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how does six sigma interact

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  • #43139

    suzbq22
    Member

    The company I work for currently holds a certification for ISO 9001-2000 and is looking into a certification in six sigma.  My question is would it or is it in our best interest to pursue the six sigma certification if we have a working (and well I might add) QMS already in place?
    SUZ

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    #136533

    TwoCents
    Member

    Great question!
    I think it is definitely worth it.  I believe this because I think that what I’ll call a “traditional” QMS has many useful aspects, but often lacks the “horsepower” of the data collection and analysis techniques used in Six Sigma.
    For example:  Think about your FMEA and the things that are in it.  How did it come to be?  How did we rate things that are important to our process?  How did we decide what needed attention?  The answers are usually things like “knowledge of the process” and “past experience”.  Wouldn’t it be nice to back up those “theories” with a little experimentation and analysis?  Like maybe with a Six Sigma project or projects?
    Another question…you say you have a “working” QMS.  Do you still have defects or other quality problems?  If the answer is “no”, I’ll be shocked.  However if the answer is “yes”, then there are probably variables in your process that your QMS is not taking into account.  If we work under that assumption, how do we identify, analyze, and control those “mystery variables”?  I bet you can guess the answer I’d give. :)
    Finally, many of the tools that we use in Six Sigma are the very same tools that are used in QMS…SPC, Gage R&R, Capability Analysis, FMEA, Control Plan strategies, and others.  That means two things…first, if you have a working quality system and therefore people who have a thorough understanding of these tools, you will have a leg up on implementing Six Sigma.  Second, because of the additional training that your Six Sigma Black and Green Belts will receive, you will have additional resources available to assist with the use and interpretation of these tools (a win-win, in my mind).
    Can you tell that I hear this question a lot?  I think the merging of the two is great for both.  In addition, implementing Lean as the “third corner of the trifecta” is also a great idea, IMO.

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    #136534

    suzybq22
    Member

    okay with that being said, (I’ve given this alot of thought since my last post)  When looking to select our “belts” the existing project planners, engineers and managers would be the best candidates when looking at this certification – correct?  I like the idea of hiring someone who currently possess a black belt or is a black belt master, and letting them do the mentoring.
    I am the Lead Auditor for our ISO system, however I feel slightly inadequate and quite frankly a tad bit overwhelmed when thinking about “STATISICAL PROCESS ANALYSIS” although this concept is not completely foreign to me.
    We provide services to the government, and our defect/deficiency rate is quite low – which is evident by the ratings (constant government oversight and annual reviews) we receive from the DOD.

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    #136538

    TwoCents
    Member

    Depending on what types of processes you have, engineers are often the best choice.  Different organizations handle this different ways.  At my former employer (and Six Sigma training organization) Black Belts were selected from all over the org chart, from staff level managers to hourly operators.  Candidates were carefully interviewed, and then moved to full-time Black Belt roles.
    What you are basically looking for is someone with a) project management skills, b) leadership and communication skills, c) someone who can champion change, d) some basic mathematic aptitude.
    As for hiring a Black Belt or MBB…just be careful.  There are A LOT of charletans (sp?) out there, and so choosing the right person can be difficult, particularly for organizations that are new to this “stuff”.  I personally recommend against hiring out.  There’re are frankly just too many “mail order Six Sigma programs” out there for my taste.  I prefer that companies select high-potential candidates from within and then get them some training…at least then you know what you’re starting with.  Mentoring can be tough under this system, but if you find a good training provider who is willing to work one-on-one with your Belts, and are willing to invest some extra money for this development time, you can often have that taken care of as well.
    As for being overwhelmed about “Statistical Process Analysis” (ooohhh, scaaary!), don’t be.  It isn’t as bad as it sounds.  I always joke that the statistics that we use in Six Sigma is about chapter 1 through 4 of any decent Stats textbook. :)  But, it’s how you use those tools that’s important, and that’s what the methodology does for you.

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    #136741

    Ciaran
    Participant

    How do you propose to obtain certification for your organisation to Six Sigma? This is a new one to me. If your ISO certified QMS is working well then bravo!
    However, if your origanisation needs to improve performance, reduce process variation and eliminate waste then you should consider using Six Sigma. This will mean adopting a strategy of challenging the current QMS among many other things. This will mean resistance and adopting ways to overcome closed minds of people quite apart from the statistics which is only a small part of Six Sigma, by the way the use of statistics is supposed to be part of ISO 9000 as well, but off course ususally gets little attention.
    For my part ISO 9000 is a basic requirment of any organisation but potentially a recepie for disaster in that it is reactive instead of proactive and encourages a conservative approach with lots of corrective and preventative action, mainly after the fact. “What we have we hold and we follow only the SOP!” Six Sigma on the otherhand takes a proactive approach and seeks to improve radically the processes and systems. It is the thirsd part of the “Juran Trilogy” – Quality Improvement!
    Finally it is the individuals who hold the certifcation in Six Sigma tools and techniques and not the organisations. The processes withinthe organisation will have some level of capability measured in Sigma terms. Not all processes will be to Six Sigma within an organisation unless it is very small and so unlike ISO 9000 it will not be possible to “certify to six sigma” for a considerable time if ever and I am unaware of anybody who would provide such certification but then maybe I am open to correction.
    I hope this helps,
    Ciaran

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    #136752

    April
    Participant

    Take a look at ISO standards and you’ll find the same sixsigma tools. Just written in different way (less emphasis).

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