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Six Sigma ± Quality at the Core Six Sigma can be defined as a highly disciplined process that helps in developing and delivering near-perfect products and services. In today's highly competitive business environment, companies must delight customers and relentlessly look for new ways to exceed their customers¶ expectations. To achieve this, it is imperative that Six Sigma Quality becomes a part of corporate culture. Increased cost efficiency is only one side of the profit equation, increasing customer value to business and increasing customer base, belonging to the other side to the profit equation, are equally important areas of opportunity offered by the Six Sigma approach. Global corporations such as GE, Motorola, and Johnson & Johnson who have benefited immensely from their Six Sigma initiatives demonstrate this aptly.
The Evolution Motorola, the US-based mobile equipment giant, is credited for pioneering the concept of Six Sigma. The company began six Sigma initiative in the wake of tough competition it faced from Japanese rivals during the 1980s. Six Sigma enabled Motorola with a simple and confident way to track and compare performances based on customers¶ requirements (the sigma measure) and an ambitious target of practically perfect quality (the Six Sigma goal). The Six Sigma initiative helped Motorola strive for goals which appeared impossible in the beginning: an initial target in the early 1980s of ten times improvement over five years, was further raised to a goal of 10 times improvement every two years ± or 100 times in four years. Between 1987 and 1997, the company¶s sales jumped five-fold, while its profits grew at nearly 20 percent per year. Further, it made a cumulative saving of $14 billion.
The Rewards of Six Sigma Share a common goal: what everyone has in common is the delivery of products, services, or information to customers. It enables each individual, each business unit, and function in the organization assess their performance against the Six Sigma goal of near perfect product i.e. 99.997 percent ³perfect.´ Value to customers: This can be achieved only when businesses are able to deliver products or services, which are defect free and meet their customers¶ expectations well. What value means to customers and planning how to deliver it to them profitably. Dealing with strategic changes: As the business environment becomes more and more tough owing to rapid technological changes and shifting consumer preferences, bringing innovative products and services to the marketplace and tapping new area of growth have emerged as major challenges for companies.
The Six Sigma Roadmap The roadmap for establishing the Six Sigma system essentially comprises five activities 1.Identifying core processes and key customers 2.Defining customer requirement 3.Measuring current performance 4.Prioritizing, analyzing, and implementing improvements 5.Expanding and integrating the Six Sigma system One may likely need to adjust the order of these steps, or even start more than one of them simultaneously. One of the units of GE spent nearly two years launching dozens of Six Sigma improvement projects ± starting at Step 4 of the Roadmap. However, despite their best intentions and efforts to make those projects pay off, the rate of success did not meet expectations. Having realized it, the company revisited the Roadmap and then installed systems and processes to gather real-time voice of the customer data
Define roles of people involved in Six Sigma exercise and clarify responsibilities. ³Six Sigma´ Mission: A mission to change a)Mindset of people b)Confidence level c)Approach towards delivering quality & value to customer.(step2. the company¶s improvement efforts were focused on real customer needs. as well as measures to evaluate performance against customer ³Critical to Quality´ criteria (Step 3)> As a result. .
and business process.4 defects per million process. or service opportunities (DPMO). the impact on the bottomline next.THE SIX SIGMA APPROACH ³Six Sigma is a highly disciplined approach used to achieve break through improvement in manufacturing. It help to reduce the process variations to the extent that the level of defects is drastically reduced to less than 3.´ What is Six Sigma? Six sigma is a highly disciplined approach used to reduce the . the impact on customer satisfaction. product. and finally. engineering. Six Sigma projects are identified considering the strategic direction of the company first.
process variations to the extent that the level of defects are drastically reduced to less than 3.43 per cent parts at the end of the tenth stage. Let us assume that a part goes through ten operations. we get 904 good parts and scrap or rework 96 parts! The RTY of the process is 90. It is not very difficult to calculate that we get good 90.4 per million process. This means if we start with a batch of 1000 parts. At each stage 99 percent parts are good and 1 per cent are rejected.46% of the area lies within means m +2 68.43 per cent. The properties of normal distribution: 99.26% of the area lies within mean m + Another concept that is used as a metric in six sigma is Rolled Throughput Yield (RTY). .73% of the area lies within mean m +3 95. product or service opportunity (DPMO).
