How to Create a Successful FMEA Program

Imagine a team has performed a couple of failure mode and effects analyses (FMEAs) and the outcomes have been positive. In fact, the results have been so successful that the company wants to expand use of the technique enterprise-wide. How can this best be done? This article breaks this expansion process into two stages: 1)…

Supplement FMEA with a Risk Priority Matrix for Better Results

Within the world of risk management – a common aspect of improvement projects – there is a distinction between response and mitigation. A response is taken in reaction to risk, while mitigation is undertaken proactively. Thus, responses are implemented once risk materializes, and mitigation actions must be planned and implemented before a risk presents itself….


Install the Four Pillars of a Quality Organization to Create Better Products

A company’s profitability is mostly affected by three factors: the ability to produce quality products consistently, the efficiency with which products are produced and the ability to sell the products. Total quality control has a vigorous impact on each of these factors, and, therefore, profitability. Through careful analysis of customer wants and needs, a company…

Design For Six Sigma Roadmap

In the 21st century, new technologies will be developed and improved and will eventually be obsolete for the need of more advanced technologies. In this dynamically changing world, product cycles are expected to last for just a few months. To meet these demanding requirements product developers have to develop products in the shortest amount of…


Use a Modified FMEA to Mitigate Project Risks

Every project faces a number of elements that risk its success. For instance, a lack of team-member availability, qualified resources, customer information, data, proven technologies, a clear scope – or deficiencies in a number of these areas – represents a risk. To prevent risks like these from happening, or at least to be prepared when…


Improved IT Project Forecasting Through Six Sigma

The various costs of an information technology (IT) project is forecast at the beginning of the fiscal year and usually re-forecast at the end of each month based on the actual spending pattern. Variation in the IT project forecasting process can result in either underspent or overspent budgets. As is true in most processes, variation…


Minimize the Risk of the Unknown in Six Sigma Projects

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” That phrase has been taught in Black Belt training for many years, and it continues to be relevant today. When combined with a related phrase, “What you don’t know can hurt you,” these words illustrate a common challenge: Sometimes, the events that hurt us are unknown and unexpected….

Work-out as a Problem-Solving Tool for Healthcare

Healthcare organizations face tremendous challenges in addressing efficiency, cost, quality, staffing shortages and mounting pressure to raise salaries. To bolster lagging morale and improve retention rates, management must empower staff and effectively leverage existing resources. Tools and techniques that support these imperatives are critical to the success of modern healthcare organizations. Many problems in healthcare…

Using Taguchi’s Loss Function to Estimate Project Benefits

Financial assessment of process improvement activities is the cornerstone to project selection and to benefit evaluation. Representatives from finance organizations, charged with such a task, may be confronted with assessing a large number of projects out of many different areas within their company. For a detailed benefit assessment, often the mechanics of the process in…


Process Maps and FMEA Help Prepare Utility for Disaster

The Six Sigma methodology contains many tools that can be used successfully throughout an organization to improve processes and prevent failures, regardless of whether the full DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) roadmap is used. Demonstrating the efficacy of these tools for preventing or solving real business problems is a powerful way to market Six…

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FMEA: Tool for Process Documentation and Discovery

While the name of the failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) concentrates on how a process fails, the real objective is to concentrate on assessing the effects and process controls for the root causes related to any given failure mode. Practitioners examine the root cause-failure-effect sequence by starting in the middle and working outward. During…

Start with Leaner Tools to Ease Non-Belts into Six Sigma

Six Sigma offers a variety of powerful tools that help organizations make data-driven decisions. Yet most people in an organization do not hold a degree in statistics and may feel that filling out endless data forms is pointless. When first starting a deployment, it is best to make things as easy and painless as possible…

Leverage ITIL and Six Sigma Together to Maximize Outcome

Information technology (IT) services are highly valued in today’s enterprise particularly those aligned with business needs. As IT departments transition from technology to service based management, more organizations are following the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. ITIL is a set of best practices intended to facilitate the delivery of high quality IT services. ITIL…

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Six Sigma Tools for Every Day Projects and Processes

During a Six Sigma symposium, speaker after speaker presented good information on Six Sigma concepts, tools and approaches to use when working on a Six Sigma project. If these Six Sigma tools, approaches templates, etc., are good for Six Sigma projects, why not use them in day-to-day software development and IT processes? Learning Objectives It…

Minimizing Risks: How to Apply FMEA in Services

It will probably come as little surprise that something called failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) evolved at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, an environment where the interest in preventing failures is extremely high. FMEA was later popularized by the automobile industry and in recent years has become more widespread among Six Sigma practitioners….


FMEA: Preventing a Failure Before Any Harm Is Done

FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis) is a proactive tool, technique and quality method that enables the identification and prevention of process or product errors before they occur. Within healthcare, the goal is to avoid adverse events that could potentially cause harm to patients, families, employees or others in the patient care setting. As a…

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