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Criticism of Six Sigma

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Criticism of Six Sigma

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  • #29325

    Jonathan Breen
    Participant

    All of the material that I have been researching protrays the good side of this improvement process. I was wondering if there is any downside to implemntating such a strategy. Im sure there are critics who could answer this query for me.I llok forward to hearing from you ASAP.
    Regards
    J.Breen
    [email protected]

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    #74824

    Jack Welch
    Participant

    Boy, you don’t know the can of worms you opened up with that question.  Perhaps you should have read some of the other threads details first.
     

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    #74831

    Sambuddha
    Member

    Here are some–
    Criticism 1: It focuses MORE on individual processes and not so much on the value stream as a whole…..(comes often from Lean practitioners)
    Criticism 2: Expensive to implement…
    Criticism 3: Requires CHANGE
    Criticism 4: Assumes that management is doing the right things, at least strategically. (Remember IRIDIUM project)
    Criticism 5: It is a Wall Street eye-wash!
    There are so many I can think of…. I would not comment on their appropriateness, I agree on some and disagree on others. I am a firm believer in Continuous Improvement and Six Sigma…but as Jack Welch pointed out it will open a can of worms and I do not intend to take that responsibility at this time.
    Best,
    Sambuddha
     

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    #74836

    Ø6 Sigma BB Coordinator
    Participant

    You can find what you are looking for in 2 of these books :
    1. World Class Quality
    2. The Ultimate Six Sigma
    2 of these are writen by Kike Bhote. He point the shortcoming of Six Sigma in these books.
    Six Sigma Black Belt Coordinator

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    #74838

    Ex MBB
    Participant

    Jonathan,
    You really should segment the organization (including all stakeholders: suppliers, customers, and shareholders) when you want to explore any issues, concerns, &/or complaints.  Here are a few of the common issues within the organization… these are some of the comments that I have noticed over the years. 
    Management:

    Results are not what they were promised during the roll-out.  We were promised sustained, breakthrough results.  We do see some results, but…
    It takes too long to complete projects.  If we have a problem, why does it take 4 to 6 months to fix it?  We invested a lot of money and resources into this program
    It seems like I am training other people’s Belts.  Once we have trained the Belts and they achieve certification, they move on to other companies.
    Belt Community:

    Management support — these folks are not giving me the time or the resources to let me complete the projects to achieve the desired results in a reasonable amount of time.  They are also not too adroit in selecting projects: scope is either too unwieldy or the opportunity truly does not realize breakthrough improvement.
    Technical support — I have the PowerPoint slides, but what is the real difference between a Box-Behnken and central composite designs?  I only get to see my MBB once every 2 weeks, and it is a fleeting encounter.
    I receive my certification — so what?  What value does the organization place on my involvement is Six Sigma?  Do I have to go elsewhere once I am certified?  I really like the methodology — maybe another company is more actively involved in its use.
    The rest of the organization (mainly mid-level management):

    No perceived need for Six Sigma.  It appears to be another Quality initiative, and they want my top performers to sit through 2 to 4 weeks of training, and to dedicate 25 to 100% of their time on projects that we are already working on, or projects that have no impact to my function.
    Arrogance — these folks are calling themselves Black Belts and Master Black Belts.  Plus, they are telling me that all the past programs are now meaningless.  We should admit the defeat of TQM and now latch on to this resource consuming program.  Finally, when these folks do not see the results that they promised, they tell me that it is due to my lack of support.
    Complexity — these folks are using Greek letters.  They even need this complex software to generate these Greek letters.  And it takes too long.  And when they are done, their findings usually indicate that I am at fault.  So they give me this long procedure with blank charts that I have to have my people plot things on.
    Note the realtionships between the issues.  A lot of the Six Sigma literature captures these comments as pitfalls. 
    These pitfalls arise due to deployment &/or infrastructure issues.  Six Sigma is not a Field of Dreams: you cannot build it and they will come.  The entire organization needs to:

    Understand their business to capture the breakthrough opportunities as actionable gaps.  Breakthrough meaning that once you closed the gap, the organization will realize tangible value.  Actionable in that it does not take longer than 4 months to close the gap.
    Understand what they need to do (or not do) to timely close these gaps.  Also, what they have to do to continue to realize the brakthroughs.  This points to the infrastructure.
    Keep the Belts motivated and engaged in the business.  Ensure that Six Sigma falls within your organization’s succession planning.
    All of this takes work.  If this work seems unrealistic or unreasonable, and you deploy, your Belts will more than likely become anonymous authors in this forum, asking for advice and venting.
     
     

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    #74839

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    WOW!
    Ex MBB,
    You really cut to the heart of the matter!   You really provided us with a thoughtful and simple diagnosis of what many of us face daily.
    Thanks for emphasizing the roles/reponsibilities of the community.
    I particulary am saddened by what many of us see as the emasculation of true process improvement:   perception of a toolset as a “flavor of the month”.
    It’s a shame certain BB’s/MBB’s/Champs see SS as a zero sum.   I personally see it as a useful toolset/methodology that I can draw upon along with Lean/Agile, TQM, KAIZEN, etc…
    I view SS as if it was meant to enhance, not replace the initiatives of the past.   I call it, “The Chinese Food Approach”, or “Family Style”.   (Take what you like/what works and leave the rest on the table).
    Why is it that we, as a community seem to be the Root-Cause of the majority of our own problems?    We whine about not having support, all the while badmouthing our own quality initiative.
    Funny and sad…
    Thanks again,

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    #74843

    Rouge BB
    Member

    After reading this thread it seems that many other folks face the same kind of issues that I have faced. I agree with many (if not all ) of them. Mostly I would like to resate Ex MBB’s input. SS is not a replacement for the tools that many of us have in place (Kaizen, TQM, Lean, etc.) Is is a tool that can be used to enhance all of them. The main issues that I find with the SS strategy are:
    The organization must have the culture first. The foundation must be ready for such a program.
    BB’s are seprated from the organization rather than intergrated into it. (We give them a special title, new computers with fancy software, intense training, and pull them out of the day to day fight that the rest of the plant must face)
    The focus of SS is $. (at least in many organizations I have worked with) If you pick your projects correctly, use the methodlogy, apply the tools, the bottom line results will come. I cant tell you how many SS professionals I have spoken with that claim to be overloaded with the $ implications of there projects. I one case BB’s were evaluated by their ability to save the company 800k a year. Not solve problems, make customers happy, or increase capacity, but save money. Right program, Wrong focus.
    It seems to me that the main challange is to install the BB at part of a team to improve the operations of the organization. In the process, the BB teaches the tools and methodlogy, and everyone comes out ahead.

