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Strayer

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  • #256081

    Strayer
    Participant

    If cost is your issue (the ones we use are excessively pricey) you can find much cheaper toy/model catapults that will work, provided that they have two or three adjustments (input variables) and they have reasonably consistent results for each setting. I can’t recommend one since I haven’t tried them. By the way, during my initial training back in the nineties I criticized the instructor for recognizing which team had found the best settings as though every catapult was exactly the same. They aren’t.

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    #255899

    Strayer
    Participant

    My comment is that techs should have a key role in negotiating contracts when specs are part of it. All too often it’s a deal between managers with limited technical expertise. How to measure compliance is left open to argument.

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    #255667

    Strayer
    Participant

    You’re on the right track. An error pulling the product is a defect that affects the end customer. Doesn’t the fact that this defect occurs imply that this step must be value-added? It doesn’t change the product but it’s a crucial part of the service. Write a problem statement that’s concise, specific, and fact-based about product-pulling errors. That’s the basis for your charter. And now nothing in your internal inventory control process is out of bounds.

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    #255651

    Strayer
    Participant

    I want to add that my previous response is based on experience with a former employer where we wanted all salaried employees to be green belt and, since the benefits of six sigma in some other companies had been questioned because it couldn’t be seen in bottom line financial statements… We had lots of people doing their projects in internal processes such as HR, payroll, etc. We insisted that the cost savings be signed off by finance, the use of six sigma tools by that group, and the benefit to end customers by management. We came up with a variant of six sigma for internal processes to better deal with the definition of value added. Sorry that I can’t say more about it since it’s proprietary. But you can find information about six sigma for internal and administrative processes on this site and elsewhere that might be helpful.

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    #255650

    Strayer
    Participant

    Inventory control is the lean side of lean six sigma rather than the quality-oriented original six sigma. You probably learned in your training that a step is value added if it changes the product or service in some way that the customer wants and it’s done right the first time. Everything else is essentially waste. Ask how inventory control adds value to the end customer. It will help if you think of it in terms of a service rather than internal cost reduction. If a step helps you deliver high quality products faster and at reduced cost, you might call it value added. Everything else, such as inspection and error correction should be optimized if not eliminated.

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    #255578

    Strayer
    Participant

    Robert Butler is a statistics expert so I’d take his advice. My only comment is that I hope you looked up the standard formula for computing sample size. You can find it on this site or elsewhere with a quick search. There are also free sample size calculators if you’d rather not do the math.

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    #255487

    Strayer
    Participant

    We tend to overcomplicate. I’d look at the main process by itself and treat the contributing processes simply as steps. If one is causing an NVA situation, that will become clear. And then you can look at that by itself to better understand why, and how to improve it. If you’re familiar with Theory of Constraints, I’d look at the VSM in those terms. ToC identifies the bottleneck that constrains the process. That is, the process cannot be faster or more productive than allowed by that constraint and, according to ToC, anything else you try to improve is either ineffectual or causes more waste, such as accumulation of WIP inventory. You may find that one of the contributing processes is the constraint. Then and only then should you look at the details of what’s happening there.

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    #255454

    Strayer
    Participant

    A control chart is basically a run chart that identifies variations that should demand attention. It’s a poor tool for summary reporting as you describe. And yes, since standard deviation, UCL and LCL are calculated from the raw data they will change over time unless the process is remarkably consistent. Perhaps one of the statisticians who contribute to these discussions can suggest a better way to create these quarterly reports.

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    #255417

    Strayer
    Participant

    Virtual white-board. You can draw/write on it using a mouse, your finger, or a stylus. It can be viewed over the net and may include collaboration so that people outside your clean room, including those in other locations can draw on it. There are quite a few products out there.

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    #255406

    Strayer
    Participant

    A word of caution. If your organization has insufficient process maturity this will be a misleading exercise in futility. By maturity, I mean that the process is well defined, repeatable, and managed, including fact-based rules for handling exceptions.

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    #255386

    Strayer
    Participant

    If you’re suggesting that your use of six sigma is a selling point, don’t even think of going there. If you aren’t satisfying client needs and expectations, almost flawlessly, touting six sigma won’t help. Also, do not rely on internal data to show improvement. Any dissatisfied clients will scoff at that.