.Strategies for Six Sigma Introduction There are three different strategies adopted by different organizations: The six sigma organization The six sigma engineering organization Strategic selection of six sigma projects. The training is of varying depth for various levels. Goals are defined in terms of sigma. 1. the whole organization is trained on six sigma philosophy and methods. Six sigma serves as motivational device and also as metric. The Six Sigma Organization In this strategy. large resources are required for training.
individuals from other functions do not appreciate the efforts in absence of the awareness of the techniques. One of the advantages is the relatively higher level of educational and technical background of the individuals that enables them to learn at a faster pace. Impact on customer satisfaction. The projects objectives are usually based on new products.The Six Sigma Engineering Organization. On the other hand. Strategic Selection of Six Sigma Projects Six sigma projects are identified considering the: Strategic direction of the company. product changes or problem solving. Impact on the bottomline. .
Some of failure modes of this approach are: Some of the engineer tend to get isolated Communication barrier due to lack of common language. Criticism on Six Sigma Many feel that the tools used in the approach have been existing and only quantification of the metrics and direct relation to the bottomline makes it somewhat different. Failure to develop management understanding. Full time project leaders (sometimes called the Black Belts) are selected to execute the project. The project leaders go through in-depth training of six sigma approach and tools and work full time on the project. The project is expected to be completed in about six months.The projects having large impact requires project leaders with high degree of competence. These are sometimes called Green Belts. The projects of lesser complexity may not require full time resource. . Project leaders of such projects are chosen from the same functional area.
Another major criticism is about the price tag attached to the six sigma training. . Each of these strategies has advantages and potential failure modes that must be addressed and avoided.000! Conclusion Different strategies are used by organization to introduce and deploy six sigma approach. Typical price tag of a four-week black belt course is $ 25.
Opportunity: An opportunity is any area within a product. service. or other system where a defect could be produced or where you fail to achieve the ideal product in the eyes of the customer. CTQs are what the customer expects of a needs quite well but it is up to the business to convert those needs to measurable terms. . An opportunity is anything that you inspect. measure.The Elements of Six Sigma Some of the elements that make up a general Six Sigma initiative are: Unit: A unit is any item that is produced or processed which is liable for measurement or evaluation against predetermined criteria or standards. CTQ: CTQs (critical to Quality) are the key measurable characteristics of a must be met in order to satisfy the customer. or test on a unit that provides a chance of allowing a defect. process.
. It is a ratio of the number of defects over the number of units tested DPMO: Defects per Million Opportunities (DPMO) is the average number of defects per unit observed during an average production run divided by the number of opportunities to make a defect on the product under study during that run normalized to one million. a defect is a failure to conform to requirements and this is the case whether or not those requirements have been articulated or specified. A failure to meet one of the acceptance criteria of your customers. At a very general level. To convert the DPU to DPMO you simply multiply the DPU by 1.000.Defect: any type of undesired result is a defect. Defects per Million Opportunities is synonymous with Parts per Million (PPM). Defect perUnit: DPU or defects per unit is the average number of defects observed when sampling a certain population.000.
Firs time Yield (FTY) and Rolled Throughput Yield is the number of good units produced divided by the number of total units going in to the process. Yield: Yield is the percentage of a process that is free of defects. The FTY (also called the Firs Pass Yield is a good tool that can help measure the amount of rework in a given process. Another way to put it is that yield is defined as a percentage of met commitments (The sum total of defect free events) over the total number of opportunities for which that defect could appear. .Defects %: The total number of defects counted on the population in question divided by the total population count gives Defects %.
What are our overall business or process results> Are we meeting deadlines and profit goals? Are there areas (business units. Six Sigma is also about asking operational questions as you implement that targeted approach. processes) that are underperforming? Is there a lot of variation in our output performance? How effectively do we focus on and meet customer requirements? Do we compete mainly on price? What kind of value do we convey to our customers? Does our service match the quality of our products? How successful are our new products or service when released to the market? How efficiently are we operating? What level of rework and / or waste exists? Are we always solving problems that we . products.A Targeted Approach Six Sigma can and should be applied as a targeted approach.
