-CarnellΒ  I was a bit remiss in my initial comment.Β  While CMMI appraisal and QA performed according the Capability Maturity Model are very audit-like they are also very different.Β  The goal is process improvement rather than strict compliance with policies, procedures, and standards.Β  As an appraiser, if we find that an organization has an alternate practice that achieves the goals, that may be a good thing.Β  We might even champion revising the model.Β  For instance, CMMI was extensively modified to include agile methods, which many IT organizations were using with great success.Β  If we’d done strict auditing we would have dinged them for not following the rules and let it go at that.

    The purpose of QA, as defined in CMMI, is to provide objective insight into how well the organization’s standards are working and the quality of the resulting products.Β  Yeah, we note deviations and non-compliance issues in our findings and we track them to closure, but we’re just as interested in understanding why these occur, and whether or not what they’re doing is better in some way.Β  Unlike the typical audit where closure is either corrective action or management signing off that they accept the risk, it may be a decision to revise the policies, procedures, and standards.

    So the transition was just the next step for me.Β  It may be a lot more difficult for someone who’s only been a strict auditor, focused on reporting non-compliance and the risks that entails.

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    #241631

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    @Mike-Carnell Belly laugh.Β  Auditors do serve a useful function.Β  But strict auditing tends to suppress innovation – Stop doing that!Β  You aren’t following the rules.Β  Fortunately in my audit-like positions it wasn’t strict audit.Β  CMMI and QA (as defined in CMMI)Β  places value on recognizing innovation and evaluating whether or not it might become part of the standard process, or an option.

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    Audit can be a good starting point.Β  You do evidentiary studies to find what isn’t being done the way it’s supposed to be done.Β  That’s a large part of what we do in continuous improvement and it’s a skill that some people find difficult.Β  My path from project manager to LSS consultant included IT quality assurance and CMMI appraiser, both of which are essentially auditing.Β  Since you’ve been auditing for quite some time you’ve probably learned to point out that it’s a process failure, and not to blame individuals.Β  Assigning blame is a sure way to make yourself unwelcome, whether you’re an auditor or a continuous improvement leader.Β  So you’ve got that going for you.

    You don’t have to have six sigma or any other certification to succeed in continuous improvement.Β  Some people just do it and develop a reputation with management and colleagues.Β  Of course that would conflict with auditΒ  so you probably can’t go there in your current job.Β  To make the career change you’re going to need certification to impress HR and hiring managers.Β  Six sigma belts aren’t the only continuous improvement certifications so you might want to research related certifications.

    There’s probably an American Society for Quality section in your geographic area that meets regularly.Β  You might get in touch with them.Β  You can find out about local sections from their website.Β  As a long-time senior member I can tell you that ASQ is great for networking, advice, training, and certification.Β  My section welcomesΒ  non-members at our meetings.

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    #240844

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    Per @rbutler we don’t want to the clutter the graph and risk obfuscation.Β  I’ve seen spec limits added for a presentation when someone wanted to show that the process was statistically under control, but out of spec.Β  I think that was a good use.Β  But what if it was out of control but within spec?Β  Should we disregard what the control chart is telling us?

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    #240770

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    If you don’t know the standard sample size calculation formulas, look them up on this site and elsewhere.Β  You can also find on-line sample size calculators.Β  Not trying to be snarky.Β  It’s just that you said your best “estimate” is 638 pieces and that doesn’t sound like you’ve done the math.Β  If you have and you still have questions about optimum sample size, describe your concerns and one of us may be able to give advice.

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    @Mike-CarnellΒ  A good CEO relies on experts.Β  And has the wisdom and vision to champion.Β  To get back to the original post, as an intern you are not a recognized expert.Β  You will not overcome resistance.Β  The best you can do is to tackle a quick and inexpensive improvement and build on your success, here or elsewhere.

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    #240587

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    I concur with comments about CEO.Β  When I was with AlliedSignal Larry Bossidy bought in to SS big time, to the point of saying that everything we do is SS.Β  We made progress, although there was valid criticism that it couldn’t always be seen on the bottom line.Β  Then we bought/merged with Honeywell.Β  The new CEO wasn’t a disciple, we fell back, were nearly bought by GE, and when that deal fell through Bossidy was brought back to get us back on track.Β  He did.