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    #255210

    Strayer
    Participant

    Risk remediation often concerns reducing severity, but it can also involve occurrence or detection, or all three. In the flat tire example, carrying a spare affects SEV but does nothing about OCC or DET. There are other potential corrective actions. Using run-flat or puncture-resistant tires would reduce OCC. So would replacing tires due to age or wear, or using tires warranted to last longer. Tire pressure sensors used on many vehicles improve DET before the tire actually goes flat. If you’re doing a thorough FMEA you’d want to include each of these and see which one gives the better RPN. The optimum risk reduction might include two or more. An FMEA isn’t suited for multi-variate analysis so it’s an iterative process.

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    #255151

    Strayer
    Participant

    You can find some of this information by doing research on what specific companies have publicly claimed. But I’d take that with a grain of salt. Back when six sigma was the “silver bullet” management trend, companies that claimed great savings from adopting it were often questioned why this couldn’t be seen in their financial statements, and with good reason. This says nothing about the benefits of using six sigma but quite a lot about corporate hype.

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    #255042

    Strayer
    Participant

    What do you think? Setup time is waiting, one of the classic wastes of lean, when the next step in production cannot be done until something else happens. This can be at the start of the process, between steps, or at the end if it delays the start of the next production cycle.

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    #255036

    Strayer
    Participant

    I wouldn’t used transformed data to calculate DPMO. DPMO is simply the ratio of counted defects to counted opportunities for defects to occur. Transform would skew it.

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    #254999

    Strayer
    Participant

    Per Katie, there’s a wealth of searchable information on this site. Do your research. We’d be glad to answer and discuss specific questions. That said, I can give you some food for thought on your #5 (criticisms) as a fairly early adopter (late 1990’s) when a number of big companies latched on to six sigma as the next big thing and some even trained nearly salaried employee and said things like “six sigma is the way we run our business” and “we’ve saved billions of dollars.” Critics said this would end up being another management fad and it too would pass. The hype passed, but six sigma remains for the simple reason that it works.

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    #254952

    Strayer
    Participant

    I’d skip yellow belt unless it’s required for going on in your company. Colors other than green and black were introduced to familiarize beginners with the concepts. You’ll get the same thing and more from green belt.

    IASSC certification is widely recognized but since it’s basically just passing an on-line exam it doesn’t carry much weight with me. I’d recommend ASQ certification. I admit that as a senior ASQ member I might be prejudiced.

    But you say you want to be a project manager. If that’s your goal, also consider Certified Project Manager from the Project Management Institute. That’s the gold standard. There’s a lot more to project management than you’ll learn in six sigma training and certification. One of my pet peeves is that we expect black belts to be capable project managers but we don’t teach much about project management.

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    #254920

    Strayer
    Participant

    Before trying to answer your question I’d warn you to be certain about the definition of closing a request. I had a very bad experience in the past where the service provider showed statistics with very good performance relative to the SLA. But those who who made the request or filed a problem report often complained that the request was not satisfied or the problem was not resolved, but they closed the ticket anyway. It seems that the SLA failed to specify that the resolution had to be satisfactory to the requester before the ticket could be closed. I blame those who negotiated the contract, not the service provider. I hope you are not in a similar situation as either the contractor or the service provider since that makes cycle time pretty near meaningless. That said…

    I would definite NOT use percent complete. It’s an old observation in project management that something can be, say 90% complete, but take longer to complete that last 10% than the first 90%. You would have to have extremely rigorous project management to make percent complete useful.

    Average cycle time could be good, except that you say there are multiple process with different expectations. You would need to drill down to supporting data comparing the different processes. In my experience, executive management usually only want to see the “big picture”. So I’d go with your inclination from business peoples’ recommendation. It gives them a number they can hang their hat on. And if they ask for details about the different processes, make sure that you also have that.

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    #254774

    Strayer
    Participant

    If the current process really is a mess, I recommend a spaghetti map. Just draw the connections between steps. If it looks like a plate of spaghetti you know you have work to do to straighten it out. But it sounds like you’re really asking about something else. If your biggest problem is really in-process inventory (too many or too few items from one step to the next) I’d go to theory of constraints. ToC assumes that you have an accurate map of the process. If you don’t have one, I’d recommend spaghetti, do what you can to straighten it out, then value stream map, do what you can to eliminate non-value-added steps, then ToC.