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    #75049

    Bronwyn Friday
    Participant

    As a past GE Black Belt and now a Risk Consultant using 6 Sigma to improve the management of risk in Australia, I have to agree with the opinions express here.  6 Sigma has some great tools but it isn’t the answer to all problems and it is hard work / expensive.
    Do remember 6 Sigma is a methodology on operation effectiveness and change management but it is not a strategic program.  Many company are using 6 Sigma as a strategy and then find that their rival companies are following them down the same path.  They end up in a hyper-competitive environment and watch their cost-saving get eaten up by price cutting.
    6 Sigma is a great tool to enhance a good strategic position but it is not the whole answer.
    Ex – GE BB

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    #75058

    Murray
    Participant

    Mr Coordinated BB,
    Get a clue. Mr Bhote does not know Six Sigma. He has never done it and he just repackages Shanin material to follow and take advantage of current trends.

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    #75063

    Sambuddha
    Member

    I read Keki’s book. His comparison of Classical DOE, Taguchi and Shainin methods was interesting. If you use Resolution IV or V designs as examples of DOE and say saturate designs suffer from confounding…. who can counter that argument. But why would you use RIV or RV designs for process improvements in the first place. We use it for screening, don’t we? Off course that was not mentioned.
    His methods are valid, I presume; how useful, I should not comment, as I have never used his methods (although I have seen people do some kind of component swap but given up when time to solution had tended towards infinity). But his comparisons are not objective in my opinion.
    I would much rather look at Jonathan’s comment which I think gives a balanced perspective here. At the tool level, every problem requires special considerations….there is no silver bullet IMHO.
    Best,
    Sambuddha

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    #75064

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Coordinator,
    I told you people were going to get tired of you giving Keki credit for something he did not do.
    As far as criticism my perception of Keki’s criticism is that it was rooted in the paper that Hans Bajaria did. Not meaning to speak ill of the dead (Hans has passed away) but hans was playing a turf war. He was paid to come in and fix stuff. The Six Sigma initiative has them fix it themselves. I wonder what motivated his dislike for SS?

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    #75065

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Rouge,
    You made a lot of very good points. I particularly like the third paragraph. I have seen it work to varying degrees with them physically separated from the rest of the facility but it always makes it much more difficult.
    The other issue is the computers with fancy software. I am not what would be called a power user. As a matter of fact I am probably somewhat cyber challenged. But the actual ability to operate this stuff is not the point. 
    When you get into some of these conflicts that goes on between BB and others in the general population, it is that they spend so much time on their computer and no time on the floor. It goes back to the discussion of the Honda idea of you don’t get to talk about it if you have not seen it. We spend a lot of time on this site focused on who has the best stats package, simulation packages, project management software, etc. The job is being involved in the process. There is nobody in the world that enjoys having a nice software package like Minitab than me (I hate doing this stuff by hand – but I do think the strategy through more when I have to do hand calculations). There is a point where you can’t noodle problems and not spending time in and around the problem will only alienate the BB’s more. When BB’s are in a group and everytime some one passes by the door they are all hunched over computers you will have a problem in a very short period of time.
    Just my opinion.

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    #75066

    Sambuddha
    Member

    When did Hans pass away? Last year he presented his 14 unique ideas wasn’t it?
    Was Dorian Shainin hired by Motorola at any time? How did Keki move away from SS and get to the other side? Any idea?
    Best
    Sambuddha
     

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    #75076

    TKT
    Member

    …and another opinion.
    Working in a 6S company with 6S being part of the business strategy I have learned that pressure to implement 6S did not follow the talk:
    Statement: Only the best will become 6S BB
    Reality: Almost no leader sent his best but many sent those who had no “real” jobs. They were followed by those “promoted” to 6S because the supervisor wanted to get rid of them.
    Statement: BB coming back after 2 years will get “good jobs”.
    Reality: What is a good job? A better than the one you had before 6S? (keep on praying); The same job? (it is gone long time ago!); Some job? (at least you keep your salary…)
    Statement: You have to become a BB by 2003 to become a company leader.
    Reality: Changed to become a Green Belt by 2005.
    My (personal) advice: If you work for a Fortune 100 company and you have a good job, keep it and don’t move to 6S. If you want but cannot get out of your job then 6S is the best way to learn new skills and to get the right exposure.

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    #75080

    vin
    Member

    Mike – Are these “criticisms of Six Sigma” addressed in”Leaning Into Six Sigma”? (I read a brief write-up on it as part of an article in IndustryWeek magazine.)

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    #75081

    Opey
    Participant

    Mike,
    I’ve read your reference of the “Honda rule” before (“Unless you’ve seen the problem, you can’t talk about it”), and I just thought I’d comment on it.  It feels like a good rule, but when I analyze why I feel that way, I find that it’s because of whom it would shut up, and how I feel about those people.
    A really similar feeling to Jack Welch’s philosophy about A, B and C players.  I like the idea, but it’s mainly because of whom I would judge as “C,” and how I feel about them.
    This isn’t to say that these are therefore bad…it says more about me than anything else.  But it probably does mean that if you’re going to implement a rule or philosophy like one of these, you’ve got to come right out and attack the immature ad hominem reactions that they may generate.  It seems to imply that a good risk assessment should be performed for these sorts of things.  Which sounds reasonable anyway.  Did I add anything valuable by posting this?  Don’t think so….
    Opey

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    #75092

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Opey,
    I think most everybody adds something when they post on here. Even if something is just a rewording of something else it shouldn’t matter. It make make more sense to a group of people the way it was restated. I have enough trouble speaking where I understand what I was trying to say. When I write it – it can get real messy.
    I like the don’t talk about unless you have seen it seems like a good rule but not very workable for the “discussion group” (maybe iSixSigma could put a bus on the road and we could all go visit each others place – normally these guys respond in about a nanosecond – I’m guessing they let this one pass).
    Most people who have worked with me know I’m not good at consensus management. Majority on a good day. I worked in a place where meetings occurred around noon and lunch was served. The meetings would last forever and then some. I got very intolerant of the people with opinions and had never seem the problem.
    Probably the worst issue was I was put on a problem that had been in place for 10 years and their best people had worked on it. The maintenance guy told me the problem was that nobody knew what the problem was because nobody had watched the problem occur. After waiting for a “team member” (I’m not sure whose team) to take a picture of it occuring (we waited 5 weeks). Anther consultant and I shot a picture of it with a Video Camera and played it for the team. It was fixed that day. The problem went from around 800,000 ppm to 3.
    Did either of us add anything valuable? It only takes one person getting something out of it.
    Thanks.

