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  • #34685

    Kathleen
    Participant

    I am an excellent mechanical designer with a great knowledge of how products are made which makes me good at creating products from scratch. I intend to become a Design Manager in a couple of years and have a good knowledge of standard practices within the design department. I want to take Six Sigma training to round out my knowledge. Would having this knowledge be benificial to me as a designer or would I be wasting time and money. Conflicted is a minor word to discribe how I am feeling. I don’t see a lot of designers taking this training nor do I see them listed for “People who should take this training.”

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    #95941

    Anonymous
    Guest

    As a designer you will appreciate how important it is to remain competitive. Many design engineers really struggle to meet some of the tight tolerances required by modern systems, and even in semiconductors, the effective channel lengths, Leff, have to be so short to meet customer’s speed requirements that there is a real risk of failures due to hot carrier injection, but at the same time to achieve a Six Sigma output performance on Leff, to avoid this situation, would leave the product slow and uncompetitive. Of course, taking these kinds of risks means that systems have to undergo 100% electrical test. Accordingly, in these circumstances it might be more appropriate to consider using Taguchi’s Loss function.

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    #95955

    Anna O’Connell
    Participant

    Dear Kathleen –
    You say you have “a great knowledge of how products are made”.  I commend you for recognizing the importance of understanding the manufacturing process to being a skillful designer.   
    6 Sigma knowledge sure can’t hurt, but, in 6 Sigma terms being able to do the “flowdown” and select which “little x’s” are most significant in determining the value of your current “Y”  in Y = F (x1, x2, x3,…) requires detailed and “deep” understanding of how the variables affect the results and each other.  This is the biggest gap in knowledge or understanding I encounter in most members of most  6 Sigma teams, and this is, in my (experienced and considered) opinion the place where the assistance of consultants is least likely to help you out of the hole.  Sometimes, by luck or planning, the consultant has deep process knowledge about your processes and can help the team past their own lack of knoweldge or understanding.  
    When the designer understands clearly what processes  will be used to produce the product and what the product must do to please a customer, that designer can do a far better job in making the design decisions (tolerances, locations, coordinate axes) that will produce high quality, high yield manufacturing of a product that works well.
    6 Sigma (or Design for 6 Sigma) tools help teams clarify and quantify the relationships among those variables, but if you must investigate ALL the variables that might be relevant, you’ll be running expensive DOEs forever, rather than saying “these 3 are the most important variables, and these other 2 may be involved in that function.”   However, learning about these tools well enough to lead your teams through them could produce a whole different career direction for you.  Or it could be a way to make the design teams you manage be the very best in their industry, whatever industry you work in.
    Don’t expect to get direct payback right away from your investment in 6 Sigma training, unless you do take a different career path. Best of luck, whatever you decide.
    Anna O’Connell

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    #95961

    mman
    Participant

    I agree with you.However the question then is how to motivate people to start a new career with Six-Sigma?  

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    #95993

    Kathleen
    Participant

    Thanks Anna, I love being a designer and yes, I want to lead a bunch of designers to be the best but I was also thinking that maybe my lot in life is to help other companies make great designers by teaching them how to train and how to recognize good designers.
    Designers have a bad reputation currently (on the whole) so I want to change that by helping companies breed good designers and helping designers better their knowledge.Kindest Regards,
    Kathleen

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    #95994

    Kathleen
    Participant

    Thanks Andy, I am more on the automtive engine side but I am now designing carbon canisters for gas tanks and, new to the market, front end modules.
    I have never done electronics because electricity alway bored me in school. I love product design because you can alway crawl under a car and see your handy work. I am the tom boy of the family but still have my feminine side.
    I figured since manufacturing should become more lean design should as well. We should be hammering the problems out on the design side rather than in the shop after the car has hit the street!Kindest Regards,
    Kathleen

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    #96007

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    I liked Anna’s answer, but I thought it may be worth emphasizing a few things.
    There are basically two major Six Sigma methodologies – DMAIC and DFSS.  DMAIC is about improving existing processes.  Certainly there are many useful tools for a designer within the DMAIC BOK, but the thrust is not on designing something new.
    DFSS is about designing something new, and it is an incredibly powerful  methodology that helps ensure your design plays most strongly to those dimensions that are the most important to the customer.  It is a wonderful technique for clarifying the impact of design decisions.
    The bad news is that the DMAIC training, which is quite intensive, lays the foundation for DFSS.  So getting to the training you need will not be a minor undertaking.  On the other hand, more and more it seems to be the way things are done in the automotive industry.
    Deciding whether it is worth the effort to you could be a bit of a challenge.
    –McD
     

