Teams often work with "hard" data – discrete data that can be counted and legitimately expressed as ratios. But what about "soft" data, like opinions, attitudes and satisfaction?
While a DFSS project can fail for many reasons, successful project execution often depends on adequate and timely management of human resources.
A healthcare provider used Six Sigma to see if evidence-based medicine could promote a more standardized formulary.
Behind every effective scorecard implementation, there is a commitment from leadership and there is buy-in from organizational business units and individuals.
In a low-volume, high-mix situation, an entire production run can be fewer parts than are required to start a standard control chart. Standard SPC methods can be modified to work with small runs.
Irrespective of the quality program they use, many companies in India have found limitations in some of the quality improvement tools they use while also discovering the advantages of using simulation modeling and analysis.
Leaner versions of FMEA, analytic hierarchy process and quality function deployment tools can be used to ease process owners into Six Sigma.
This list of tips, tools and suggestions for Six Sigma practitioners can help avoid many pitfalls of project management.
The best of iSixSigma 2016 features the highlights of this year’s content – as determined by our readers.
The sigma level of a process indicates how many standard deviations fit within the upper and lower specification limits. This article describes how to calculate process sigma level, its relationship to defect rate, and what the long-term mean shift is.
Whether implementing Six Sigma in Munich or Manhattan, Paris or Prague, there are certain common factors that are critical for success.
Follow these six steps to successfully launch – and maintain – a continuous improvement program.
Nine practical steps that focus on facts and data can provide a roadmap for business leaders at all levels on how to use Six Sigma to drive strategy implementation.
Learn two of the common mistakes made during measurement system analysis and how to avoid them.
In simulations, verification and validation are not interchangeable. Verification confirms that a model is doing what the modeler intended it to do when it was created, while the validation process helps a modeler be certain the correct model was built. Neglect one or the other at the risk of misguided results.
There are some simple steps Belts can take to reinvigorate a wilting deployment in less than a year.
Permutations are for lists (where order matters) and combinations are for groups (where order doesn’t matter). In other words: A permutation is an ordered combination.
The complementary nature of process improvement methodologies gives the practitioner an enhanced ability to solve many different problem sets.
This article identifies the specific role and tasks of a healthcare Master Black Belt, as well as the required skills, desires and behaviors.
This is an example of an implementation of 5S that reduced the time to generate a report from three hours to ten minutes.
A diversified manufacturing company looking to increase production volume got to the root cause of its low rate of converting proposals to orders – high prices. With a price decrease of 15 percent, the win rate nearly doubled and revenue increased 79 percent.
By combining the beta distribution, or three-point estimation technique, with basic statistics, Belts can get a better estimate of the time required to complete projects.
It is cheaper to scrap production inside the facility than to be charged for a complete assembly found defective by the customer. Use discriminant analysis to separate those units that are likely to fail as soon as they come off the production line.
Using the analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedure for a Six Sigma project requires assessing results from an ANOVA table, which is not always straightforward. There is an easy way for practitioners to understand the ANOVA procedure.
A collection agency was able not only to retain a complaining client's business thanks to a Lean Six Sigma project, but also to use the capability improvements it gained from the project as a selling point with both current and prospective clients.
Six Sigma has tools that promote good decision making, which leads to performance improvements that reduce rework and drive benefits to the bottom line faster.
Executives who develop a working knowledge of Six Sigma, Lean and Kaizen are much better prepared to build the right infrastructure and lead their organizations to both financial and human success.
When top-down support is not available, mid-level executives who know the power of Six Sigma must take deployment into their own hands. With the right approach, training and leadership, middle-out adoption is possible.
By completing a Lean assessment in tandem with capacity modeling, an organization can optimize its staff and avoid gaps or surpluses.
In association with the launch of a new drug, DFSS was used to develop a new pharmacovigilance system to capture and analyze observed drug side effects.
"Customer winback," a common business marketing/sales program aimed at winning back disgruntled customers and then retaining them, is a process that begs for the adoption of Six Sigma practices and techniques.
Most descriptions of equipment and/or process lifetimes assume that failure rates follow a three-period curve pattern where failures/errors decrease during the improvement period, remain relatively constant and at their lowest levels during the normal operating period, and increase during the wearout period.
To be a successful vendor manager, a company must select the right vendor. The house of quality can help make the right choice.
Which is more important in a Six Sigma deployment –- training or benefits? Six Sigma training, which leads to certifications, is a means to an end. Certifications are the Xs, or the causes, and benefits are the big Y, or the effect.