. Tolerance for Failure The customer¶s definition of ³perfect´ changes and the organization¶s will as well. Be willing to accept and manage occasional setbacks. Much of Six Sigma project success is measured in financial terms. Six Sigma is uniquely driven by close understanding of customer needs. Six Sigma is a ³comprehensive and flexible system for achieving sustaining and maximizing business success. data. you have to have this tolerance else you will never try anything new because of the consequences of mistakes.never actually improve things? What is our cost per unit? Are our processes enhancing our ability to deliver value to customers or just enforcing rules and policies? Six Sigma projects begin and end with business considerations. Project selection and tracking focus on maximizing the benefit delivered to the business bottomline. Drive for Perfection. disciplined use of facts. and statistical analysis.
profitability. and competitiveness. You need a flexible system for sustained improvement. Quality System is a framework for actions that are constantly optimizing productivity.and diligent attention to managing. improving. properties.´ ³Business´ is an interconnected system of processes and customers. communication. and characteristics of product in the context of the expectations and needs of customers and users of the product. Habits that drive a culture be effective so that they drive towards customer satisfaction. and reinventing business processes. You do not want . These are three elements that an organization is (or should be!) concerned with. A system is a combination of the technology and people working together to solve problems in order to reach goals. and value within a business in order to achieve the aim of measuring the attributes.
to tie your overall strategy into a single method or process but rather you want a way to improve upon and sustain the contextual successes of various type of methods and processes. rework or delays. realize that it is broken up into three Parts: Business transformation: A major shift in how the organization works. Strategic improvement: Targets key strategic or operational weaknesses or opportunities. aka culture change. Problem solving: Fixes specific areas of high cost. . As a final note on the focus of Six Sigma.
It also relies (for its power) on the use of 140 statistical tools and concepts to effectively define. typically on a cost basis. Tony Bendell and Ted Marra explain why. Six Sigma focuses on Juran¶s concept of project-by-project improvement with clear responsibilities and authority. a black belt will train for 20 days and a green belt 10 to15. and before and after performance measurement. measure. .´ Prof. analyze and control variation. it also brings about improvements in customer satisfaction by increasing performance and reducing variation potentially.Six Sigma ± Beyond Cost Cutting ³Six sigma delivers impressive reductions in cost and. But there is much more to six sigma than cost reduction. but the integrated projects approach ensures that the transfer of theory to application takes place quickly and effectively. Typically.
Is it about the Customers or not? Causality with Six Sigma Objectives Variation down and performance up Defectivity down Customer satisfaction up Cost down The Simplified Cost Down Operational Model Variation down and performance up Defectivity down Cost down .
An Alternative Six Sigma Causal Model Variation down and performance up Defectivity down Cost down Customer satisfaction up Sales up through increased customer value and new customers Profit up .
which is applicable in both manufacturing as service industries. Whilst cost down is clearly results-driven. The traditional six sigma approach focuses on cost and time minimization. Which of these three opportunities you focus on largely reflects the culture in which you are working. but it may make a major difference to project activity.Three areas of opportunity for six sigma project in customer-focused organizations are: Reductions in costs Increasing customer value to the business Increasing customer base ± if the market is constant. it is more easily measurable than the other . this would equate to increasing marketshare.
the project basis. Projects and project teams should no longer be so artificially confined to single functional area.results categories of customer value and marketshare. Strategically. the starting point. whether your organization is new to six . Profit maximization rather than cost minimization should take place in sales and marketing rather than just manufacturing but also that different types of project and project team are required to respond to maximization of customer value. but will need to become multifunctional in nature and broader and bigger. which are slower to respond and more affected by other influences. clear responsibility. integrated training etc. ± but extend the toolkit and methodology. How do we implement this broader concept of six sigma? Keep the six sigma infrastructure .
is to take stock of your objectives or desired outcomes. . The next stage is to think through the causal theory to connect your desired objectives or outcome to the processes of your business.sigma or very experienced. namely. Project Tracking and Support is most often the determinant of truly successful programs. and Project Tracking and Support. But it does need a cultural change and a less functional way of organizing ± and it¶s worth it. Practitioner Training. Project Identification Process. Infrastructure for Six Sigma For successful execution of a six sigma project it is important to have a well laid-out infrastructure in place. The six sigma infrastructure comprises of mainly four elements. Leadership Training. it is just more sensible and less limited. Customer-focused six sigma is not fundamentally different to traditional six sigma. Although. the success of a six sigma initiative would depend on all of these four elements.