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    #96012

    Anna O’Connell
    Participant

    Hi Mman –
    I don’t want people to inadvertently start new careers in Six Sigma. And I remain neutral about people deliberately wanting to become Six Sigma practioners doing so out of their own pocket.  It makes for an uncomfortable existence, being an agent of change without portfolio or authorization from your company’s top management.
     I would prefer that all designers learn about such things as manufacturing processes (for identifying KPIV or Key Process Input Variables) and statistical tolerancing as early in their careers as possible.  But designers have their own jobs to do and don’t necessarily also want to become Six Sigma practioners at whatrever belt level.
    I have a seperate complaint about designers (or design engineers or consultants or …) who become Black Belts and practice DMAIC (see John’s comments below in this thread) while remaining clueless regarding the manufacturing processes and process inter-relationships they are trying to improve.  And sometimes they’re even proud of it. But that is a different issue, and doesn’t apply to Kathleen, no matter what career path she wishes to pursue.
    Anna O’C

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    #96017

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Good luck to you kathleen. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s best mechanical design engineers, and with some of the best electronic design engineers. There

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    #96022

    mman
    Participant

    Thank You Anna.I appreciate your advice,wishing that all others in this forum would try to utilize their knowledge  and experience for the benefit of the participants,kind regards.   MMAN

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    #96030

    Kathleen
    Participant

    I know that the automotive is turning to Six Sigma and that is why I am considering it. In the future I’m inclined to think that managers will not be managers if they don’t have some kind of “lean” training. I do want to be a manager of design and am also conflicted about the training. I think I would like the training because it may help all around including my design work. New ways to look at it, new ways to think and new ways to manage it.I also did some research on DFSS, since i work in Troy Mi (but I am a Canadian) there doesn’t seem to be a place close that gives the DFSS train at this moment (I have also found out that you have to be a GB at the very minimum to take the DFSS training) so I still have some time to think about it. I have three courses left to take to obtain my Vehicle design degree so maybe I will concentrate on that and then look at Six Sigma training.Kindest Regards
    Kathleen

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    #96083

    DaveG
    Participant

    Kathleen,
    You obviously have vision and drive;  they, along with experience, are essential.  Don’t think for a minute that Six Sigma, DMAIC or DFSS are a magic bullet that you must pay $$$ to have.  Get the knowledge at low cost:  corporate training, ASQ, networking, research, books.  You want to understand the appropriate best practices in design, which have existed for a long time:  DFSS just packages them.  Educate yourself on QFD, TRIZ, Shainin Methods, Concurrent Engineering, APQP, Taguchi, etc.
    Someone may say, probably correctly, that there are far more rigorous methods I haven’t mentioned, but again, don’t buy the big bucks training hype.
    Likely scenarios are (1) you will find an environment where advanced techniques are practiced, and you will need to demonstrate that you can work to their level, (2) you will have to lead an organization to embrace those techniques with management support, or (3) try to do it without management support.  Avoid (3) if you can.
    Good luck!

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    #96108

    Kathleen
    Participant

    Thanks DaveG,
      I have been seriously looking into DFSS for some time now but have not decided what to do yet. I have purchased the book “Design for Six Sigma” and am reading it to get a feel and be able to make a decision either way.
    I think that I will have to go the #3 route and the #2 route because I work for a small company that has absolutely not standard set up for performing any type of rituals. They are attempting to get certified this spring so I have some work to do to get the design department into shape. Keeping in mind that I am not the design manager I am a designer.
    I enjoy doing this stuff and it will prepare me for the future when I have to do it for another company as a manager. This will be my third company I have implemented QS standards — I don’t like to fail audits so I am in for a struggle from now until May.
    Thank you for this posting I am now going to look into all the stuff listed and see if there is anymore I can research. If the training is required, within the company I work for, I will take it but if not I think I will just hobble along as I am and learn as much as I can from anyone who will teach it.
    Kindest Regards,
    Kathleen

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