    But to get back to the original question.Β  People tend to resist change unless things are really bad.Β  It’s hard to get line people to buy in unless you can prove that it’s in their best interest, or management says “do it”.Β  Management won’t say that unless it comes from the top down.Β  And execs won’t do that unless they’re true believers or you can give clear evidence that your improvement plans work — data and results, not opinions, not references to the literature, case studies, results in other companies, etc.Β  If you don’t have executive support from the start, start small.Β  Get a line manager to let you try.Β  Find a problem that you can improve without a major investment in time or money.Β  Show results and work upwards.Β  As an intern you probably won’t get beyond the first project, or maybe not even complete it, but you may be able to get a foot in the door to changing the culture.Β  And that’s good for all.

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    #240282

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    What was the question? What did you answer? What don’t you understand about the “correct” answer in the practice exam? We’re glad to help. I would caution you, however, to check the copyright notice for your practice exam. You might need to pose a general question rather than posting a copy of the published question and answer.

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    I wouldn’t call this a benchmark but I was involved in a study at our IT dept. at AlliedSignal after hearing that non-production-line employees typically only spend about 2/3 of their time doing productive work. Thanks to administrative tasks, meetings of questionable value, socializing, etc. We found it to be true. We also found that doing the study interfered. One off-shoot was a boss who’d come through the office saying he wanted to see heads down and fingers flying on the keyboards, as if that meant productivity. In many fields people are often more productive if they have thought-time. We might look like we’re wasting time. I often benefited from getting away from the desk, take a walk, chat with someone. Then I’d have an “Aha!” moment. The problem with employee utilization measurement is that except on the production line where people are essentially machines you can’t measure what matters except by results. So I stand by my initial comment. You say your client is concerned about over utilization due to manual processes and about work distribution. Apply lean thinking to identify and eliminate non-value-added tasks rather than waste time on an essentially useless metric.

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    #240218

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    I encourage you to stop wasting time measuring it, since rigorous time-keeping is also wasteful. Instead look at what people do, ask whether or not it’s productive, and if it isn’t, whether or not it’s productive or necessary. Change the culture so that everyone considers this.

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    #239664

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    Many of us end up somewhere we hadn’t thought of going. For me it was a winding path.
    – science/math major in jr. high where I learned FORTRAN (mid 1960’s)
    – English major in high school, interested in becoming a teacher
    – Secondary education major in college (quickly realized I didn’t want to go there)
    – Liberal arts degree with double major in English and philosophy
    – Various low-pay jobs
    – temporary job as teletype operator led to an offer to manage the wire room and automate it, and take night classes at company expense to learn what I needed to know
    – Coordinator data communications and data input control
    – senior programmer/analyst and systems manager (after automating the wire room)
    – IT project manager
    – TQM facilitator for IT and internal CMM/CMMI appraiser
    – IT six sigma trainer, although not a black belt. Employer only gave that to people on management track
    – Global IT quality assurance leader
    – Independent consultant
    – Retired

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    #239609

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    There are so many. But my first step if the problem hasn’t been narrowly defined is “is / is not” analysis, often attributed to Kepner-Tregoe but hard to call original. Just write down what you know to be true about the problem and what you know to be untrue. No assumptions here. Just what you know for sure at present. Try to cover everything you can think of that’s relevant. Take a good look at these two lists. It’ll lead to more questions and eventually to the most appropriate tool.

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    #239577

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    @Sharmin If your project is “boiling the ocean” (Making huge changes without resources or commitment to do it) it’s destined to failure and whatever you do to address the symptomatic signs of impending doom will not avert this. When “work or some other emergency” gets in the way of team members doing what you need from them you can be sure that they aren’t committed, and you might assume that they see impending failure and would rather not be associated with it. If this is what’s happening I’d advise you to meet with your VP of quality and the process owner to have an honest and open discussion. Ideally you’ll want someone who is above both of them and an independent expert on the project space to participate. If you can do this you may end up with a reduced and more achievable scope, and the commitment to do it. I’m making assumptions from what you said but I’m also speaking from experience where projects failed or were revived and successful with reduced scope.