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    #75094

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Vin,
    I am glad you read the article. I think it is a total of 2 of you and both my kids (cause I told them they had to).
    The short answer is no – we didn’t address them. We wrote the book for a couple reasons. The first was the intellectual bigotry. We keep running into C level guys that are getting jacked up by a Lean Guy or a Six Sigma guy and they think they have to choose one or the other. Their particular product SS or Lean or whatever is the light and the way to true quality salvation. They hear their staff going “I’ve got so much on my plate.” We wanted a book that was short enough to read on a cross country fight (type a’s have short attention spans) and hit them with 4 or 5 ideas about integration and that people had done it before.
    The second was more of a personal thing. I was getting really tired of all the latest and greatest consulting companies going “Look what we invented.” We mixed the two on FMU-139 in the middle 80’s and I know we weren’t the first.
    I did do a point for point with Hans once (he had some inane 12 points why SS isn’t good or somthing) I can try to dig it up from somewhere – I thik we did it at the Rochester ASQ show 3 or 4 years ago.
    I appreciate you asking. Thank you.
     

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    #75095

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    TKT,
    Just my opinion. The company you worked for did business a certain way before SS got there. The managers are old enough that they are probably doing business just like they always did (it ishow they got to where they are so why change – represents risk).
    SS didn’t drive the behaviors they were there before SS arrived. If they were doing Lean or whatever they would still be acting the same.
    What can you do about them – nothing for the most part. Make them look real successful. Get them to pop up on the radar screen and if they are real slugs it will catch up to them fast. Don’t focus on them or that. Fix stuff, get a reputation for being effective and swear to yourself every morning when you are looking in the mirror you will never be like them.
    Just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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    #75107

    Opey
    Participant

    That 10-year-old problem story was precious!

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    #75116

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Thanks. Unfortunately it was true.
    They were so convinced it could not be solved they promised to put a statue of me in front of the factory if we fixed it. I never got my statue.

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    #75231

    Doug Rogers
    Participant

    This has been an interesting thread …. with some good analysis … and some vitrol thrown in.
    My take is that good SS requires
    1) Effective strategy: gap analysis, focus, resource committment, commitment to people, rewards for all who contribute to success.
    2) On the floor time: view the issues, study the problem, look at what’s measured and not, interview the people who live the process and collect their observations( and opinions).
    3) Collect needed data and information
    4) Analyze and recommend solution(s).
    I believe it is a balance of these elements. You can’t just say Black Belts, as a class, only huddle over a PC …. just as it is wrong to do no analysis and just go out and shoot from the hip to be “doing something”. What if the “Fix” creates more problems?
    The comments on SS tools are good …. SS is particularly good for working on Common Cause variation IMO. Special Cause variation can be attacked using several good tools tat have been araound for a while.
    I personally use any and all tools that I’ve found useful and are recognized as effective to resolve issues. These include SS, K-T, Lean, QCO, etc.
    Hope this adds another perspective.
    Doug

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    #75267

    Terry
    Member

    Just want to add an obvious requirement for Six Sigma success to Doug’s last posting:  LEADERSHIP
    I visited a company that had 4 GMs in 2 1/2 years.  Everyone had their own new initiative but allowed the other programs started by their predesessors to slow burn in parallel.  They were trying to do very basic Six Sigma, Change Management, Demand-Flow Technology, and APS.  Honestly, it reminded me of Emeril – A dash of Six Sigma, a stick of Teaming, stir in the DFT, turn on the APS module and presto.  Guess what the latest GM told me?  “We tried all of this and it doesn’t work here.”  It ain’t the tools fault, Mr. 4th GM! 
    Terry

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    #75273

    john beaudoin
    Participant

    You mentioned all of the very positive things about 6 Sigma that you researched, and they are all correct.  You also asked if there is a downside to implementation in a company, and there is one and only one….. It is HARD TO IMPLEMENT; not that the steps to implementation are hard to comprehend, but that each step is very difficult in that it takes a great deal of effort and persuasion to accomplish.
    You can’t train a hand-full of individuals in a company and expect that these individuals on your pay-roll now qualify you as a 6-Sigma company.  You have to have, as someone else here has stated, LEADERSHIP.  The leadership in the organization must be thoroughly convinced of the merits and opportunity of 6-Sigma.  After this step, every employee of the company must be converted to a 6-Sigma way of thinking about their jobs and processes.  Along with this you need good training and mentorship.
    Note because of the expense of training, etc., a poor implementation can be a large waste of resources for an orgainization.  Once a committment is made, it is important to stay the course and make it work.

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    #75283

    Cravens
    Participant

    Everything has its place.  Everything has good points.  Everything has bad points.  Why would you want 6 sigma methodolgy for obvious problems with simple solutions?  Sometimes all you have to do is ask the operators what the problem is.  In this case six sigma creates a lot of labor and cost for no reason.  For complicated projects with many facets and a potential of great cost savings for “optimal” settings or solutions, how can you argue with a “procedure” and statistically valid data that “guides” you to the correct answer?  The proceeding were plus and minus points.  In any case don’t get caught up in the “1.5 sigma shift” crap.  There is no such thing as a “standard 1.5 sigma shift”.  When you reference any process remember the Quality Departments Credo:  “In God we trust… all others please provide statistically valid data.”  Motorola may have identified a 1.5 sigma shift of the mean for one of their processes “once upon a time”.  What has that got to do with YOUR process right now?  “Where’s the beef?”  