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    #254730

    Strayer
    Participant

    One that I liked to use when I was consulting is the penny queuing exercise, a.k.a. the penny game. You can find more info with a quick search. I called it “50 Lincolns” because that’s how many pennies are in roll. You can use as few as 5 or 10 pennies but I found that 50 works best. The way I did it was to divide into teams of three to five people at a table. Give the first person the pennies. Ask the first person to turn each penny over then slide them (as a batch) to the next person, and so on until all 50 pennies reach the end. The only rule is that each person must turn over each penny, representing steps in the process. Time how long it takes and count how many are heads. Tails are defectives. Then ask them to figure out a better way to do it. Repeat several times. The second time they’re likely to ask first person to make sure all the pennies are heads, or tails depending how many flipping steps. This adds a non value added step, increasing time. Better, they might ask me (the supplier) to do that before giving them the pennies. They might try smaller batches, such as 10 at a time. They might choose to do continuous rather than batch processing so that people don’t waste time waiting. If they do that, they might want me to give them one penny at time (JIT). They might think of handing each penny from one person to the next rather than sliding it across the table, flipping it at the same. They might think of putting all the pennies in the middle so each person can reach them, reducing transport. This simple exercise provides ample opportunity to discuss the concepts and sources of waste.

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    #254694

    Strayer
    Participant

    It doesn’t matter how many variables. Sigma level is an overall ratio between what’s within customer specifications and what isn’t. Don’t complicate it.

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    #254674

    Strayer
    Participant

    Can you assume that a supplier that performs 100% inspections delivers zero defectives? Of course not. My inclination is that they should not be treated differently from any other supplier. But I’m wondering why you asked this question.

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    #254629

    Strayer
    Participant

    The above from Mr. Butler and Mr. Seider is on point. I would emphasize that pass/fail may mean that you have already converted variable data to an attribute, and thereby lost the variable measurement. The important question is how you determined pass/fail.

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    #254541

    Strayer
    Participant

    Understand that DMAIC is a general framework and we use the tools as appropriate. Any instructor who insists that you must use this tool then this one isn’t worth his salt. When deciding which tools to use and when, ask these questions: Do I have, or can I get, the information I need for inputs? 2. Will the outputs from this tool be useful as inputs for later tools? If the answer to either question is no you’re wasting your time.

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    #254283

    Strayer
    Participant

    I wouldn’t bother with yellow belt unless you’re totally naive. When belts were introduced there was only green and black, and then Master BB for experts and instructors. Yellow, and sometimes other colors, were introduced later for people who wanted to learn about, or needed to know about, the concepts but probably weren’t going to become practitioners. Everything you’d learn in yellow belt will be taught in green belt as if you were a beginner. I do agree with Chris Seider about having basic algebra skills, and I’d say even moreso basic statistics, for GB. It’s a prerequisite and even yellow belt training is unlikely to spend much time teaching what you should already know. It’d be a disservice to everyone else in the class.

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    #254184

    Strayer
    Participant

    It sounds like you have a solution looking for justification. That isn’t how we do it.

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    #254183

    Strayer
    Participant

    When steps in a continuous process are all continuous you should sill have time-fenced yield data from each step. If you have that, you can do RTY over a time frame. It you don’t have it your quality control is deficient.

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    #253750

    Strayer
    Participant

    The control limits per Shewhart are +/- 3 standard deviations from the mean and there is sound reasoning for this. You might inquire why whoever wrote the Excel formulas used a narrower range.

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    #253124

    Strayer
    Participant

    While I have no experience in the health care industry — hopefully someone who does will share what they’re doing — I’d encourage you to look closely at your CTQ variables, and what they say about priorities and mission.

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    #253057

    Strayer
    Participant

    I’d add that possibly key people in your organization dismissed six sigma as yet another management fad that is expensive to implement with questionable results. If you even suspect that might be the case, don’t use the term “six sigma”. Talk about data-driven process improvement and the ideas you have about things you’ve observed that could be done better.

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    #253056

    Strayer
    Participant

    I’m not sure why you have a quandary about this. It was once explained to me that a discrete process makes “things” while a continuous process makes “stuff”. The difference is that you can measure a variable for each thing produced, but you can’t do that when the product is a continuous flow of stuff, such as a chemical from a refining process. In the latter case we can only measure what’s happening at a specific time. This has implications for sampling and analysis, as discussed in the literature.

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    #252643

    Strayer
    Participant

    There are several ways to do it provided that you have the right before and after data.  You might need to look outside your area of responsibility to see the benefit of your improvement.

