iSixSigma

Case Study: Using Six Sigma in a Non-Six Sigma Culture

Anyone who has worked in manufacturing has probably experienced some level of finger-pointing when shipments fall short of expectations. Though there could be multiple reasons for a missed customer delivery, somehow it is always the other department’s fault. In extreme circumstances, several months of missing targets without effectively defining the root causes and addressing them…

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Measurement System Redesign and Innovative Data Management

A multinational paper company wanted to reduce its cost of poor quality. The company recognized an opportunity to use Six Sigma concepts to minimize variability in its processes. Senior management was excited about the idea of applying design of experiments (DOE) to uncover the mathematical relationships among the input and output variables. For them, the…

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Real-time Feedback Changes the Game

Efficiency is in everyone’s interest. However, achieving it is heavily dependent on the quality and timeliness of crucial performance data. Live, real-time information is crucial for any manufacturing business. Waste benefits nobody, whether it is a waste of materials, time or energy. … One of the things that I have learned in manufacturing is that the…

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VOC: Comparing Reactive Data and Proactive Data

Collecting data – be it voice of the customer or otherwise – requires a plan. Details of the plan should include what data to collect, how to get the information, where the information will come from and so on. Before any of these details are defined, however, the first step is to identify what a…

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Gemba Walks Come to Life at Fairbanks Morse Engine

Editor’s note: In a previous article, author Lindquist describes what a gemba walk is. Here he presents three examples of gemba walks. Gemba walks at Fairbanks Morse Engine demonstrate the importance of the sometimes-overlooked basics of process improvement. Case Study One Single Process – Pama Machining Center Observation: The objective of a series of events…

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The Many Sides of a Gemba Walk

Editor’s note: A follow-up article features three specific examples of gemba walks. With so many tools available to a continuous improvement professional, it is easy to get overwhelmed and consequently focus on a narrow grouping of tools. Experience expands the practitioner’s toolbox, but sometimes it is just as important to return to the foundations to…

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Help with a Future iSixSigma Article on Gage R&R

Hello iSixSigma readers! We are working on an article about gage R&R and need your help with data collection for analysis. What we need: Raw data itself (either 5-part or 10-part analyses including operators, parts, trials and measurements) The tolerance spread Is this one- or two-sided tolerance What we would like: Gage family information (e.g.,…

Mind Mapping: A Simpler Way to Capture Information

Hospitals and health plans know that the high cost of care is squeezing the U.S. economy. That’s why so many of them are using Lean Six Sigma to control spending by refining internal processes – while still satisfying customers in a highly competitive market. A major health care consortium based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area…

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Digging for Data: Insurance Companies Strive to Improve

Based on experience with property and casualty insurers (P&C), one of the biggest profitability drivers is the expense incurred staffing and settling claims. Many P&C insurers struggle with timely and efficient claims processing. In working with P&C companies consulting groups found three common challenges that project teams must address to improve the overall claims settlement…

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Building a Sound Data Collection Plan

Black Belts and Six Sigma practitioners who are leading DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) projects should develop a sound data collection plan in order to gather data in the measurement phase. There are several crucial steps that need to be addressed to ensure that the data collection process and measurement systems are stable and…

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Enlist Process Owners to Survive an Absence of Data

The beauty of Six Sigma, over other decision-making strategies is that it is, by nature, data driven – it involves making decisions backed by evidence. In the absence of data, then, what good is Six Sigma? A Black Belt without data is like a navigator without a compass; finding north becomes complicated, but not impossible….

Improving Staff Scheduling at Providence Health System

As with most hospitals, labor is the largest budget expense at the Providence Alaska Medical Center (PAMC) in Anchorage. But benchmarking indicated that staff utilization at PAMC, a part of the Providence Health System, was above the 75th percentile of the national average. To remedy this, in October 2003, a multidisciplinary team (nursing, leadership, finance…

Data Management Plans Can Improve Collection/Validation

Companion Article This is one of two articles by David Wetzel that explore the value of developing a data management plan as the intial step in the Measure phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology. The other article is “Data Management Plans Can Reduce Project Cycle Time.” Understanding data and defining process paramaters (input) or…

Using Lean Six Sigma Measurement Tools in Maintenance

Lean Six Sigma is widely used in production, but it is just now breaking the surface in maintenance functions. Driving change in maintenance operations is a difficult task. Most maintenance personnel are taught on the job or learn their own techniques during the course of several years. Their experience in breakdown situations, which require them…

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Help for Project Leaders: ‘Advanced Data Door Worksheet’

Difficulties can arise in any phase of a Lean Six Sigma process improvement project, but one issue often shows up early in projects using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) model. When Black Belts or Green Belts charged with running an improvement project reach the Measure phase, they are confronted with the question: What…

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Fast Start Collecting Data on Financial Service Process

In any financial service process that is being studied for the first time, it is common for Six Sigma teams to spend one-third to one-half of their project time on data collection alone. It simply takes a lot of time to figure out what data is needed, to develop a reliable data collection process and…