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    #75298

    RR Kunes
    Member

    Employees who are comfortable in the old ways become very uncomfortable when six sigma teams begin to investigate their “Turf”.

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    #75317

    john beaudoin
    Participant

    Fred, I think you are missing something here:
    If some one asked you what the good and bad points were for a 12V cordless Makita Drill, you might say that it is very mobile, seems to have the torque you need to put in large deck screws or even drill through some amount of concrete.  It’s pretty reliable and the battery lasts several hours under industrial use.  The bad point of the drill may be that when a battery runs out of power, there might not be much you can do with it.  No one is going to say that the bad point of the drill is that you can’t pound nails very efficiently with it, or it takes forever to cut a sheet of plywood in half.  For the same reason, you can’t say that a negative of 6-Sigma is that it doesn’t work well for a job it wasn’t designed for.
    My 2nd point is that asking the shop floor to improve your processesses are great, but that technique alone is not going to get you to 6-Sigma.  You may get to 3 or 4 sigma.  If you only make a few thousand units a year, this may be OK, but if you make millions of units, you are going to be throwing a lot of money away.  You need control charts and statistical analysis to get to 6-Sigma, PERIOD.

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    #75388

    Ajit Mankottil
    Participant

    Hi Kunes,
    Could you please elaborate on the point made by you?
    Thanks,
    Ajit

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    #75389

    Ajit Mankottil
    Participant

    Hi Fred,
    I had attended a meeting on 6 sigma and there it was mentioned abt this 1.5 standard sigma shift. Could you please let me know as to why there is nothing like a 1.5 sigma shift?
    Thanks,
    Ajit

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    #137759

    phantom stats guy
    Participant

    Six Sigma is a system of psuedo science and statistics for MBAs  to misapply while they pretend to be engineers.  The system also gives them no clue that the problem may be related to short sightedness and quarter to quarter time horizons for everything.  
     
    Get ready for a miserable beauracracy driven system of idiocy.
     

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    #137760

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    It took you 4 years to come up with THAT???
    You must have a Doctorate.

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    #137773

    Tim
    Member

    Six sigma is really a ‘repackaging’ of just some of the techniques which any Industrial Engineer would have studied in college.  Every couple of years we get a ‘new’ application or methodology to use in industry and many people make a buck out of selling it with some ‘certification’.  It may not be a bad thing as it exposes people to what is really an ‘engineering’ domain.  However, I do feel that these certificates tend to be ‘in vogue’ and lessen the ‘professional aspect of engineering’ when they fail to deliver.  having said all that I will probably follow the rest of the flock and get the certificate…. or maybe I get out of engineering and go into finance which seems to be better regulated.

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    #137778

    Haugen
    Participant

    There is nothing wrong with repackaging – sometimes, that is what it takes for a product or process to go from failure to success.  I don’t really disagree with anything you said, but – so what?  If you are looking for purity of intent and results – good luck!
    “….finance which seems better regulated.”  Now that’s funny! You never heard of Enron, GM, NYSE, etc, etc…..
    Be prepared to get all disillusioned again….

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    #137779

    Tim
    Member

    jimh,
    yeah thats true….. but the reason we have heard about enron etc is because of the regulation and they are the ‘exceptions which proves the rule’.
    I wonder how mainy failed 6 sigma projects there are?.. all in jest, thanks for the reply. 

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    #137805

    Learner
    Participant

    “Probably the worst issue was I was put on a problem that had been in place for 10 years and their best people had worked on it. The maintenance guy told me the problem was that nobody knew what the problem was because nobody had watched the problem occur. After waiting for a “team member” (I’m not sure whose team) to take a picture of it occuring (we waited 5 weeks). Anther consultant and I shot a picture of it with a Video Camera and played it for the team. It was fixed that day. The problem went from around 800,000 ppm to 3″
    And you are proud of this ? Give this a value to your work ? Here you are talking about a complete incompetent people. They paid two consultants for weeks (?) for that ? Now is clear which is the background to start with sixsigma projects and why some projects are successfully.
     

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    #137813

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    I really don’t know how you can say “Six sigma is really a ‘repackaging’ of just some of the techniques which any Industrial Engineer would have studied in college”.  Please be more specific.  What information, data or experience are you basing that statment on?
    Do you really think Six Sigma is all about the “certification”?  In my experience, the real value in Six Sigma is the application of the tools, not the certification a person holds.  Granted, there are some people (both individuals and companies) that believe certifications carry some value…but those people are idiots (IMO).
    My advice to you would be to NOT “follow the rest of the flock and get the certificate”.  If you can use what you already know and accomplish the same thing, or better…just do it.  And let us know how that works out.
    Good luck!

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    #137822

    Brit
    Participant

    I didn’t serch through the thread – but whoever said SS was a repackaging is moderately correct.  There is not a new tool in the BB toolset that hasn’t been used before.  Except possibly for the idea of the sigma shift and the actual 6sig measure, itself, which is a goal not a tool based on past probability methods.  It is the focus on the customer, the neccessity of measurement, and the rigor of the structure that is the change – of which, only the DMAIC terminology is different.
    I am a Six Sigma person and I think if people would approach the system as a much improved hybrid rather than “something new and great”, then companies who are fearful of change would be more readily willing to try it/embrace it.

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    #137824

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Brit,
    I agree that there is not a new tool in the BB toolset that hasn’t been used before.  For some reason, though, my feathers get all ruffled up when somebody states that the Six Sigma Blackbelt’s toolset is just a small portion of the Industrial Engineer’s toolset.
    It reeks too much of the “it can all be learned in the classroom” mentality to me.
    Keep up the good work.