Increasing the value of the firm typically involves three steps shown in Figure .Successful executives are highly focused on one fundamental goal: Increasing the value of the firm while simultaneously honoring the social responsibility of the firm.
Leadership Pyramid Value Increase Strategy Methodology & Infrastructure Organizational Activities & Resources .
high inventory levels. thus providing savvy leadership a veritable goldmine of quantifiable opportunity. It is successful because no-value added expenses often represent up to 50 percent of an organization¶s cost structure. warranty claims. defects.Six Sigma has been utilized in manufacturing as well as in service and other non-manufacturing environments. The six sigma infrastructure consists of the following elements: Project Identification Process Leadership Training Practitioner Training Project Tracking and Support . Typical opportunities that are addressed with this approach are: Low yield. etc. administrative and financial errors. excessive inspection.
Greenbelts are typically not removed from their day-to-day function and complete project work as part of their normal task. time commitment.The Practitioner Training is depending on the ability. and project opportunities. . three training levels are commonly found: Greenbelts Blackbelts Masters Greenbelts are formally trained for the duration of 5-10 days. They are exposed to the fundamental tools that are required on almost any project.
such that poor performance is immediately recognized and addressed. The duration for Masters training is 12-18 months.Blackbelts are usually trained for 20-25 days over the course of 4-5 months. . Masters are those individuals that may eventually replace the external consultants. Blackbelts are typically dedicated to the improvement effort for the duration of the training. They typically attend 5 consecutive days of classroom training. Management must have visibility of project progress. then apply the learned principles on their respective projects before they return to the classroom for the next 5-day-session of training. ³Project tracking and support´ Project tracking should be wellintegrated into the business tracking mechanism. project experience. technically much more complex. They should be rigorously trained and gain additional.
The infrastructure associated with Six Sigma is applicable across industries. functions and cultures. Six Sigma has proven to be a substantial value generator for many organizations. Six Sigma has proven to be a methodology. The detailed program content.Project support is most often the determinant of truly successful programs. If operational opportunities exist. the availability of both onsite and offsite support is critical to ensure projects move quickly. . executives can utilize to increase firm value without making large investments. the exact tools and their presentation must be altered and supplemented to provide the most efficient tool set given the operational challenges and opportunities of the specific firm. yet other tools must be provided in addition to the ones traditionally used in manufacturing. Especially when the organization is new to the methodology. In service applications.
The real benefits are new ways of thinking and a culture of accountability that manifest when a company earnestly pursues six sigma. Six sigma companies can become more than the sum of their parts through a shared problem-solving language that creates common ground and accelerates the learning process across organizational and national boundaries. If six sigma defects per million opportunities is just incidental. Statistical Thinking: Variation Becoming a Six Sigma organization means embracing the fundamentals of statistical thinking: . offering a wide range of products and services from different business units.Six Sigma¶s Intangibles Tody¶s global businesses operate across a diverse range of geographies and cultures.
Customers don¶t experience your average ± they experience your variability. Understanding the importance of variation gives Six Sigma companies another evenue for improving. They move their averages by understanding and reducing the variation of processes that affect customers. Most organizations report and manage averages. All outcomes are produced through a series of interconnected processes All processes vary The keys to success are understanding and reducing variation. .
x3«xn are the key factors that influence the outcome you are trying to drive. Why is there so much variation in this process? .Causal Thinking and leading Indicators A third kind of thinking that permeates Six Sigma organizations is causal thinking. Let¶s say the credit approval process consists of four steps: submission. you are trying to reduce the cycle time for credit approvals. The overall cycle time is obviously a function of the cycle time of each step. method of transmission/notification. This is often expressed as y = f(x1. x2. The cycle time of each sub-step would be a function of other variable such as resource availability. amount of missing information on the application from. etc. x2. ³f´ is read´ is a function of´ and the x1. wait queues.´y´ is some outcome you care about. For example. x3«xn). keying. decision and notification. How do you begin to identify the key xs? The first step is to make the invisible variation visible. number of steps.
generating hypotheses. outcomes) you are trying to improve. what would it mean to have employees in your company thinking about causes. Even if you never achieved 3. whether you¶re getting better. These dashboards are displayed and discussed in open forums and show.Once the key Xs have been identified. This is the beginning of an internal business dashboard (that augments the customer dashboard described previously). in no uncertain terms. tracking leading measures posted prominently so you can tell if you¶re improving or not? ..4 DPMO.e. they become leading indicators or early warning systems for the performance of the Ys (i.
