iSixSigma

w. g. miller

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  • #189976

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Don’t forget your ultimate customer will be kids:

    What age/sex group are you targeting with your toy?

    Why will someone in that age/sex group want your toy (as opposed to some other toy)?

    How much will people be willing to pay for your toy?

    Those three will help make the inital sale. You will also need to consider:

    What are the applicable toy safety requirements?

    How durable does this toy need to be?

    What sort of frustration factor can be tolerated (e.g.; “Assembly is required”).

    W. G. Miller

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    #188814

    w. g. miller
    Member

    The process sigma calculation sometimes contains a “process sigma shift” term, which is used to account for normal and expected variations in process output.  Here is a link that will explain it and let you see how it works:
    https://www.isixsigma.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1450:process-sigma-calculator-assumptions&Itemid=198
    Running the process sigma calculator in the advanced mode lets you have hours of fun by varying the sigma shift term.
    Be aware that the selection of the proper value for the sigma shift term is arbitrary and has been the subject of much discussion on this forum.
    W. G. Miller

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    #187266

    w. g. miller
    Member

    I’ll re-open this thread with a near-quote from my old company’s calculation procedure:
    “Calculations shall be in sufficient detail and sufficiently referenced to allow a knowledgable individual to verify the results.”
    Just what was sufficient detail and sufficient referencing was a function of which person was doing the checking, and therefore subjective quality attributes
    In the past, the attitude was “give the checker what he wants” on insufficient detail/insufficient reference comments, as these comments didn’t impact the calculation conclusions.  However, once the Six Sigma group started bean counting calculation “errors”, the calculation originators started pushing back on the insufficient detail/insufficient reference comments to avoid the stigma of “error” beans.  The results were mud fights and delays in getting calculations done.
    Has anybody run into a similar situation, and if so, what did they do about it?
     

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    #186697

    w. g. miller
    Member

    In a word: “don’t”
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #186496

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Without a right of entry clause, I can’t see this customer having a leg to stand on in a certification complaint.  They may force you to spend money to defend your certification, though, and strike you from their list of qualified suppliers.
    Here are some things to consider:
    1a) How important is this customer to you?  Certain customers just aren’t worth the hassle factor.
    1b) How important are you to this customer?  Can he walk away without hurting his own business?
    2) Call up the customer representative’s boss, explain the situation, and find out why the audit can’t be rescheduled.  Is this a “for cause” audit, or just something this customer does routinely?
    3) If the audit must go forward at the customer’s convienince, make sure this is considered the next time this customer requests you to bid on something.
    W. G. Miller 
     

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    #186380

    w. g. miller
    Member

    I did find a reference to “Diet Six Sigma”:
    blogs.isixsigma.com/…/six_sigma_diet_or_lifestyle_change.html
    As described in the blog, “Diet Six Sigma” is not a marketing gimmick.  To say much more would spoil the blog entry for everyone.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #185541

    w. g. miller
    Member

    I’ll add something to Mike’s comment:
    Are you looking for evidence a project was manipulated to “demonstrate” some predetermined conclusion?  I have a few examples:

    An error data collection project at my previous employer failed because the individual employees quickly learned how to manipulate the data collection process to make themselves look good and others look bad.
    About two years ago, somebody wrote the Isixsigma forum about being asked to do a project where the “savings” were to come from getting rid of a preselected individual.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #184969

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Darth was right to put emphasis on the word “correctly” in his post.  Unfortunately, there are more bad deployments out there than folks are willing to admit.
    Assuming you are contemplating a Six Sigma deployment, I highly recommend “Understanding Six Sigma Deployment Failures” by Mark Carnell (available on the Isixsigma.com website).
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #184195

    w. g. miller
    Member

    A1:  Better marketing.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #183745

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Now that you have had your fun dissing George Haley, you might want to explore why he thinks the way he does.  Could he be talking to people who have had to work under poorly executed Six Sigma programs?  Sadly, such failed programs exist – I was in a company with one, and it left such a bad impression that only years later am I willing to say Six Sigma principles can be gotten to work if the program is kept under careful control.  I saw what happens when a Six Sigma program is allowed to get out of control, and folks, it ain’t pretty.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #182895

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Job security may be only one piece of company culture puzzle, but from the point of view of a worker, it is by far the dominant piece.  Would you spend time on an improvement project designed to to make the Black Belts redundant at your company?
    W. G. Miller