With the demand for surgical services growing, especially with ambulatory and cosmetic procedures, hospitals continue learning that Six Sigma is a useful tool.
A bank saves resources by evaluating the feasibility of an idea early on, using Design for Lean Six Sigma (DFLSS).
DOE, known in marketing as conjoint analysis, is a powerful statistical technique for seeing connections between a customer's decision-making process and a product or service.
To be effective, Black Belts must be able not only to use Six Sigma tools effectively, but also to motivate the right people at the right time in the right way.
In an effort to reduce its environmental footprint, P&R IM implemented an electronics stewardship plan with Lean Six Sigma's DMAIC methodology.
Practitioners can assess the accuracy of forecasts using control charting and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Screening a corporation's forecasts with these two tools will reveal the evolution of forecast bias and consistency over time.
By analyzing and learning from previous efforts, an organization was able to fine-tune the methods used for training new employees.
An often-overlooked tool in the Lean Six Sigma toolbox, Gage R&R can be of immeasurable help in improving data reliability when improving transactional processes.
Cause-and-effect diagrams help identify factors (x's) that drive changes in the results variable (Y). But when that tool is not enough, causal loop diagrams can convey causal interconnections that better reflect the way things are.
Recognizing the inevitable ups and downs of completing a Six Sigma project will help a Black Belt move more quickly through the "valley of despair," leading to more projects closed on time and with the expected business results.
The project charter is the first step and one of the most important parts of any Six Sigma project. It should contain the 11 elements described here.
Lean is intuitive, flexible and can be executed quickly. As a result, almost any business or organizational process can benefit from the application of Lean. To gain a better understanding of the method, test its tools on an everyday process.
A 10-point checklist can be used for ongoing project evaluation at specific milestones as well as be part of a lessons-learned exercise after project completion.
With the help of Six Sigma, an outpatient imaging center identifies the root cause of slow report turnaround times and improves performance to a better-than-industry standard.
Two project scenarios demonstrate how Six Sigma can address common pain points in software implementation – defining customer requirements and making accurate estimates.
One way to make use of customer satisfaction survey data is through Kano analysis, a model for classifying customer responses. Here, an appliance company analyzes customer data related to dishwashers.
Adopting process improvement tools and providing employee training is only part of a winning strategy. Success also requires a combination of committed leadership, unbridled innovation and a comprehensive systems approach.
To meet customer expectations, a company should bring its testing processes under the DMAIC method of Six Sigma.
How tolerances are determined affect process or product performance, and thus DPMO. This article presents two methods for determining tolerance specifications.
What often gets lost in the excitement of deploying Lean manufacturing is the discipline involved in tying improvement activities to clearly defined and auditable financial results. Follow these 5 tips for better results.
It can be difficult to assess an overall sigma level because some critical processes are more important than others. One approach is to weight each of the critical processes when calculating overall sigma level.
Focus employee opinion on the benefits of Lean Six Sigma by highlighting process improvement successes through project storyboard displays.
When designing a safe healthcare environment, a proactive approach is far preferable to a reactive approach. FMEA can help eliminate concerns early in the development of a process by prospectively analyzing for potential failure points.
A VOC survey revealed that a company's telephone operator response was poor and customer satisfaction was low. The resulting improvement efforts show how a service process can be turned around using Six Sigma.
A pharmaceutical company applied selected DFSS tools to develop a new process for recruiting sales representatives using the IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize, Verify) roadmap.
How can a company properly plan and execute a strategy? Today's best model is Hoshin Kanri, also known as policy deployment, which helps align a company's resources to its most critical tasks.
As companies concentrate on design and outsource more of the order fulfillment process, including manufacturing, their quality image is dependent on supplier performance. When is the right time to involve suppliers in a quality improvement initiative?
A provider of medical equipment, such as EKG machines, used Six Sigma to better detect potential errors in the equipment and prevent them from occurring.
The analytical hierarchy process (AHP) allows for better prioritization by simplifying customer assessments and making their results more meaningfully measurable. It can also be used for gaining group consensus.
Work-out is powerful by design as it engages the best thinking of the those in the organization who are closest to the processes and who invariably have a lot of ideas for improvement. Learn the phases and roles in the Work-out framework.
Answering two fundamental questions can help an organization honestly assess its readiness for adopting a Lean Six Sigma culture.
To obtain the benefits of a corrective and preventive action system but without dedicating resources to a full deployment, pick up the SLACK.