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    #137832

    Tim
    Member

    HornJm,
    I was just pointing out that there in nothing new in six sigma over and above what an industrial engineer would learn through a degree program.  My critism is the ‘industry’ which is often created on teh back of ‘repackaging’ old tools and techniques under new ‘banners’.  hey, I am not complaining… just making an observation.  Six Sigma is NOT all about certification but the certification is often a requirement with organisations.  I have initiated a program with my local university to have all engineering graduates certified in six sigma (like similar programs in India) and other ‘in vogue tools’ rather than expect their prospective companies to fork out money for such programs at a later date.
    In fact I have had many successes using standard industrial engineering techniques in process inprovements across multiple sectors.  the query on Six sigma certification is really keeping up with what is in vogue and perceptions… which at the end of the day is the only reality.
    In any case, nobody is an idiot and when you realise that,  then you will realise the full value of the individual and the real source of improvement and innovation within organisations.
    Many thanks for your comment which I found insightful… especially on a Friday.
     
     

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    #137836

    Jered Horn
    Participant

    Alright.  Touche.  “Idiot” was a bit of an exaggeration.  “Ignorant” would have been better.  I completely agree with you on the full value of the individual.
    And your criticism of the Six Sigma training/certification “industry” has been well earned.  Unfortunately, good programs are turning out to be the exception, rather than the rule.  Especially when considering online/university/external-to-an-organization programs.
    In my opinion, and according to my experiences…the companies that “get it” do not hire many pre-certified Six Sigma belts.  So, a job opportunity with Six Sigma Certification as a requirement is probably not very good “opportunity” at all.  If successfull Six Sigma deployment was just a matter of “plugging and playing” a set of tools, perhaps that pre-certification hiring requirement may not turn out to be so ignorant (my word).  It’s not, though.  There has to be some element of process knowledge involved.  Real process knowledge can only be gained through hands-on experience.
    Alright…I’m done trying to formulate my argument.  How about this?
    You put together a team of five university-trained six sigma blackbelt industrial engineers and I’ll put together a team of five corporate MBB-trained 5-plus year experienced blackbelts and we’ll shoot it out.  Winner gets to go home and enjoy the weekend with their family…oops, sorry…I’m already assuming us old-fart family guys/gals are going to win.  You choose the prize.  I’m all out of ideas.
    Hope you have a good weekend.

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    #137849

    Tim
    Member

    Like you, I have over 20 years experience in industry of course experience will win out every time.  Being certified is only the start and over time with more projects/experience one can only improve.  However, in Europe many recruiters are actually looking for certification up front.  It is like the PMI certification… having it will not make you a good project manager but it does intend to provide a standardised approach which improves the chance of success.  Actually, in europe Prince2 is becoming the preferred choice (even though its origins are IT and telecoms).
    On a final note, and getting back to the point,  I am quite sure the six sigma program is one of the better ones and of course has proved itself many times over. 
    Enjoy the weekend.

    0
    #137854

    YoYo Ma
    Member

    The criticisms of Six Sigma are justified. In the past, Six Sigma was often equated to TQM on steroids. Now its more like TQM on dexatrim.
    Required competencies and training have been diluted to 25% of what they were in the past. Case in point, Gary Reiner at GE is pushing lean and intentionally speaking less about Six Sigma. He can often be quoted as saying Lean is “wing-to-wing”. I thought Six Sigma was cross-functional (“wing-to-wing”). GE Lean Six Sigma training looks nothing like it did when it was originally deployed.
    Carnell, I think you could attest to that.
    One of the bigger problems in Six Sigma continues to be the exaggerated savings. Once again ask Gary R @ GEs real realized saving, its not what everyone thought it was, especially since many of you continue to use GE as your convincing argument.
    Another problem is that too many companies are not incorporating Six Sigma into their organizations strategic planning. It shows up in the plan for Six months and then is forgotten. Leaving the BBs scrambling to find their own projects to justify their existence.
    Please don’t give that crap that I’m someone who was turned away from GE and therefore disgruntled. I was in the mix a long time and continue to have a strong affiliation with them.
    Too many MBBs and BBs are using their supposed Six Sigma talent as a marketing weapon and don’t realize how commoditized Six Sigma has become.
    Lastly, yes Six Sigma can have a huge impact on an organization especially in the 1 to 2 year time frame. However, sustainability is what drives success.

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    #137864

    Craig
    Participant

    Some day I might understand how you can criticize a set of tools. As for now, I can’t comprehend it. I will give it a try though. I am going to my tool box in my garage, and I am going to yell at them and ask why they are not delivering results.  You blasted hammer….why haven’t you pounded any nails lately? You dog-gone saw, why haven’t you cut any lumber yet? I noticed an un-opened drawer and it was labeled “lean tools”.  OK, in it I found my power tools. They were sitting there inactive as well. 
    As I sat there dumfounded, my wife came out and started hammering on me for the leaky faucets, the leaky roof, etc.  In shock I said to my wife…”but look at all my nice tools honey!”  Her reply was, “stop talking about them, writing about them, and criticizing your tools. Just read the instructions and use the right tool for the job. It is not the tools that are sick, it is the ones who refuse to use them properly.
     

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    #137865

    Texas Sixgun Sigma
    Member

    Wuz jus doin some relaxin on my porch, cleanin my revolver after pickin off some copperheads, and it dun came to me  that the tools dont kill no projects. its them black belts and them darn bosses who duz it
    You all can have my tools when you takes them from my cold dead fingers
    Jus Gittin er Dun here in east Texas   –  YEEHAW!

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    #141847

    Scared Sigmaless
    Member

    OK – It doesnt work well for a job it was not designed for!
    I am in an organization that is attempting to utilize SS to optimize the quantity of sample distributed to customers; the samples being used to instigate addtional, continued use of product. The fly in the ointment, from my perspective, is significant variability. Many offices have multiple customers, with sample distribution being attributed to only one customer. In addition, end use is somewhat cyclical, and pulsed DTC oscillates the variability. There are a multitude of variables that make true data capture and analysis virtually impossible.
    My impression is that SS is being forced into a job for which it was not designed. Rather, the utilization is part of corporate pressure and career posturing by those assigned to SS implementation. Your thoughts, please.

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    #141849

    Marlon Brando
    Participant

    Agree.SS should  be  considered  as  one  of  several Quality  Improvement Concepts,such  as TQM,Lean-SS,Kaizen.A mixture  of  all those concepts  should be  the “Multi-vitamin” tablet to  cure  all  types  of  illnesses  that  might disturb the  companies.I  would  name  this  new suggested methodology …………………………………………..?? 