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    #239467

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    To elaborate on @Mike-Carnell comment, in the transactional space specification limits are typically set by service level agreements, which are negotiated as compromise between what the customer (external or internal) might accept, and estimated cost to provide. This results in dissatisfied customers while contractors (or internal operations) claim that they’re doing really well and have data to prove it, while customers (external or internal) are dissatisfied. This is not acceptable. Dissatisfaction encourages management to outsource, or find a new contractor, resulting in a new service contract, and the cycle takes another round. I think the bottom line in the transactional space is that good enough to meet specifications is never good enough. Ultimately customers want instant and cost-free transactions. Anything less is an arbitrary compromise. So our goal in this space is continuous improvement and never being satisfied.

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    #239465

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    @Aerospacer I’m sure you know that when the result of a reputable opinion survey is published they include a margin of error. This is MSA although it isn’t called that and isn’t calculated using GR&R. Bottom line is that we’ve long known that measurements are not 100% accurate and reliable and those who are wise have found ways to put a number on this so that we know how much we can trust our measurements, long before six sigma.

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    #239430

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    I don’t know the answer. As soon as people began measuring it was known that there had to be standards and that measurement instruments weren’t infallible. Many people have contributed to the body of knowledge for statistically determining how much of the observed variation may be due to the measurement instrument, from Shewhart in the 1920’s and others before him. Tracking down the origins would be an interesting topic for a research paper but not germane. For understanding why and how we do MSA you probably can’t do better than Wheeler.

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    #239401

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    It sounds like you are conflating specification limits and control limits. Specification limits are set by the customer. They are not calculated. Control limits are calculated from the measured variation within the process. We want control limits to be within specification limits but they are otherwise unrelated.

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    #239400

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    One of my major complaints is when people say that you must use a particular tool because it’s part of the process. GR&R is about determining how much of the variation you’re seeing is due to inherent variation in a physical measurement instrument. There are better tools for MSA when you don’t have a physical measurement instrument, and force-fitting GR&R is likely to mislead.

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    #239399

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    Have you looked at Wikipedia? The page on measurement system analysis has references. Just saying.

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    #239128

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    Keep in mind that many companies, at least in the United States, are most interested in hitting the numbers for the next financial report. I’d look for a “quick hit”. Something that should be relatively simple and inexpensive to improve. Do that and document bottom-line proof. Nothing sells like success.

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    #238813

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    There’s been much discussion about this “fudge factor” in this forum and elsewhere, including differentiation between short-term and long-term sigma, process drift, and so on. Crosby insisted that zero defects is the goal. Otherwise we’re saying that our goal is to produce a certain percentage of defectives, which makes no sense. Problem is we can never prove we’ve achieved zero defects long-term. There’s always a chance that a defect will appear. So 6 sigma is a practical goal, if not the ultimate. Most of us have stopped worrying about the shift. As you said, it was included in the formula for practical reasons.

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    #238746

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    The biggest challenge is changing company culture. Even in many companies that went big-time with LSS we often had to wonder whether or not they really got it. For example, requiring us to commit to improvement goals and deadlines before Measurement, because we had to sell the project before we could get approval to even begin understanding the problem.

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    #238589

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    I agree that for best results the FMEA team comes with data and aren’t just guessing or advocating based on prejudices. But I stand behind my previous comment that it’s about arriving at consensus. Each subject matter expert brings something to the table. If you do a rigorous FMEA following the AIAG manual, FMEA is a project, not an exercise. The results of the exercise approach, often done in just one day, can be very useful. But we should remember that the RPNs don’t mean that much unless there are very wide separations.

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    #238573

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    An FMEA is a team exercise to identify and arrive at consensus on RPN factors. The result is probability based on the knowledge of participating experts. If you have the right people on your team, subjectivity shouldn’t be a big issue. Things tend to balance out. There are better tools, such as fault trees, for objective analysis but they aren’t good for prioritization, which is the reason we do an FMEA. In my experience an attempt to get all the data and do objective analysis turns FMEA into a project in itself, and the results are not better.

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    #238572

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    Key difference is that a project begins and ends. A process continues after your project. When you do a SIPOC or other method to set the scope boundaries for your project you are defining what part of ongoing operations is in scope for your project. Your are saying that your project deals with the process that’s within these boundaries. But your project scope is your goals, your resource requirements, your team, your schedule, in short your project plan.