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    #182149

    w. g. miller
    Member

    If you look at the Six Sigma poll on this website (https://www.isixsigma.com/sixsigma), you’ll find that the “Six Sigma is hype” votes are 1% behind the “Six Sigma is truth” votes (37.8% for “hype” and 38.8% for “truth”.  The rest of the votors picked “undecided”.
    My guess on the low “truth” percentage:  A lot of folks were subjected to badly implemented programs.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #179131

    w. g. miller
    Member

    You can use survey results to see if your suspicions about being underpaid are reasonable, but keep that information to yourself.  If you think you will get a larger salary increase by waving survey results in your management’s face, think again.  The more likely result is that you will be tagged a “whiner”.
    If you feel you are being shortchanged at your present company, my advice to you is to look for another position.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #173123

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Take a look at the article “Understanding Six Sigma Deployment Failures” by Mike Carnell and available on the Isixsigma website.  Then analyze your organization to see how likely they are to make the same mistakes.
    W. G. Miller

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    #171729

    w. g. miller
    Member

    I agree with Brandon and Chad:  with the possible exception of a Six Sigma consulting company, any outfit that uses Abasu’s goals doesn’t know what business it’s in.
    Chad brushed on another point that I would like to make more explicitly:  Abasu’s goals were an attempt to impose Six Sigma by direct order rather than selling its value to employees.  The result of the direct order approach will be a lot of employees who may go through the motions but won’t believe in the program.  That’s a good way to produce a failed Six Sigma implementation.
    W. G. Miller 
     
     

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    #171726

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Discussion time:
    What has the experience of the last 5 years shown us about Abasu’s recommendations?
    W. G. Miller

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    #171286

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Seriously, the problem that I have seen with your scenario is that sonner or later (usually sooner), some of the people doing the work figure out how to game (manipulate) your measurements to their advantage.  Those people then get rewarded for looking good.  The rest of the people quickly catch on, and learn to game your measurements.  The result?  You get a pile of gamed (therefore useless) data, and hate /discontent is spread in the organization.
    W. G. Miller

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    #170680

    w. g. miller
    Member

    HF et al,
    The middle managers did start skeptical of the Six Sigma program.  Unfortunately, the observable performance of the Six Sigma group did little to win the middle managers over.  The Six Sigma group’s work definitely lacked the quality they expected us workers to maintain.  Nevertheless, the Six Sigma group was (and is) a senior manager’s pet project, and so was given a free hand and became an untouchable empire.
    This is a good example of a program with lots of problems that are easily observable to an independent auditor.  Unfortunately, you may have been right in a previous post: if a senior manager will reject reports from his own organization that say a program isn’t working, there is no reason to believe he will accept the same information from an independent auditor (even if it is an outside firm).
    I fear this Six Sigma program is doomed to mediocre performance because it can’t acknowledge its own problems.  That mediocre performance is readily apparent to the middle managers, and fuels the skepticism they can only state in private.
    W. G. Miller

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    #170678

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Brandon et al:
    You assert that because middle managers didn’t really accept a Six Sigma program they were somehow defective.  In this case, I will claim the opposite:  the Senior Managers were so emotionally attached to their pet Six Sigma program that they refused to see the program flaws, much less do something about them.  Add to that a corporate culture that heavily penalized telling Senior Managers that something wasn’t working, and you got to where they are today: a Six Sigma program that is given lip service in public, and rejected in private.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #170646

    w. g. miller
    Member

    HF,Perhaps you are right – if the senior managers will only believe their Six Sigma deployment is a rousing success and will not believe and then punish anyone who says otherwise, then assessing deployment success is a waste of resources. Still,I think independently assessing Six Sigma deployment success should be done.W. G. Miller

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    #170644

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Should you audit anything (not just a Six Sigma program), the first thing have to do is make sure you are getting honest data.  I worked at a company where the managers were required to publicly praise Six Sigma at every opportunity.  Privately, these same managers told me the Six Sigma program was an unwelcome distraction whose claims of “success” were highly questionable, but they couldn’t tell that to the upper managers without grave career risk.
    In the case of Six Sigma, your program auditors should be independent of your company’s Six Sigma progam, and they should be able to tell their observations (good and bad) to the appropriate people without fear of consequences, even if they are giving a bad report to a senior manager with a personal interest in the program.
    W. G. Miller 

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    #170643

    w. g. miller
    Member

    If you follow this website’s straw poll on Six Sigma (http://www.sixsigma.com/sixsigma), you will have observed that the the pecentage of people who call Six Sigma “hype” has increased over the years, with the Six Sigma “truth” percentage declining.  “Truth” still holds a slight lead (0.3%) over “hype”, but a 38.3% “truth” percentage for Six Sigma hardly qualifies as indicating resounding success in the world at large.
    W. G. Miller
     
     