This common approach/language facilitates best-practice sharing and can dramatically accelerate the learning process and speed of improvements. As Six Sigma methodology becomes part of the way business is done.Common Language and Accelerated Learning Six Sigma companies have another tool. Despite internal organizational differences. everyone thinks about and attacks efficiency and effectiveness challenges with a similar approach. the need to increase customer effectiveness and shareholder efficiency are common denominators. it would be a mistake to underestimate the kind of competitive advantage that can be achieved by accelerating the learning process organization-wide. . In the face of increasingly fierce global competition. They become more than the sum of their parts through a shared problem-solving language that creates common ground and accelerates the learning process across organizational boundaries.
´ Accountability to customers to drive out variation and meet their specifications. the transformation of your company would have occurred long before. . both inside and outside operational areas. The synergistic.A Culture of Accountability A broad quest for Six Sigma. When (or even if) achievement of 3. Six Sigma companies understand customer specifications. accountability to shareholders to improve efficiency of internal processes. net effect of these changes is the creation of a ³culture of accountability. Continuously monitor outcome and leading indicator performance and report performance in open forums.4 DPMO is incidental. and accountability to employees to make the investments and remove roadblocks so efficiency and effectiveness improvements can be achieved and maintained. catalyzes a top-to-bottom change in thinking and in the way work gets done.
and. a paradigm shift towards an expectation of the highest quality. Motorola. and additional inspections. and the internal defects. whose education and training arm. shifting from an organizational focus to a customer focus. . It¶s a concept for now and well into the next century: focusing on the customer and not the product! It results in a cultural change in a company. which then drives a passion for continuous improvement by all the players. Improvement can really begin once companies assessed the defect levels of their customer¶s experience.Total Customer Satisfaction Six Sigma projects should focus on the customer and not on the product. Motorola University (MU) teaches the Six Sigma concepts and courses. this would hold the key to success for any six sigma initiative. which require rework. People should look outwards. has saved billions of dollars for tits worldwide corporation by following what they teach.
three newborn babies dropped in 100 years and unsafe drinking water one second every 16 years. were trained. In comparison.73 percent quality. but pretty close. European and American companies. At 99. more than 40. Six Sigma is attainable with time and strong dedication. chosen from among successful line managers. . you¶d get one wrong drug prescription in 25 years. He plunged into researching the methodologies adopted by Japanese.4 defects per one million opportunities ± not perfect. Making a Change Chairman AH Premji felt that Indian industry needed to substantially upgrade its understanding and practice of quality to compate in the international market. then 12 facilitators.A performance level of Six Sigma equates to 3. at six Sigma quality.500 new born babies accidentally dropped in the hospital each year and unsafe drinking water almost 2 hours each month. The chairman and senior management had a six-day training retreat.00 wrong drug prescriptions each year. you have at least 54.
many people have difficulty giving up the old and embracing the new.´ . People now talk about the customer.Accepting the Challenge Making designs more robust and reducing the opportunity for defects to creep into the final product is a one-time expense. can cost a company as much as 10-15 percent of its revenues. Product complexity is growing exponentially. Sigma level and a plan for continuous improvement. excessive scrap and unhappy customers will continue through the product¶s life. For GE. Six Sigma is making people look outwards. and we are shifting from an organizational focus to a customer focus. that would mean $8-12 billion. average for most US companies. ³In India. If it¶s not done. But the mindset is changing. ³First of all. rework. defects. A three-to-four Sigma level. we now have a common language across our divisions. Wipro also reports successes in its first year. the cost of repairs.