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    #238567

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    In the nineties there was a Phd. in our organization who was implementing expert systems to capture the knowledge of key employees and help with future decision-making. It ended up not going very far, partly because the technology was just beginning. But he did manage to get cooperation. One thing he stressed was that we aren’t trying to replace you with a machine, or with some lower-salary employee. We want to help you do even better.

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    Off the top of my head, I’d guess that your organization is relying more on individual expertise than on defined process. If that’s the case, you want to reverse it by defining and standardizing processes. Getting those who don’t screw up to reveal how they’re more successful can be difficult. They might consider that their secret to job security. You can’t accept that.

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    #237986

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    Sometimes benefits are called “soft”, such as making an internal report more useful, because we aren’t willing to do the work to determine how they affect the bottom line, although they do. That said, there are things such as goodwill, social responsibility, employee satisfaction and morale, that are good to do but have nebulous bottom line benefit. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them. But they are not candidates for DMAIC projects.

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    #237984

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    You might find some help at the Project Management Institute’s website. Microsoft Project and other good PM software might help, even if you are dealing with on-going teams rather than projects which begin and end. Bottom line is that there are complex estimating formulas which are still “guesstimates”. You don’t know what you don’t know so you have to make assumptions, and people are not equivalent.

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    #237588

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    It’s often noted that software is different. You aren’t repetitively making things that conform to the same specifications. Every product is new. I’m glad to hear that your company uses agile and Kanban, which were developed to incorporate lean and reduce waste for one-off products. I’ve found that process maps, even value stream maps, aren’t very useful for agile software development. The only thing common between projects is the high level process. The reaction from teams is, “Well, duh. We get that. But we still have to discover what we need to do as we go along.”

    90% delivery with huge delays is far from typical for agile software teams. This suggests a lack of training and expertise, especially for team coaches (project managers). The transition from traditional project management to agile is not easy since you have to cast aside so much, such as detailed work breakdown structures, PERT estimating, detailed requirements, and so on. You might want to tactfully look into how well your organization is prepared to do agile before you try to analyze what’s wrong with the process and force-fit an improvement.

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    #237587

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    I’ve seen companies use sigma score to evaluate performance of departments and projects. Sure, you can put a number on it. It’s just math. But it’s missing the point. What we care about is the quality we deliver to our customers. Some companies, GE for one, got so hung up on internal competition that they lost sight of that. Have you checked GE stock prices lately?

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    #237162

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    SIPOC is about external inputs to and outputs from the process, not about what happens within. Sure, there are suppliers and customers for each step within the process but don’t muddy the waters. What you want to do is set the boundaries for the process of interest, however broad or narrow. What crosses that boundary is what you put in the SIPOC.

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    #237161

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    Have you looked into Theory of Constraints? It may provide some insight into balancing the process.

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    #237104

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    Have you searched this site? There’s much discussion about use of six sigma in call centers that might suggest a research topic. You have to accept that your MBA must use publicly available data and nothing from your own company without explicit approval.

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    #236712

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    Are you asking what proportion of diners need to respond before it’s a reasonable sample size? It’s probably the wrong question. Most people won’t do it unless they’re very pleased, or displeased, or offered a bribe such as a discount. Feedback cards (as opposed to scientific surveys) are useful for seeing trends but not for much else. As @rbutler suggested, written comments are likely to be the most valuable feedback, as opposed to waitstaff asking “did you enjoy meal?” which is almost certainly useless. If you can encourage people to write a brief comment about their dining experience, and take the time to read and make sense of these, you should get useful insight.

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    #236606

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    I’m not quite sure what you’re asking since sigma level is derived from DPMO while OEE includes other productivity factors including equipment availability and speed. Can you clarify?

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    #236405

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    Here’s a simple thought. It’s an interesting statistics question but useless. Employers don’t care as long you arrive on time and would only have a policy for a 40 minute commute time if that was mandated by government regulation or union contract, which is highly unlikely. Employees do care, but how many of them would do the math or care about such fine distinctions? We don’t waste our time on useless questions and whoever asked you to answer this one is clueless.

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    #236277

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    Beware of building it yourself. It’s likely to incur much more expense than you want to invest and much more time than you’re willing to wait for. This results in projects that are abandoned before fruition more often than IT people like to admit.