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    #141851

    Darth
    Participant

    Scared,
    I am working with a client that is doing multiple SS projects in the area of samples.  In some cases the data collection is simple and in some cases great creativity is needed.  In all cases, there is ample opportunity to reduce the variation and improve the utilization of samples as a means of influencing product usage.  If you wish to discuss offline, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
     

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    #188244

    Joyce Kryszak
    Participant

    I am a reporter working for an NPR affiliate and I am interested in speaking with you regarding a story I am working on profiling six sigma.  I have lots of “pro” perspective, but could use some objective balance from someone who can at least site some of the potential pitfalls.

    0
    #188245

    Darth
    Participant

    OK Lois Lane, who are you directing your request to? There are hundreds of people around the world who are reading your post. Do you want to talk to all of us or someone in particular.

    0
    #188246

    Darth
    Participant

    And by the way, you responded to a 2002 post.

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    #188247

    Stevo
    Member

    Joyce – forgive Darth (he happens to be one of the major reasons for the criticism).  I am surprised that you found more “pro” opinions than “con”; usually it is the other way around.
     
    In my opinion – most of the criticism is due to ignorance and thinking six sigma is a magic pill or a silver bullet.
     
    Keep searching and you should have no problem finding different opinions.
     
    Stevo

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    #188248

    GB
    Participant

    Well Said, Stevo.Joyce, As with most things, polarization is bound to occur. It comes down to individual experiences. If embraced and applied appropriately with a generous dash of common sense, Six Sigma, Lean, TPS. Continuous Improvement in general, has the potential of yielding excellent results.Continuous Improvement seems to draw serious and intense feelings due to the effect of change on humans in general. Change is a hard pill to swallow for us humans.Personally, I’ve witnessed the success of Six Sigma, when done right…with amazing bottom-line results related to cost/quality/delivery/growth.
    I also see the other end of the spectrum in my current shop. Lip service and fake-Sponsorhip have been toxic to Six Sigma’s success here. So much so, that there is a full scale slaughter going on. The Veep is hunting down all vestiges of the toxic status quo and is trying to rebuild the initiative. Though painful, it’s the right thing to do.The outgoing Director should have brushed up on his Machiavelli…

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    #188249

    Darth
    Participant

    And you actually believe that she is for real given her unprofessional approach and lack of any apparent investigative skills. What legitimate reporter is going to post a general inquiry to an 8 year old post? Not a lot of effort put in to search out appropriate spokespersons yet you and Stevo are trying to get your 15 minutes of fame. Shame shame.

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    #188251

    GB
    Participant

    Darth,
    you are right!
    It must be robert S. trying to draw people to his new venture by contacting offline under the guise of NPR.heh

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    #188252

    Reade
    Participant

    Darth,I can vouch for Joyce – she’s a long-time reporter for an NPR affiliate in Buffalo, NY. Of course, you have no idea who I am, so take it for what it’s worth.But responding to an 8-year-old post? Yeah, she should have done better than that.

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    #188254

    GB
    Participant

    maybe she’s interning for an NPR Reporter??

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    #188255

    Darth
    Participant
    #188256

    Darth
    Participant

    That post was so old you were still using “HeeBeeGeeBee BB”. She is legit but a little more research and preparation might have left a better impression of herself and the organization she represents. Also her subject has been presented a number of times over the past few years so there is no ground being broken so how much additional new insight can we expect to see. Will likely be a rehash of the old controversies and contrary positions. Possibly she will rethink this and come up with something new and fresh so there is a true value add to her efforts.

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    #188257

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Darth,
    The link ties to a real person and you can google Joyce Kryszak and get several hits. That doesn’t mean that the poster is really Joyce Kryszak any more than you are really Darth regarless of what your license plate says.
    The real question is why do you have to get a bunch of people who are all jihadist pro and another bunch of people who are all jihadist con and then convince yourself you have created a balanced picture? You have extreme positions and leave it to the reader to interprolate the balance? All you really do is grow each camp a little larger and the few that have the intelligence to interprolate is small enough to be insignificant.
    I always remember that USA Today article back when we were doing the Allied Deployment. They interviewed Larry Bossidy (CEO) who was pro and then some technician in Aerospace who was con. Let’s see if we can figure out which one really understand what the initiative was doing for the company? CEO vs technician? To close to call?
    The real Joyce Kryszak covers western New York. Erie County has a pretty good deployment going over there. Get in your car and go look at what is happening and talk to a cross section of the people involved and find out what they think then you may be doing some ground breaking stuff.
    Just my opinion.
     

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    #188264

    Robert S
    Member

    And this ridiculous post is based on what logic trail hb?

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    #188265

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Hi, Joyce:  If you’d like to take a fresh perspective, you might want to try the angle of why companies find it necessary to continuously improve.  Why didn’t they do it “right the first time.”  Why is it that it is easy to justify “fixing,” but so many companies find it impossible to justify doing it correctly to begin with?  Just a thought.

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    #188269

    wgmiller
    Member

    Joyce,
    Here are a few places where a Six Sigma program can have problems:
    1) Six Sigma is basically for making large quantities of duplicate products in which the acceptance criteria for the product is objectively defined.  As such, it is very good for manufacturing entities that do that sort of business.  However, the further you get from the “duplicate products with objectively defined acceptance crtieria” business model, the less useful Six Sigma becomes.  In your case as a reporter, Six Sigma methods would not be able to tell if your Six Sigma story was well or poorly written.
    2) The snake oil salesmen have found Six Sigma.  Six Sigma programs have been sold to executives who didn’t know what they were buying (there are many potential causes).  Since these executives didn’t know what they were buying, they couldn’t manage it effectively and the program got out of control.
    3) Six Sigma programs are susceptible to all sorts of abuse.  Here are a few examples:

    Action paralysis by extended analysis
    Data selected and processed (“cooked”) to support a predetermined result.
    Priesthoods – an individual is “always correct” by definition.
    Results that cannot be independently verified
     

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    #188270

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Your point number 1 is false.  Six Sigma works in situations where you are only producing one off’s or millions.  In fact, I would say that it is even more critical for a one off than the millions.  When you are producing a unique item, it must be “right” the first time.  You must have absolute process understanding and control to ensure that the one item you produce is what you wanted since you don’t have an opportunity to do it again.  And yes, you can still use statistical tools – you just apply them (as you always should apply them) to the process (not the specific item being produced).  This is a typical misunderstanding of those not well versed in application. 
    Agree on the other points.

