iSixSigma

Brainstorming

An Affinity for Scope

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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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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How to Revive Your Lean Six Sigma Deployment

The Six Sigma world is filled with stories reiterating the importance of leadership focus when implementing Lean Six Sigma. However, the continuous improvement landscape is also littered with examples of Lean Six Sigma programs that were implemented in full force to start with and then were slowly abandoned after they had spread to other departments…

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Effective Brainstorming: Building an Opportunity Matrix

Manufacturing facilities often are faced with major challenges when it comes to large-scale process improvement. Improving yields at a large manufacturing plant – one that produces millions of pounds of product annually – might require modifications for every step in its process: production equipment, maintenance strategies, operational procedures, process control strategies and analytical support strategies,…

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Getting the Bugs Out: VOC Analysis and Scenario Planning

Despite their best efforts to meet the expectations of their customers, companies can still struggle to retain their market share. One reason, as illustrated by the Kano model, is that product or service qualities that were once simply attractive can turn into must-be qualities. If companies do not keep up with new expectations, the result…

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Thinking Two Moves Ahead with Analytical Tools

Considering the performance of the stock market over the past few years combined with current economic conditions, many financial institutions are analyzing their processes for improvements. Unfortunately, the majority of process improvement tools available to Six Sigma practitioners – such as cause-and-effect diagrams, Pareto charts, histograms and scatter plots – have been used for analyzing…

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Brainstorming Rules

Effective brainstorming can be accomplished by following simple brainstorming do’s and don’ts with your team. A brainstorming session is a tool for generating as many ideas or solutions as possible to a problem or issue. It is not a tool for determining the best solution to a problem or issue. Before beginning any effective brainstorming…

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Medical Transcription Six Sigma Case Study

Today’s industrial black belt typically trains for six months. Seventy-five percent of this training time is spent learning theory, and the balance is spent in practice. Often when the black belt returns to the real world to tackle inefficiencies, he finds that there are no takers for his logic and passion – his Six Sigma entreaties fall on…

How Your Curiosity Can Keep the Wheels of Collaboration Turning

Of all the ‘how to’ questions my clients have posed this year, none have targeted the skill I most frequently recommend that people develop: being curious. I am an evangelist for curiosity because businesses become moribund without it. Roget’s Thesaurus defines the absence of curiosity as boredom, ennui, taking no interest, a minding one’s own…

Building Team Consensus

The Six Sigma quality methodology almost always requires a Black Belt or Green Belt to lead a team in solving a problem. When teams members interact – and no matter how well the Black or Green Belt can facilitate – opinions of the individual team members will inevitably differ and the team may end up deadlocked, compromising…

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Creativity and Six Sigma: Try Doing Some River-jumping

Innovation is vital to a company’s growth. Therefore it is sensible to establish a work environment that encourages people to be creative – a prerequisite to innovation. Introducing Six Sigma as a change initiative can help build that creative environment. But creating such a culture from scratch takes time. During the first years of a deployment,…

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Follow Brainstorming Basics to Generate New Ideas

Brainstorming is a popular method of group interaction in both educational and business settings. Although it does not appear to provide a measurable advantage in creative output, brainstorming is an enjoyable exercise that is typically well received by participants and that has proven its value many times over. In Six Sigma, brainstorming is usually most…

Six Sigma and Innovation: Natural Partners from the Start

Innovation has broad appeal. Businesses see it as a key to survival, and most individuals enjoy being creative – at work or anywhere. At first it might seem that the discipline called for in the workplace would take all the fun out of being creative. But actually, innovation coupled with Six Sigma discipline and data…

Reveal Assumptions and Find Root Causes with Webbing

Six Sigma practitioners looking to clarify or explore a task, find root causes of a problem or develop their strategic thinking skills may want to consider using webbing, a valuable exploration tool. Similar to the 5 Whys, this tool encourages practitioners to ask a web of questions about a task or process in order to…

Lean and Creative Six Sigma to Solve Real-life Issues

A strong possibility exists that some organizations using Six Sigma are failing to cash in on the true potential of the methodology. This can happen when proper care is not taken to understand what needs to be integrated with the Six Sigma methodology to make it effective, comprehensive and a focused approach to solve real-life…

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Teamwork and Creativity Help to Identify Root Causes

In problem-solving methodologies, identifying potential causes is a crucial step between process mapping and data collection and analysis. It involves the best available process knowledge, as well as creativity. Creativity and team management tools, more often employed for solution finding than for root cause finding, can generate deep understanding of the process mechanics and help…