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    #236156

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    A sample size of one can be sufficient in some circumstances. That’s the way water and food products are tested for bacteria and other contaminants. My father outlaw worked in the metallurgy lab in a steel mill and he’d get one sample from the furnace. If it wasn’t up to spec he’d tell them what they needed to add and then he’d get another sample. Over time you can do statistical analysis for additional insight but it would be wasteful to take multiple samples from the same homogeneous batch. But there’s a caveat (isn’t there always?) How much variation (R&R) is in your gauges and methods? If this variation exceeds your desired confidence level you might need multiple samples even if you reasonably expect them to be the same.

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    #236093

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    It sounds like you have the traits to do this. Some people don’t like to get down into the weeds, dig up, and analyze data. You are right that you need a basic understanding of statistics. But as @Mike-Carnell said, today we use software more often than knowing the formulas and doing the math. I’d suggest that you get in touch with the local section of American Society for Quality. ASQ’s GB certification is respected and does not have to be renewed once you pass the exam. Your local section may have a GB certification training program, as mine does. Whether or not you sit for the exam you’ll learn what you need to know as a solid starting point.

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    #236011

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    While there’s no single certifying body for belts some, such as American Society for Quality, carry a lot more weight. Certifications and degrees tend to just get you through the door since it’s mainly HR that cares about them and you might never see a hiring manager if you don’t get through initial screening, unless you make some contacts within the company where you want to apply who can short-circuit that. When I was a hiring manager I wanted to talk to people who’d been personally recommended more than candidates from a stack of HR-screened resumes. It’s a fact that networking will get you an interview before credentials will. Credentials matter. But you’re competing with a lot of others.

    In your resume and interview, talk about problems you solved and how that benefitted the bottom line rather than credentials and awards. You can do that with only academic experience. Why did what you did matter? How did it improve your academic organization? Don’t forget that an academic organization is still a business.

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    #235849

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    Regarding your second question, I wouldn’t use the GR&R results in calculating CPK unless it shows consistent skew. For instance, if you find that your gage tends to read high or low you might adjust for that. Otherwise GR&R only tells you about confidence in your measurement accuracy and only says something about confidence in your CPK.

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    #235555

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    You can find a lot of information on calculating sample size by searching this site. You can also find sample size calculators on the net if you’d rather not do the math. You need to know your population size (total units produced in a given period), standard deviation for the population (often estimated since measuring the entire population may be cost prohibitive), and your desired level of confidence (typically 95%). Are your measurements variables (potentially infinite variation depending how many decimal places) or proportional (discrete) where there is a fixed number of values such as A,B,C…? There are different formulas depending on that but some argue that you only need the standard formula. Regarding how often you should sample, this depends on cost/benefit and stability of your process.

    For research you might want to start with this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_size_determination

    I’d advise you to just start doing it with whatever sample size is practical rather than trying to determine your optimum sample size at first. Management will often accept this because it’s a good thing to do, if it doesn’t cost too much. You’ll soon learn whether your samples are too large or too small. Just beware that you can only speak about defects found in the sample until you have a statistical basis for sampling.

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    #211448

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    We use VSM to redesign the process, to identify and to eliminate or minimize NVA operations in an improved process. You aren’t ready to go there and you’re trying to boil the ocean from what you said in your original question and last comment. Instead I advise you to simply map the process with a step-by-step flowchart, which may already exist, identify significant NVA (wastes) which the people who do the work probably know if you ask them, and choose one for a DMAIC project.

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    #210218

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    At AlliedSignal in the 90’s we used documented cost savings from six sigma projects, which had to be signed off by finance to confirm that the savings were real. Even so there were lots of questions about how real they actually were. We, GE, and others were criticized for not being able to show these claimed savings in our financial statements.

    Yes, you can use COPQ to evaluate non-transactional teams/processes. But it’s difficult. What are your baselines? How do you measure quality of what these teams do and the cost of it not being done well? As noted above, we used financial benefit of the projects compared to their cost. It seemed like a no-brainer but wasn’t very satisfactory.

    You’ll need a defined process for DMAIC and some repeatability for executing it in order to have comparable metrics. You might not want to go there since it places constraints on your teams and might prevent them from doing what’s best to achieve their improvement goals. The simplest thing is to measure how well teams improve the defined problems, according to their metrics. But that might not be enough to convince management that you’re getting results.