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    #188284

    Bergeron
    Participant

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to my request for information.  It will be very helpful as I put together a story that will, hopefully, demystify Six Sigma for people who don’t live and breathe it everyday as you folks do. There also are huge, new questions about Six Sigma as it moves into the government arena.  The customers in this case are taxpayers – and have a right to ask questions. Once again, thanks for the sincere responses and tolerance of my intrusion on your blog.

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    #188288

    Darth
    Participant

    That’s it???? And you are going to write an insightful and balanced story based on the few simplistic responses you received? If you want to really write something significant, contact the Editor of the Forum/magazine and ask her to recommend some folks who they know have the experience and knowledge to provide some valuable input. This Forum has probably some of top talent in the industry and could provide the story you want. Based on the little effort you put into polling this group, I get the sense that your output will be another piece of questionable fluff like efforts that preceded you.

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    #188290

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Joyce,
    If you are truely interested in the benefit to the customers – tax payers and you are in Western New York then take the time to see what is going on in Erie County. You can contact a guy in Elma named John Lupienski and he will introduce you to the people there. Since the deployment is in the finals for Best New Deployment at the iSixSigma Live conference in February that means the deployment had to have a minimum return on investment of 5:1. Be fair and look at what else Erie County has invested in over the same period that had a 5:1 return on investment. Actually look at the last 5-10 years and compare it. When you get that type of return it is a profitable proposition for the taxpayer. You would not give me $1 if I would give you $5 back? you would do that all day long if you could and I was willing.
    It certainly paid off better than the AIG bailout.
    If you chose to do this and have trouble contacting John you can email me at [email protected] and I will introduce you.
    Just my opinion

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    #188291

    Kluttz
    Member

    Its NPR, not Teen Beat.  I don’t think it will be a fluff piece. 

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    #188292

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MBBinWI,
    Agree with your point on volume completely. The idea of SS came from Motorola Communications Sector. A major part of the methodology came from Government Electronics Division (Gary Cone, Mario Perez-Wilson, Mike Harry, John Hathaway, Dave Dippre, etc) and we were low volume. The only exception would be the FMU-139 Bomb Fuse Program (the book Six Sigma from Mario Perez-Wilson very closely resembles that project).
    For some reason people can’t seem to understand is that SS allows you to understand how a process works. If you focus on how the process works only in the context of a specific product you still do not understand the process. When you completely understand a process it is easy to move from one product to another. You can set up that process to run before ever having run the product as long as you understand the required output. If all you understand is to take a new product and play with that product in the process until you figure out how to run that specific product you are still no better off.
    The constraint of volume is a myth.
    Just my opinion.

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    #188293

    GB
    Participant

    Sir,
    First off, it was a joke. Your posting trail appears to reveal certain trends. Have you forgotten that I asked you point blank, if you had any financial, or any other connection to a certain product offering that you were actively schilling to newbie Posters on the ISix Fora (in open violation of the T.O.S.)? Have you forgotten that you dodged the question(s) for quite some time, finally answering in the affirmative, that you in fact, were involved, quite intimately with that offering from a financial and fillial standpoint. I’m not trying to paint you as a “bad guy”, nor do i think ill of you personally…i just do not personally like your actions on this fora and others related to business practices.Google-cache software is certainly not your friend… -Just my opinion.

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    #188294

    Darth
    Participant

    Only going by how shallow she sought to get input from a potentially major source of knowledge and experience and the method she used to gather her info.

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    #188295

    Robert S
    Member

    hb, of course it was a joke… but clearly that isn’t how you make your living.
    I’m happy for you that your position has no requirement that you sell something. Apparently others in your organization have that task and you do whatever it is you do… in addition to posting on this forum throughout the day, everyday.
    When you first posed the question of me I did not have any affiliation with OSSS. That changed. And, I did not run ads. I responded to queries related to areas where OSSS products could be of assistance to the poster. I could live with that relative to the iSS rules, as apparently could iSS. However you apparently took offense in your surrogate role as editor.
    You should be pleased, however, in that I’ve not done that in over a couple of years. OSSS’s success has surpassed the need to do so. And, as you know I have moved to another position.
    So, please simply return to berating those who are not in the “inner circle” and let bygones be bygones.

    0
    #188297

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Not mere opinion as far as I’m concerned.  You and I (and others) have demonstrated this to be true.

    0
    #188298

    GB
    Participant

    Sir, salesmanship is, in fact, a key and critical skillset in my current environ. Whether in how I market to opportunities/projects to both internal and external Stakeholders/Sponsors. The difference is that I am aware and compliant w/ the ISix TOS/run rules. Clever-clever…You managed to slip in the name of your son’s offering 3 times!I congratulate you and bow to your savvy…

    0
    #188299

    Rao
    Participant

    Wake up Jonathan. Maybe you’re a genius, in any case a fabulous host. An 8-year-old post that generates as many passionate reactions! Seems all relevant answers haven’t been given?Any how, DMAIC is an open-loop cybernetics and DoE is an empirical walk aren’t they. So don’t dream an univocal answer to your post.

    0
    #188300

    Dharma Bum
    Participant

    Rao,
    Are you typing while impaired?

    0
    #188301

    Darth
    Participant

    Probably just a blithering fool. But, we gotta get some of what he is smoking.

