Competently Use Capability Analysis

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The capability of a process, statistically speaking, is the ability of that process – based on historical performance – to achieve measurable results that satisfy established specifications and statistical limits. In a nutshell, process capability indicates how well a process is able to perform its specified purpose. Why is process capability important? When the capability […]

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How to Explain and Understand Process Capability

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Have you tried to explain the concept of process capability to someone who then looks at you like you have two heads? Try using the following analogy to explain the subject more easily. Driving in a Construction Area Imagine you are driving on a highway that is undergoing construction. The width of your vehicle – […]

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Getting the Most out of a Capability Analysis

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The process capability indices Pp and Cp describe how closely a process can operate within its specification limits. Many articles describe the difference between Pp and Cp simply: one is short term, one is long term. Moving beyond such a description, this article focuses on the untapped power of capability analysis and shows you how […]

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A Case of Mistaken Capability

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Lean Six Sigma (LSS) teams focus on the statistical analysis of metrics when identifying opportunities for improvement. The strong focus on data-driven evaluation, however, can overshadow the human element that exists behind the data collection plan. Despite its importance, the impact of human interaction is not easily visible or quantified, buried under reams of data. […]

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The Douglass Index Can Keep Good Data from Going to Waste

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In statistical process control, diligent technicians and auditors conduct detailed work to gather data for quality engineers, who then crunch the data into capability studies. Typically, the repeatability and reproducibility (R&R) rates for the data are first determined for the gauges used in the capability studies. The R&R studies are completed first to establish the […]

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CPI Award-winning Device Ensures Hellfire Missile Capability

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A new on-board missile health-monitoring device is providing troops in the Middle East an added measure of assurance that the Army’s Hellfire II missiles will perform without failure. According to a news release from Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, this marks the Army’s first-ever deployment of missiles that features a device to constantly monitor the weapon’s […]

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Capability and Performance

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In my process engineering experience I have found a good number of people confused about the important process measure indices of capability and performance. The capability index is useful for measuring: Continual improvement using trends over time, or For prioritizing the order in which process will be improved, and For determining whether or not a […]

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50 Percent Sampling

50 Percent Sampling Savings with Sequential Test Method

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Using Wald’s sequential test method for process capability decisions can result in 50 percent sampling savings. Sequential testing can also be automated, enhanced and extended to the binomial, Poisson and reliability test areas.

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Six Sigma Trends: Upgrade for Supply Chains and Solution Providers

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This is my second article from my series reflecting research on strategies and trends in deploying Six Sigma. Our research is performed not in an academic lab but with direct application in companies through advanced team-training concepts and relevant project coaching. Although subjects vary, the structure of my articles will remain similar starting with What […]

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Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) – What is the Difference?

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In the Six Sigma quality methodology, process performance is reported to the organization as a sigma level. The higher the sigma level, the better the process is performing. Another way to report process capability and process performance is through the statistical measurements of Cp, Cpk, Pp, and Ppk. This article will present definitions, interpretations and […]

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Process, Product and People: 3P Approach to Quality

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Quality management should be a holistic approach. Process, product and people are the three key elements of a company’s quality system and all of them need to be focused on for an overall improvement in performance. Process Process audits and statistical process control are two important tools that practitioners can use for process monitoring. Audits […]

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How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Measuring Performance

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In manufacturing, key quality indices – performance capability index (Cpk), defects per million opportunities (DPMO) and first pass yield (FPY) – are prevalent criteria for gauging the performance of products and processes. These indices however, often are interpreted wrongly and used without taking into account the conditions of application. Moreover, alternative indices such as rolled […]

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Resolving Common Issues with Performance Indices

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Measurements affect behavior. Wrong behavior results when metrics are confusing or do not represent what is truly happening. Leaders of many respected companies are paying the price for creating an environment in which measurements did not reflect accurately what was occurring in their organization. In contrast, the wise selection of metrics and their tracking within […]

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Cp, Cpk, Pp and Ppk: Know How and When to Use Them

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For many years industries have used Cp, Cpk, Pp and Ppk as statistical measures of process quality capability. Some segments in manufacturing have specified minimal requirements for these parameters, even for some of their key documents, such as advanced product quality planning and ISO/TS-16949. Six Sigma, however, suggests a different evaluation of process capability by […]

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Six Sigma Encourages Improvement Within CMMI Framework

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Six Sigma is a powerful improvement program that started in manufacturing but has subsequently proven to be useful in a multitude of industries, including software development. But many of the assumptions and approaches of using Six Sigma in traditional industries may not be relevant in information technology (IT) and software development. Traditional Six Sigma program […]

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Applying Six Sigma to Software Implementation Projects

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Although the application of Six Sigma in software development is more frequently discussed, the methodology also can be applied to software implementation projects as well. Those familiar with software implementations know that they seldom go as planned. Delays are common, cost overruns are endemic and failures are frequent. Why is this so common? What can […]

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Creating a Fresh View of Six Sigma Data and Tools

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Six Sigma DMAIC and DFSS roadmaps provide the guidance needed for using facts and data to understand problems, opportunities and solutions to get results in a wide variety of project settings. For the routine cases, they give practitioners what they need. There are some situations, though, that can benefit from a broader view of Six […]

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Process Capability Calculations with Non-Normal Data

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During a Six Sigma project, the defect rate of the business process is calculated twice, first during the Define phase to show the impact of the problem and again during the Control phase to show how the process has improved. Although effective analysis of data that is not distributed normally is possible, completing one of […]

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Connecting Six Sigma to CMMI Measurement and Analysis

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Measurement and analysis (MA) is a Level 2 support process area within the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) process. The purpose of MA is to provide management information necessary to implement monitoring and control of various required processes. Source: Ahern, Clouse and Turner, CMMI Distilled: A Practical Introduction to Integrated Process Improvement, second edition, Addison […]

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Process Entitlement Analysis: Using This Novel Approach

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When a Six Sigma project is unsuccessful, a common cause of the failure is a poor project selection process. Compounding the problem of project failure, incorrect and inappropriate projects transmit a negative message to the organization about Six Sigma and can lead to the impression that the methodology is not applicable to all types of […]

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Understanding Statistical Distributions for Six Sigma

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Many consultants remember the hypothesis testing roadmap, which was a great template for deciding what type of test to perform. However, think about the type of data one gets. What if there is only summarized data? How can that data be used to make conclusions? Having the raw data is the best case scenario, but […]

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Enabling Technology Adoption by Using Six Sigma

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A survey sponsored by the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) finds that Six Sigma is feasible as an enabler of the adoption of software, systems and IT improvement models and practices.

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A Six Sigma Case Study – Tutorial for IT Call Center – Part 4 of 6

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This combination “case study and tutorial” tracks the inception of a Six Sigma DMAIC project by an IT support business. The project is aimed at helping the company become more competitive and profitable. Each part follows the project team as it works through another stage of the DMAIC methodology. Click to read the rest of […]

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Calculating Process Efficiency in Transactional Projects

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The principles of Lean manufacturing are applicable to any business process. This article reviews some of the common problems seen in transactional projects and outlines an example where simple graphical methods are used to interpret cycle time data. Identifying and characterizing the non-Lean processes facilitates the application of 5S, brainstorming and other improvement tools with […]

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