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    #210217

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    The triangle applies to project management. As you know, it’s said it can be good, fast, or cheap. Pick two. The third will be worse. It doesn’t necessarily apply to process improvement. If you improve quality you’ll likely improve efficiency and reduce cost as well. As for choosing a primary metric, the above gave good advice. Clearly define the problem and the measurement that shows that the problem exists. Most likely that will be your primary metric.

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    #209968

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    You hit the nail on the head, Mike. I would note that so often we have complaints about quality from outsourced providers but they say they’re satisfying the service level agreement. And it may be true. SLA’s are usually negotiated by purchasing and executives without involving quality professionals, so we tend to get averaged/massaged data and have no insight into what’s really happening. CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) and other frameworks insist that quality departments from the contractor and outsourced provider coordinate and work together, but that may not get into the contract. We don’t seem to understand the difference between a supplier of materials or services that are inputs to our processes vs. BPO which takes over our processes. To get back to the anonymous questioner, if you aren’t getting raw data from your outsourced providers you really can’t evaluate them or come up with an overall quality rating, whether or not you use weighting. When I was asked to do that I told management that I couldn’t do much more than compare how well they claim to be meeting their SLA’s and you already know that. Maybe I could provide some helpful internal data. For instance when we outsourced our IT help desk I could tell them how many complaints and reports of unresolved problems we were receiving. But since I had no insight into their raw data all I could say is make of this what you will.

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    #209900

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    Maybe the real problem here is that you aren’t getting raw quality data from your outsourced providers. I was usually omitted from negotiation of such contracts and then challenged with evaluating them, individually and overall, without the data I needed since they weren’t obligated to provide it.

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    #209851

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    I assume BPO is Business Process Outsourcing. Say 90% is from one source and the other 10% is divided among several others. That’ll exaggerate the other 10% in your final score. Unweighted average of averages might be useful in some circumstances but I can’t think of one. Do you want the average quality of products/services they provide? It’ll be skewed. Do you want to compare the average from one source to the overall average? It’ll be skewed.

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    #209850

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    Your criticism of my zero defects comment is well taken, Mike. The appropriate improvement goal depends on what all the “voices” say, considering cost/benefit, despite what Crosby said in Quality is Free. But have we answered the original question? I took it to mean that he was considering 3 sigma as a “conventional” target but maybe he was asking more about the relation between sigma and z scores, which you addressed in your first response and maybe the rest of us should have let it go at that.

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    #209798

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    The reason zero defects fell out of favor is, of course, that it cannot be achieved. So we chose lesser goals that we could pat ourselves on the back for achieving. There’s a sound argument for “good enough”. That is, what’s good enough for customers to accept. Only our customers can tell us what’s good enough. If we set our own goals based on process capability, cost, or whatever we’re still missing the boat.

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    #209498

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    Crosby noted that the only appropriate goal is zero defects. Say you want 3 sigma (93%) that’s the same as saying your goal is 7% defects, which is crazy. Even if your goal is 99.99% that’s still saying you want to create some defects. That said, you can set lower interim progress goals as long as you understand that continuous improvement doesn’t stop there. We may never get to zero defects but we should never be satisfied with any, even six sigma.

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    #208940

    Strayer
    Participant

    Good question. The initial charter is a proposal, not a plan. Some organizations want to make it a project plan that you commit to and require things you won’t know at the beginning, so people fudge things such as metrics, staffing, schedule, budget, etc. To me, the most important part of the charter is the problem statement. Clearly state a specific problem with evidence that it really exists, and it’s cost to the business. That should be enough to get signoff, at least to do the work needed to put together a plan and flesh out the charter to the point your organization requires for a go/no-go decision. That said, most six sigma projects should not be big projects requiring all the rigors of formal project planning. There’s a problem. Let’s find the cause and fix it quickly and cheaply. That’s DMAIC.

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    #208802

    Strayer
    Participant

    I’d hoped this might generate some discussion about what we do as professionals. What I do is investigate and understand the problem as best I can. (In this case it was a bur on a plastic part that prevented the safety interlock on the power switch from working and, since it was easily accessible, I filed it down and fixed it myself.) Then I report and clearly explain the problem and offer to help, or point them to where they can get it. With outsourced help desks and poorly written service level agreements, this information may never get to those who need it. But at least I tried rather than just going away as a dissatisfied customer.

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