Finding Your Competitive Advantage

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With any business, it is important to be able to separate yourself from the competition to gain an advantage. This can be anything from running your operations with greater efficiency to being able to differentiate the attributes of your product from those of your rivals. Having a competitive advantage and being able to maintain it […]

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An Affinity for Scope

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Mike was a newly hired Black Belt (BB) at a roofing shingle manufacturing plant who was going through Six Sigma training. Tim, the general manager of the plant where Mike worked, brought Mike into his office and explained that Mike’s Master Black Belt was on the speaker phone. The Master Black Belt, Robert, shared with […]

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Project Selection That Benefits the Entire Business

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To be competitive, organizations need continuous improvement efforts working internally and throughout their supply chains. How can this type of system be created so that it is both immediately beneficial and able to maintain its integrity through inevitable leadership and organizational changes? It is critically important to develop a clear mechanism for selecting improvement projects […]

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Theory of Constraints Helps Set Project Priorities

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In another article published by iSixSigma, I proposed that implementing an integrated approach of Lean Six Sigma and theory of constraints (TOC) can lead to greater success for an organization than the use of an independent Lean Six Sigma approach. Since that article was published, I have received multiple queries about how to apply this […]

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Linking OpEx with Your Project Management Office

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A quality leader at a financial institution is deploying an Operational Excellence program across his organization that already has a project management office (PMO) in place. Recently he asked iSixSigma’s Discussion Forum about the pros and cons of using a PMO to manage project selection. Readers responded with very pro-PMO advice about how these structures […]

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Not Everything Needs DMAIC

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After coaching Lean Six Sigma for the last 12 years, it is still surprising to see how many projects get cancelled because they are not considered “valid.” Practitioners and managers must remember that this methodology is designed for making process improvements. If leadership cannot identify a broken process, more work by the project sponsor is […]

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Holding Black Belts Accountable for Positive Project Results

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As a Black Belt, I know it is easy to fall into the trap of working only on projects that cut costs. I also know that this type of “accounting” is a slippery slope that can cloud essential business goals by creating unfounded visions of savings. Don’t get me wrong – cutting expenses is important. […]

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Embedding Belts in Business Functions Can Help Maintain Project Benefits

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A dilemma many organizations face while implementing Six Sigma is the selection of a deployment model. Many practitioners feel that they must choose between a central team running projects to attack pain areas or a dedicated team of Black Belts who are attached to each function and support the leadership in improving performance. While there […]

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An Accelerated Project Approach Can Build Support for Six Sigma

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For many middle and senior managers who are considering business improvement initiatives, the thought of committing resources to a three- or four-month Six Sigma project can be a daunting. Many managers feel they are already working “flat out” and don’t have the people to spare. Others understand the reality that projects can sometimes stretch out […]

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Why Choose Six Sigma Over Kaizen?

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Message: 8897 Posted by: Carlos Castillo Posted on: Tuesday, 29th January 2002 What are the benefits of choosing 6sigma over Kaizen, 6 sigma seems a great deal more expensive and more bureucratic. I have obtained great gains from Kiazen with minimal investment. Message: 8899 Posted by: mn Posted on: Tuesday, 29th January 2002 ——————————————————————————– I […]

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Six Sigma Versus Lean

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Message: 16306 Posted by: Eric Posted on: Thursday, 25th July 2002 My company is actively deploying Lean Mfg principles. To this point, we have not been heavily involved with Six Sigma. Although recently our Customers have heightened our awareness of Six Sigma by asking/ requiring us to participate in their Six Sigma efforts – including […]

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Ask Dr. Mikel Harry: How Can Six Sigma Be Applied to Human Resources?

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Dr. Mikel Harry answers the question, “How can Six Sigma be applied to the Human Resources (HR) function?” Listed are some simple examples for Human Resource projects: 1) Employee turnover rate. 2) Job satisfaction issues (surveys). 3) Management satisfaction. 4) Cafeteria food quality. 5) Policy deployment. 6) New hire process quality and cycle time. 7) […]

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Project Selection Options

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Six Sigma is accomplished one project at a time. The billions of dollars saved by companies around the world is the cumulative effect of properly selecting and defining business issues that can be assigned to Green Belts and Black Belts for solution. As you may have read last week, a strategic plan includes planning, adequate […]

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Managing Your Software Project Scope Without Creep

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Have you ever managed a project that just will not end? For those projects that never seem to finish, a common cause is cited. It is not necessarily inexperience of personnel or a flawed technology, rather allowing requirements to pass in and out of the revolving door of project scope. Below are a few simple […]

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Six Sigma Software Development Case Study

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This article illustrates the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process using an organization that develops software packages as an example. The Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process improvement provides a powerful mechanism for improving the software process. Typical benefits will exceed costs within 6 to 12 months from initiation of a Six […]

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Develop Correct Six Sigma Project Metrics

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One of the crucial elements of the project charter in the define phase of a Six Sigma project is the selection of project metrics. Project metrics selected should reflect the voice of the customer (customer needs), as well as ensure that the internal metrics selected by the organization are achieved. Metrics selected should be simple […]

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Is This a Six Sigma, Lean or Kaizen Project?

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This is a familiar question that is often addressed by organizations. In fact, it is the wrong question. These concepts are nothing more than tools in your management toolbox. You don’t fix a watch with a hammer, and you get the same results when you deploy Six Sigma, Lean and Kaizen incorrectly. The fact is, […]

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Design For Six Sigma (DFSS) Versus DMAIC

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One of the most confusing issues associated with someone saying “I’m using Six Sigma” has to do with what methodology they are actually using. A majority of the time they are using the DMAIC methodology, because they have existing processes that are wasting resources (hence the big savings you’ve heard about at GE, Honeywell and […]

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How to Select a Quality Improvement Project

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You have identified a process improvement area within your business or department. It is easy to figure out what comes next – just fill out a team charter, select the team and team leader, form the team and get out of the way, right? Well, sort of… Why Select Projects? Selecting the right project can […]

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Six Sigma Q&A

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Learning the Six Sigma methodology can be confusing. Even if you know the Six Sigma methodology, questions arise from co-workers or in daily activities and answers may not be readily available. To help with this problem, iSixSigma has compiled a list of questions that have been posed on the discussion forum. Below are the five […]

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Finding and Selecting Good Six Sigma Projects

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Obvious Areas For Improvement External Defects Anything you have recently been audited or formally rejected for Anything you haven’t been audited or rejected for, but you know is out of specification or not meeting regulations Anything you inspect and/or contain to protect the customer Anything you cover for by having a guy in the customer’s […]

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5 Six Sigma Deployment Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

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A well planned Six Sigma deployment can lead to a rewarding experience and immense benefits for an organization. On the flip side, however, a flawed deployment may lead to disappointing results – the failure of the entire deployment effort, and/or a significant waste of time and resources. There are five problems in Six Sigma deployments, […]

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Use Point System for Better Six Sigma Project Selection

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One common problem many companies run into when starting Six Sigma and Lean efforts is what projects to choose. If they choose unwisely, the whole effort can be stalled or abandoned because the results may not be impressive enough to gain momentum for the cause. New practitioners should be wary of an initial project that […]

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Project Selection in a Critical Software Environment

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Careful project selection is critical to the success of a Six Sigma initiative. The best selected projects are the ones with the greatest business impact, the least effort required and the highest probability of success. Good problem statements and objectives clearly communicate the scope, significance, and goals of a project. Primary and secondary metrics will […]

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