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    #170330

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Having briefly looked through the discussion forum for a definition of “Six Sigma Failure” and not finding one, I propose the following definition:
    A Six Sigma Failure is any work product that comes from a Six Sigma progam that fails to produce the expected results.
    The first condition is that the failed work product has to come from a Six Sigma program.  While I didn’t run through the entire thread, I didn’t see anything that tried to tie the Heathrow Airport problem to anything that was done by a Six Sigma group.  No Six Sigma involvement -> no Six Sigma failure.  Should a Six Sigma group been involved?  I’ll leave that for others to discuss.
    The second condition is that the Six Sigma work product fails to produce the expected results.  This can have a variety of causes; a few months ago I wrote about a Six Sigma work product that failed because inaccurate data was used for the analysis.  I’m sure you all can think of other failure examples with different causes.
    So, strictly applying my definition, I don’t know enough to say that the Heathrow incident was a Six Sigma failure.  That said, whenever an organization that trumpets its use of Six Sigma in all things suffers a failure, a Six Sigma failure is a possibility.  And if the Heathrow incident did arise because of something done by a Six Sigma program, then I would consider it a Six Sigma failure.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #169289

    w. g. miller
    Member

    In a word – salesmanship.
    W. G. Miller
     

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    #167164

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Here’s a “garbage in -> garbage out” tale for you all:
    A Black Belt investigated errors in engineering products, using places where people have questioned engineering products as his data source.  The Black Belt never bothered to find out how these questions were resolved, assuming instead the questions indicated engineering errors.  The Black Belt called a meeting of the engineers where he intended to discuss how to prevent such “errors” in the future.
    As it turned out, the questions on the engineering products had been resolved with the engineers declared correct long before the Black Belt started his project.   The engineers were not happy at having their work items being publicly brought up as “errors” when they were not errors at all.  At the meeting, they ripped into the Black Belt, making it quite apparent what they thought of the accuracy and thouroughness of his work.  Six Sigma credibility took a very public hit.
    W. G. Miller
    PS: I was one of the engineers at that meeting.
     
     

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    #166680

    w. g. miller
    Member

    I agree with Stan: in a few years, the term “Six Sigma” will be obsolete, and a Six Sigma Black Belt certificate and a dollar will get you a can of soda.
    What will survive is the concept that the gap between desired performance and actual performance can be narrowed by rational observation and analysis (in other words, we can learn from mistakes).  That concept predates Six Sigma, and will outlive it.
    Unfortunately, what won’t be learned is that you can’t take a single methodology and force-fit all problems to it by executive order.
    W. G. Miller

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    #163045

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Let’s say your data is sufficient to say “Supervisor XXXX drives good people out”.  Let’s go further and say you have documentation on a number of Supervisor XXXX’s misdeeds that drove good people out.  What are you going to do about it?
    The sad truth is that Supervisor XXXX probably has excellent political connections in the organization.  His backers in management would probably lose face if they had to do something about him.  You (the Black Belt) recognize the consequences to you of trying to do something about Supervisor XXXX, and you also know your chanches of winning that battle (essentially 0).  So, unless you have very high management backing and commitment or your Supervisor XXXX has done something illegal, you are in a no-win situation.
    That said, it is still better to tell upper management of your findings.  If enough departing people say Supervisor XXXX is a —-, generally the higher management will get the message. 
     
     

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    #163029

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Attrition is a good but challenging place for an HR Six Sigma project.  Good, because when someone elects to leave, money and time are lost recruiting and training a replacement.  The challenge is to get people to open up on why they leave.  A common reason for people to leave is that they decided to “fire” their boss, but people have also been trained not to burn bridges and so they won’t tell you what the problems with the boss were.
    Good luck.
     

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    #162314

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Seriously, folks, I was told in college that a lot of the basics for statistical quality control (e.g.; “Student’s T”) were developed by a W. Gossett for Guinness.  This was back in the 1830s, when the fermentation process was not understood.  Once Pastuer did his fermentation work, the way was clear for brewers to make consistent products.
    These days, all big and most small brewers are good at making a consistent product.  Whether these products are consistently good or consistently bad is a matter of taste and beyond the scope of this post.
     

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    #160844

    w. g. miller
    Member

    Robin,
    The only cartoons I know concerning Six Sigma are Dilberts.  None of them cast Six Sigma in a favorable light.
    You will probably get a question like “We’ve tried this sort of thing before and it didn’t work.  Why will Six Sigma work while previous programs have failed?”
    Look at your firm’s previous quality programs.  Find out why these programs didn’t produce the expected results.  Then show how Six Sigma will handle the problems that doomed previous efforts.  I’d summarize the results in a table and include it in your presentation.
    You might want to look at Mike Carnell’s article “Understanding Six Sigma Deployment Failures” (google “Six Sigma Deployment Failures”; I think it’s the first hit).  Go through the failure mechanisims and know how you will address them.
    W. G. Miller
     
     

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