    0
    #188302

    Praveen Gupta
    Participant

    It is a great question!
    Companies do not measure how well their strategy of deploying Six Sigma works, i.e., no company knows its ‘sigma’ level as an organization.
    People worry too much about statistics and rote deployment of the DMAIC methodology and jump to run Design of Experiements as a silver bullet instead of using the methodology to achieve breakthrough improvement.
    I believe statistics is only about 20% of the methodology, 80% of the methodology is sound engineering and the process konwledge. Without the process knowledge and sound engineering, even 100 statistics is not going to produce breakthrough results.
    Praveen

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    #188303

    Stevo
    Member

    Joyce –
    I’m the “top talent in the industry” Darth was speaking about and if you want to talk let me know.  I will also be at the Isixsigma conf in Feb (Mike – you now have me pimping) along with some of the lesser talent.
    Stevo
     

    0
    #188304

    Darth
    Participant

    Stevo, you’re cruis’in for a bruis’in. Just because your bank paid you an obscene bonus you don’t have to let it go to your head. Carnell already has the booth by the front desk so you might have to settle for the one by the elevator. I, of course, have maintained my integrity and pride and have not sunk to the depths that both of you have. Imagine, sucking up to Lois Lane and now pimp’in for the Master or Mistress as the case may be. All Lois had to do was search the Forum above and she would see who posts and that my quantity and quality far exceeds your humble efforts. And my posts are better also.

    0
    #188305

    GB
    Participant

    I tried to get a booth next to Mike, but the Cowboy’s arm-candy outbid me…CURSES!

    0
    #188306

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    hbgb b^2,
    You are always welcome to come hang out with us.
    Regards

    0
    #188307

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stevo,
    Pimping? There is some logic in this.
    There are basically 3 major companies that do large SS conferences. Only one has any real skin in the game – iSS Live. They are a considerable part of the SS/Lean/LSS business. SS does well = them doing well. The other two are conference companies. If SS died tomorrow they could care less they just do a conference on something else.
    If you want quality you have to go with the company that sands to win or lose along with you and the iSS company is exactly that. You get a well organized conference and it is executed with precision. Basically this where the value for your money comes from.
    Just my opinion.

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    #188308

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Praveen,
    I do agree with your point that the stats is over emphasized. Most companies have such major issues that basic data gathering solves a lot of issues as does MSA (which by the way uses ANOVA – it is a DOE).
    As far as company know its sigma level. Who cares? It doesn’t mean anything.
    I assume from you post, since you have accounted for 100%, that change management has nothing to do with the success of a deployment. That is complete nonsense as is you 80% number on the engineer. Every single project involves change management. If you want “breakthrough improvement” using Juran’s definition of it from his book Managerial Breakthrough – it is dynamic change and your numbers place less emphasis on change than you do on statistics. That seems odd since without change a project is basically another form of COPQ.
    Define what you mean by “rote deployment of the DMAIC methodology.”

    0
    #188309

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MBBinWI,
    You see the same thing around SPC. The discussion always goes to volume. There are very few companies that build only one item before they shut down. People may build something as a one off but it is built with the same process. the whole point to SS is to understand the process. SPC = Statistical Process Control not Statistical Product Control (although attribute charts may lead you there but they are a great example – once one goes out of control you still don’t understand what part of the process specifically is having a problem).
    Lets say you put control charts on a particular part of a process such as over fill – a good process/project metric. A variables chart is giving you good information with regards to both the mean and the variation of the process and you do need to understand both so you understand the input to the product.
    Just my opinion

    0
    #188310

    The Fake Mike C
    Member

    What, we need an invitation to hang out with you now
    Mike? Man, I guess I better start being nice.Where is that post you were talking about? :)

    0
    #188311

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Precisely!  Drilling a hole in a piece of metal is a process.  Doesn’t matter if that hole is going into SN1 of 1 of Part A or SN 5,000,000 of mega millions of Part B.  The hole created has a variation distribution.  Compare that variation distribution to the requirements and you have a capability.  With a capability I have a gage of quality (even before the hole for SN1 of Part C is produced, i.e. Design for Six Sigma).

    0
    #188312

    Rao
    Participant

    Ready to refresh your concepts of cybernetics?
    There is a triple kind of loop: the control-loop, the adaption-loop and the supervision-loop.** Control loop, or closed-loop** One uses the measure to control/improve the system directly through a regulator. “M-A-I” of DMAIC nor DoE does not work like that.**Adaptation loop** This is DMAIC. One gradually change the system (not the measure) to get compliant output data. It is an adaptive approach. DMAIC is “adaptive”, not “closed-loop”.**Supervision loop** “C” of DMAIC consists in monitoring the system. It is not a closed-loop but a supervision loop.In terms of efficiency, “closed-loop” is stronger than “adaptive” or “supervision”. So, still skeptical?

    0
    #188313

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Fake Mike C,
    Nobody needs a an invitation to hang out with us I just wanted him to know we was welcome. If you are nice you don’t get invited. We prefer the people with a little edge to them.
    162443

    0
    #188314

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Exactly. You see it all the time with machining, welding, painting etc.
    You didn’t like the overfill example?

    0
    #188315

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Rao,
    I am sure you find yourself enlightened but the idea of closed loop has been in Mil Specs such as Mil-Q-9858 since the 50’s. Basically you are on here with a bunch of philosophical crap. What have you actually ever done?

    0
    #188316

    Rao
    Participant

    Mike, This is not philosophy. It’s Automatic Control taught in any serious bachelor course, precisely since the 50-ies.

    0
    #188317

    Jessica Harper
    Participant

    Great idea, Darth.Joyce, as editor, I would be happy to make some recommendations of people to talk to. You can reach me at jessica.harper(@)isixsigma.com.

    0
    #188318

    Mics
    Participant

    What rubbish! It’s the position of the hole that varies, not the hole diameter – no wonder people are giving up on six sigma!

    0
    #188319

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    I guess it is a good thing that when tools wear or break that the hole size doesn’t change.

    0
    #188320

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Rao,
    You are right. It isn’t philosophy. You just present it like it is.

    0
    #188321

    Darth
    Participant

    Just don’t give them Stevo’s name….he has gone over the edge and might need some help from you in SoBe.

    0
    #188322

    Darth
    Participant

    Carnell, I give up. You win the prize. I can’t keep up with you especially given the 6 hour time difference. In fact, you can have both prizes just slow down with the posts.

    0
    #188323

    Rao
    Participant

    Ok Mike,But don’t forget the post#1 missive: on 25th April 2002, Jonathan Breen wonders if there is any downside to implemnt 6S strategy.

    0
    #188324

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Darth,
    You are getting pretty weak hearted. As Shar Stocker told me one day “Toughen up boy.”
    Regards

    0
    #188325

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Rao,
    The SS methodology is a closed loop system if you do it correctly.

    0
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