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    #252584

    Strayer
    Participant

    The short answer is, yes.  I’m glad that you appreciate the value of the learning.  Certification confirms that you’ve attained that level, as opposed to just thinking you have.  Yellow belt is usually certified internally by your employer and is not recognized elsewhere, but it’s still something you can claim on your resume.

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    #252319

    Strayer
    Participant

    If the audit requires dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s you’ll have to get your docs in order.   Similar has happened to me.  Sorry.  I used to be a CMMI appraiser and I much prefer that approach.  We said that as long as you were accomplishing the goals of a particular process area and there was documentation to prove it, that was just fine.   If you were doing it a very different way from the written CMMI practices, that was just fine.  Many audit standards are much stricter and that’s a shame.  After all, the purpose is process improvement not forcing you to wear a straight jacket that might not fit.

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    #252034

    Strayer
    Participant

    You have the right concern.  It’s easy to give a virtual lecture but it’s hard to achieve engagement.  Aside from learning how to do it effectively, you need the right video conferencing product.  I won’t recommend one but here are some features you should consider:

    – Easy to log in and use.  Do you really want something that requires each participant to download and install software, even if it’s free?  Do you really want something with a learning curve rather than intuitive through the browser?

    – Security.  You don’t want to allow interlopers, and you especially don’t want the possibility of trolls.

    – Cost.  It may or not be a big issue.  If it is, beware that you’re giving up something if it’s “free”.  Carefully read the terms.

    – Participants can interact.  They can see each other, usually through thumbnails, which they can click on to expand, but without leaving the main speaker.  There may be a sidebar that allows text conversation without interrupting the speaker.

    – Multi-media sharing, from participants as well as the speaker.

    – A tech moderator.  You’ll pay for this feature but you may be glad you did.

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    #251990

    Strayer
    Participant

    Back when six sigma was seen as a “silver bullet” a former employer said that “everything we do is six sigma” which was aspirational rather than true.  We even developed variants for administrative and management (back office) functions, which mostly missed the mark.  Sure, you can use it and the toolkit to improve efficiency but if you aren’t doing so to improve what you deliver to the end customer you don’t get it.  The biggest miss was choosing metrics that the end customer had no reason to care about.

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    #250625

    Strayer
    Participant

    Search the net for “free six sigma software”  or “free statistical analysis software” and you’ll find many hits.  I can’t recommend any of them since I haven’t used them.  There’s an old adage that you get what you pay for.  Would you want to make critical decisions based on something that you didn’t know to be trustworthy?  That said, open source software can be very good.  For instance I use free Open Office rather than MS-Office or others.  Open source, in case you don’t know, is free licensed to users, including source code.  Users can modify or add to the code as they wish provided that they make these changes available to other users according to license terms.  The good ones have ways to test and approve changes before they’re incorporated and released to the user community.  Here are some open source statistical analysis tools, but I repeat that I have not used any of them and cannot recommend them.  https://www.goodfirms.co/blog/10-best-free-and-open-source-statistical-analysis-software

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    #250585

    Strayer
    Participant

    I would stress @cseider question about having a champion.  You’re the new guy telling people that they should change the way they’ve always done things.  Who are you to do that?  You don’t even know what we do or why we do it this way.  From experience I’d recommend that you have at least two champions:  Someone in executive management and someone who directly manages many of those in your workshop.  They should actively advocate what you’re proposing.  The exercise you choose is much less important provided that it illustrates the value and applicability of the concepts.   Also from experience, participatory exercises where people actually do things work better than paper.

     

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    #250524

    Strayer
    Participant

    This is off topic but I insist that we distinguish between QA and QC.  The main reason is that we can easily overlook QA when it’s conflated with QC.  Quality Control is testing, inspection, and analysis to verify that a product conforms to specifications, plus the related actions to handle nonconformance.  Quality Assurance is the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met.

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    #250523

    Strayer
    Participant

    That’s probably the wrong question since most of the math itself is relatively simple.  What you do need is statistics, which is a particular way of applying the math.  That isn’t often taught in high school, or even college, unless you’re on a track for engineering, medicine, science, or some other field where statistical analysis is important.  I recall taking my first  six sigma training at a former employer and those in the class who hadn’t learned basic statistics really struggled.  Take an introductory statistics course and you should be ready.

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    #250386

    Strayer
    Participant

    Might I suggest that your real problem is the measurement system?   You could install instrumentation to continuously monitor the wire before it’s wound into coils.  Sure, that’d take an investment that’s probably outside your sphere of control.  But there’s this basic cost of quality principle:  The later you discover a defect the more it costs.  Plus, inspecting only the visible part of the coils won’t find hidden defects.