Starting an implementation with a 5S event can show employees how Lean Six Sigma works, and what its use will mean for them.
A Black Belt used Six Sigma to improve a transactional bank deposit process, resulting in yearly savings of $4 million.
Product manufacturers are pushed to produce quality products without exceeding budget. A textile processing mill followed the DMAIC approach for more effective resource management and thus to reduce expenditures.
A financial evaluation method should be easy to communicate to the project teams that will use it and should provide plausible estimations for decision making. Taguchi's Loss Function fits the bill.
Although they are not part of the typical DMAIC approach, these tools can decrease the time needed to find solutions.
In this case study, a company measures the impact a Six Sigma program has had on the business after one year. After sub-optimal results, the company creates a Six Sigma project to improve its Six Sigma program.
Six Sigma can help the traditional workflow of diagnostic imaging keep pace with the science delivering better equipment and information systems.
The use of slogans such as "zero defects" to spur quality can be counterproductive, detracting attention from the tried-and-true tools and culture associated with successful Six Sigma programs.
A common challenge for an information technology department is how to prioritize projects for the biggest benefit. Follow these eight steps to build a criteria-based matrix that provides effective prioritization for any organization.
Six Sigma instructors tell their students add variances, not standard deviations. What students may not have learned is that this additive property relies on the linearity of the transfer function.
Much of the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology is concerned with finding differences. But often it ends up being more important to learn "does the difference really matter?" ANOVA is an hypothesis testing tool that can help answer that question.
Organizations considering Kaizen events must be ready to make a commitment to change management by properly preparing attendees for the goals of the event, executing the event smoothly and implementing solutions in a timely and effective manner.
The balanced scorecard enables an organization to maintain the perspective of various stakeholders while providing a complete assessment of organizational progress. It can help improve the performance in one area without harming another.
Linear regression is often considered difficult or confusing by those practitioners just beginning to delve into the Six Sigma toolkit. Making sense of it starts at a basic level.
Black Belts have a counseling resource that is often ignored or underutilized – the knowledge and experience of their peers. Formalize knowledge sharing with a structured approach to collegial problem solving.
Six Sigma is used effectively in manufacturing, service, financial and educational settings to improve processes and achieve time and cost benefits by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. With a little adaptation, Six Sigma can do the same for IT departments.
Using graphical tools, a refrigerator manufacturer analyzed supplier data to identify the best sources for parts. This case study illustrates how these simple yet powerful tools can be applied to any industry or process.
When it comes to Lean, the difference between success and failure is in cultural acceptance and the ability of an organization to accept change -- not just Lean change, but change in general.
Six Sigma projects often deal with experiments whose outcomes are ordered categorical data, rather than continuous. It is important to know the right analysis methods for these cases, such as Jeng and Guos weighted probability-scoring scheme (WPSS).
With a firm understanding of COPQ – both what it includes and what it does not – Belts can determine and justify projects, and gain buy-in for efforts based on financial findings.
Years of Six Sigma deployments have created a wealth of both success stories and lessons about process challenges -- learn to steer clear of others' mistakes.
A company in India implemented Lean Six Sigma to achieve dramatic improvements in its help desk operations.
Used in combination, the Kano survey and QFD tools provide companies with the ability to maximize customer satisfaction.
Two tools within the theory of constraints method -- bottleneck analysis and current reality tree -- can help identify the real pain ailing an organization and lead to the selection of relevant LSS improvement projects.
Using an accelerated approach, projects can take as little as one week to complete. This requires good planning, participation by the key stakeholders and a commitment to rapidly working through the DMAIC logic to make sustainable improvements to process performance.
Learn how best to introduce statistical process control in an existing production environment where not all processes are in control and fully capable.
A simple way for a company to assign and balance Six Sigma roles and responsibilities is to apply the RACI model, which identifies who in an improvement project is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed.
In order to increase throughput, operations managers must focus on identifying and improving process bottlenecks. The theory of constraints can help.
The accounts payable department of a healthcare system completed a Six Sigma project to address the high volume of invoices being processed and to develop a system for monitoring how well new processing-time standards are being met.
How confident can a company be that claims of Six Sigma benefits actually impacted the bottom line? BHP Billiton Base Metals found an answer through the involvement of the finance department in its deployment of Six Sigma.
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is a statistical technique for determining the existence of differences among several population means. Follow along step by step on this overview of ANOVA.
Hoshin kanri is a methodology to capture strategic goals and integrate these goals with your entire organization’s daily activities.