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    #249362

    Strayer
    Participant

    There’s so much to argue with those engineers I don’t know where to begin.  They seem to be concerned only with matching capacity to demand, which is a good thing, and view improvement as increased production, which is a bad thing if that’s the only consideration.  Can you be more specific about the arguments you heard so maybe one of us can refute them and offer advice?

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    #249203

    Strayer
    Participant

    Feel free to ask questions.  There are many experts here who will answer.  However there’s one thing that’s likely to be ignored or get some disparaging comment.  If you ask something that you should have found on your own by doing a little research, especially if it seems to be an answer to an exam question and you don’t explain why you don’t understand.

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    #248889

    Strayer
    Participant

    It appears that your measurement system conflates discrete and continuous data.  I’d suggest that you’re overcomplicating and “going down the garden path”.  Use the continuous measurements without collecting into subgroups.  Don’t use your subgroups, treating them as discrete.  They are not.  For a histogram, use proportional division of the continuous data rather than predetermined buckets.

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    #248861

    Strayer
    Participant

    Look for virtual collaboration tools.  There are lots of them.  You want to be able to share whiteboards, files, graphics, etc. as seamlessly as possible.  “Brainstorming” tools may be much more limiting.

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    #248700

    Strayer
    Participant

    @Mike-Carnell: Well, you knew someone was going to quibble.  Education has an inherent value that can’t be measured by such things as placement rates and incomes of graduates.  Speaking for myself, my undergrad degree was liberal arts with a double major in English and philosophy.  Not highly employable even back then.  I found it invaluable when I got into IT.  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.  I was involved in six sigma for administrative processes where the most difficult part was defining the customer and their specifications.  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.  DMADV is to design a new process.  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.  But don’t rush into that.  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.  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.  But these aren’t things you need to know to answer this particular question.  Also, DMADV isn’t the only defined methodology for DFSS (Design For Six Sigma).  It’s the most widely accepted.

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    #248660

    Strayer
    Participant

    Is there a defined process?  What are the specifications?  How are they measured?  How much can you trust the measurements?  Are there controllable variables?  If you can positively answer these questions you can employ six sigma.  otherwise you’re likely to misuse or abuse.  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,  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.  They’re quite different.  Control  limits, calculated variation from the mean, tell us whether or not the process is under control.  Whether or  not variation is within specification limits is a different question.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Strayer.
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    #248448

    Strayer
    Participant

    There are many others out there.  I’ve read reviews and comparisons over the years.  You can find many on-line.  Some are advertised in Quality Progress (American Society for Quality’s magazine).  But we trust Minitab for ease of use, features, and reliability.  One thing I advise is “don’t even think of building your own”.  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.  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.  It’s a common mistake.  QC concerns testing, inspection, detecting defects, and stopping defectives from moving to the next step in the process.  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.  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).  You can find many examples but the bottom line is you have to do it yourself for your process.   It’s a rigorous exercise that requires training and lots of reliable data.  In my experience they often end up using assumptions and are more often misleading rather than useful, after a great deal of work.  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.  And doing it yourself in Excel or other general-purpose software can be even harder, and very error-prone.  You can find free QFD software and templates on the internet.

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    #248166

    Strayer
    Participant

    Heh, heh @Mike-Carnell  I had the same issue applying 5S in my home office, basement workshop, and kitchen.  It comes down to being brutally honest with sorting.  Stuff you frequently use or reference?  Okay, store that as easy to find and access as possible, and as near as possible to where you use it.  No brainer.  Then there’s stuff you sometimes need.  Nearby and easy to find but don’t mix it with category 1.  Then there’s the stuff you rarely, if ever, need but have a good reason to keep — store it somewhere out of the way.  And then everything else, that you should chuck.  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.  It’s lean, not six sigma.  You probably know the drill.  Many people, especially those new to working from home, don’t do it.  They may think it’s all about utilizing the technology.  An organized workspace where you have ready, easy to find,  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.  When we first started doing this in the nineties, meeting or sharing online rather than in a room, it was quite challenging.  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.   It’s about the data and the analysis.  Get trusted data.  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.  ISO 9000,9001…  are standards.  They tell you what you should be doing in order to be compliant, but not how to get there.  Lean six sigma is about how to get there — achieve high quality and efficiency without regard to compliance with bureaucratic standards.  Very different things.  For analogy, consider public education today.  There are standards for what students should know at each grade level and tests to measure whether or not they know that.  But these standards don’t teach students anything.

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    #247675

    Strayer
    Participant

    I would do a formal FMEA exercise.  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).  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   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.  How many times have you seen a list of classifications and none of them fit?   It happens all the time.  The bureaucratic committees that create such lists try to be comprehensive and end up being either too specific or too generalized.  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

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

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    #247268

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

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    #247057

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    DMAIC is by definition 5-phase waterfall.  The charter in D is planning.  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.  In that respect, DMAIC already is agile, and much like a sprint.  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.  Not very different from SCRUM.

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    #246860

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

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    #246829

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    Once again.  Control limits are calculated at +/- three sigma from the mean.  A run chart will identify outliers but says nothing about control limits.  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

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    It sounds like you may be conflating specification limits with control limits, which is a common misunderstanding.  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.  The UCL and LCL are calculated at +/- three sigma from the mean.  You can find free templates for control charts.  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.  I’ve had arguments with other practitioners about doing this.  They say it’s a distracting complication.  I say it gives me a lot more information in one chart.

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    #246756

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

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    #246709

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    You can find free on-line training and some places that offer free or very low cost certification.  I don’t recommend them.  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

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

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    #246636

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    Not sure what you want to accomplish by making a long, long list of examples, which is inherently misleading.  It’s value added if it meets three tests:  It changes the product or service.  The change is desired by the customer.  It’s done right the first time – since rework is waste.  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.  We can change the latter by influencing government and business rule-makers.

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    #245755

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    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.  There is no process for that and imposing a process is resisted.  DFSS, TRIZ, and some others such as simple brainstorming, leverage group wisdom to discover and agree upon innovative ideas.  DFSS also brings the agreed upon best idea to fruition.

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

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    #245624

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    It sounds like you’re only doing the latter part of I, and then maybe C of DMAIC since the improvement was already chosen.  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.  It’s possible to turn IC into a level 2 DMAIC.  I’ve seen that done successfully.  After all, the outputs from DMA are the specifications for I and you can treat them as such.

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    #244981

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

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    #244800

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

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    #244555

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

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    #244554

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    Thanks Katie.  The problem went away soon after I reported it.  As I said, I was signed in but when I tried to comment on a recent discussion it wouldn’t recognize that.  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

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    I might suggest that you do some root cause analysis to discover the KPI.  From what you say it appears that the harvesting process is the source of waste and the root cause lies somewhere there.  Assuming that the harvesting process is the same in all hectares/acres, the variance in yield/waste per plot is probably noise.  You’re being led down the garden path if your KPI is noise.  You’ll put a of effort into collecting and analyzing meaningless data.  If you’re looking at the harvesting process you may not need to randomly sample various plots.  You may only need to look at one test plot.  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.  Convince yourself that harvesting process is the source of waste but don’t assume it is.   Find the KPI.  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

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

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

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

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    #244274

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    I think this is a poor choice for a six sigma training project.   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.  If, as you say, your teacher isn’t really knowledgeable about forecasting methods, that’s a real bummer.  I’d advise you to look up information on Six Sigma for Demand Forecasting.  There’s some pretty good stuff there that you might find helpful.

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    #243708

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    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.  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.  A training exercise should use a scenario where participants can identify with the process to be improved.

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    #243577

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    You shouldn’t skip MSA.  Per my previous comments, you need to use the appropriate tool/method rather than force-fit a tool such as GR&R.  Also beware that there may be hidden (uncaptured) data when you’re dealing with something like delivery time.  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.  But customers complained.  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.  So this, and negotiating with the customer, was all done off-line with no record!

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    #243533

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    @FabioCacciotti  MSA should always be part of the process.  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.  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.  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.  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

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    @Erik2018  The 1.5 shift is controversial.  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.  Most of us just accept it.

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    #243509

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    You are using attribute data (yes/no) rather than proportional data where there is a range of values for the variable.  Look up MSA for attribute data and assessing reliability of qualitative measurement.  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

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    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.  I had to deal with the same issue in software development.  Everything seems to be a one-off that will never be done again.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a process.  To elaborate on @cseider comment, you might look at multiple project records to identify frequently occurring problems/losses.   That’s something you can attack.

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    #243355

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    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.  The practice tests are to help you decide whether or not you’re prepared to sit for the exam.  It might be useful if these questions referenced the BoK, but not that much.  Either you know the BoK or you don’t.

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

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    #243199

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    My “go-to” tool when time is the concern is a Time Value Map.  It shows how much time is spent on each step, which are value-added and non-value-added, and wait time between steps.  You want to minimize the non-value-added and wait before trying to speed up the value-added.  There are three caveats about using a TVM.  It assumes a stable  process.  It assumes a linear process.  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

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    My only experience with the insurance industry is as a customer.  From that perspective I’d say I’m dissatisfied.   It’s  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.  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.  To be successful your training program should focus more on the customer than on internals.  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

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    @anthony2019  I hope you didn’t think I was trying to discourage you with my previous post.  I’ve known people who successfully used internal company projects as dissertation topics.  Just wanted to give you a reality check.  The sustainability issue is a big one.  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.  Most people never did another improvement project.  You can find research about this.  p.s. I think the idea of continuous improvement projects is basically a mistake.  It should be a mind set.  Sometimes it may be a project.  More often it should be using the tools to tweak the process whenever you recognize something amiss.  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

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    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.  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.  If you’re going to focus on the group where you work, you have a good historical starting point.  But consider that your employer has a stake in what you disclose.  You probably signed some sort of agreement when you were employed.  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

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    @sheilalopez  The Shainin System (tools, methods, and training) is proprietary.  While much information about it is in the public domain you’ll have to pay for the details, and it isn’t cheap.  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

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

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    #241845

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    @KayKL When I did it I expected to rely on my reputation and contacts as a starting point.  But I had non-compete and non-disclosure agreements as you probably do.  So I had to build a new network.  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.  This lawyer organized his clients as a networking community – monthly client meetings where we met, learned from, and helped each other.  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.  You’re going to become a self-promoting salesperson.  You can expect to spend money rather than earning it for quite some time.  If you aren’t prepared to do all of these things,  don’t do it.

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    #241844

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    @aayanbule @Mike-Carnell  I was a bit remiss in my initial comment.  While CMMI appraisal and QA performed according the Capability Maturity Model are very audit-like they are also very different.  The goal is process improvement rather than strict compliance with policies, procedures, and standards.  As an appraiser, if we find that an organization has an alternate practice that achieves the goals, that may be a good thing.  We might even champion revising the model.  For instance, CMMI was extensively modified to include agile methods, which many IT organizations were using with great success.  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.  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.  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.  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.  Auditors do serve a useful function.  But strict auditing tends to suppress innovation – Stop doing that!  You aren’t following the rules.  Fortunately in my audit-like positions it wasn’t strict audit.  CMMI and QA (as defined in CMMI)  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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    #241316

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    Audit can be a good starting point.  You do evidentiary studies to find what isn’t being done the way it’s supposed to be done.  That’s a large part of what we do in continuous improvement and it’s a skill that some people find difficult.  My path from project manager to LSS consultant included IT quality assurance and CMMI appraiser, both of which are essentially auditing.  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.  Assigning blame is a sure way to make yourself unwelcome, whether you’re an auditor or a continuous improvement leader.  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.  Some people just do it and develop a reputation with management and colleagues.  Of course that would conflict with audit  so you probably can’t go there in your current job.  To make the career change you’re going to need certification to impress HR and hiring managers.  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.  You might get in touch with them.  You can find out about local sections from their website.  As a long-time senior member I can tell you that ASQ is great for networking, advice, training, and certification.  My section welcomes  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.  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.  I think that was a good use.  But what if it was out of control but within spec?  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.  You can also find on-line sample size calculators.  Not trying to be snarky.  It’s just that you said your best “estimate” is 638 pieces and that doesn’t sound like you’ve done the math.  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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    #240642

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    @Mike-Carnell  A good CEO relies on experts.  And has the wisdom and vision to champion.  To get back to the original post, as an intern you are not a recognized expert.  You will not overcome resistance.  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.  When I was with AlliedSignal Larry Bossidy bought in to SS big time, to the point of saying that everything we do is SS.  We made progress, although there was valid criticism that it couldn’t always be seen on the bottom line.  Then we bought/merged with Honeywell.  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.  He did.

    But to get back to the original question.  People tend to resist change unless things are really bad.  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”.  Management won’t say that unless it comes from the top down.  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.  If you don’t have executive support from the start, start small.  Get a line manager to let you try.  Find a problem that you can improve without a major investment in time or money.  Show results and work upwards.  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.  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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    #240244

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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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