The key components of the MU Six Sigma program are: a goal of total customer satisfaction. .The First Step Other re-engineering programs often advocate tearing down an organization and rebuilding from scratch. Every company is different and one must account for each organization¶s strengths and weaknesses and leverage them accordingly. uniform quality measurement techniques for all business areas. based on uniform metrices. goals with identical improvement rates. MU¶s attitude and advice is to start where you are. common. There is no one set procedure. a common language throughout the organization at all levels and at all functions. build on current successes and modify your current processes. coordinated training in ³why´ and ³how´ to achieve the goal.
then improvement can really begin. . but also the internal defects which require rework. and product higher costs. additional inspections. not Emotion Six Sigma champions say there are plenty of things to count and measure and benchmark regardless of the type of business.Management by Facts. security. how to run the cafeteria. warehousing. whether it¶s an attorney¶s office or a car rental company. you can look at all kinds of divisions ± personnel policies. Perhaps the biggest mandate of Six Sigma is NEVER REST Many companies who are content with their current quality level simply don¶t understand the real challenge of quality. Once you have a full assessment. And within a company. They need to determine not only the defect levels their customers experience.
an organization has to begin with a three-step procedure. .Six Sigma ± Getting Started To start a successful Six Sigma implementation. the organization has to determine what it knows about its customers and competitors. The third step involves holding Six Sigma improvement workshops so as to make people familiar with Six Sigma methods and strategy and how they will be integrated into the organization¶s existing business plan to drive improved performance and lower costs. The next step is to develop a vision of how Six Sigma can help the organization meet its business goals. In the first step.
2. 5. Successful six sigma implementations are driven by committed leaders with µedge¶« the ability to make tough decisions with long-term implications. Because it¶s such a robust approach to quality improvement. Six sigma requires disciplined customer and market intelligence gathering.Blakeslee¶s seven requirements for successful six sigma investments: 1. and key performance measures. six sigma can help a company realize quantum leaps in quality and competitiveness. . business strategy. But getting there requires a highly focused approach. 4. 3. Successful Six Sigma efforts are supported with a framework of process thinking. Six sigma projects must produce real savings or revenues. Six Sigma efforts must be integrated with existing initiatives.
find the CEO convening a two day session with the company¶s top leadership . to develop a vision of how six sigma can help the organization meet its business goals . the team determines what the organization knows about its customers and competitors. ... Getting Started Organizational assessment: based on interviews with business-unit leaders and key staff. Executive action planning workshop: Stage two.6. 7. Six sigma efforts are led in the trenches by a trained core of full-time team leaders« known as µblackbelts¶ and µmaster blackbelts¶ six sigma is sustained by continuous reinforcement and reward of leaders who support initiatives and improvement teams.. the CEO emphasizes that six sigma will be the primary tool by which the organization stays tied to its customers and markets. 2. 1.
4.3. Leading six sigma improvement workshops: ³Within weeks. six sigma team leaders . These workshops acquaint people with six sigma methods and strategy and how they will be integrated into the unit¶s existing business plan to drive improved performance and lower costs. ³Just-in-time six sigma team-leader training: With an initial portfolio of project ideas now defined and challenging goals to achieve. the lead business unit convenes a series of working sessions to begin the six sigma implementation process.
and calculate process sigma. know how to do regression anlysis and design of experiments. Four weeks of interactive training will cover the definition and planning of project goals and the mapping. Team members must learn how to measure the factors on which their customers base buying decisions.convene for training. Over the next 90 to 120 days. measurement. They must also learn to manage the work of improvement teams and how to incorporate improvements into the organization. and by the end of training. and analysis of existing business processes. the team has much to accomplish. They must learn the concept of statistical thinking. conduct sampling. .
One danger of the top-down. Therefore. a blended approach where executive preparation along with green and black belts training is preferable.Training for Six Sigma All organizations going for six sigma projects face this dilemmashould they train all employees or start with targeted employees. . full training approach is that by the time it reaches the Green Belts actually doing the project. middle and upper managers may be discouraged by the lack of progress.
. Analyze. Measure.537 66.1% 93. commonly referred to as DMAIC.210 233 3.Sigma Capabilities Capability Defects per Million Opportunities (DPMO) Yield (no defects) 2 3 4 5 6 308.97% 99.3% 9.4% 99.4 69.807 6.99966% Define. Improve and Control.
. not yet widely accepted.Six Sigma Training Levels Once committed to six sigma methodology. It is often done onsite. including DMAIC and simple statistical methods. given the large number of employees who can participate. A three-to five-day quick overview gives participants a basic understanding of the Six Sigma methodology. learning can be organized by degree of employee involvement: Yellow Belt Green Belt Black Belt Master Black Belt Champion Yellow belt is a relatively new level.
Considered the key change agent. Black belt plays the role of project leader and sometimes as coach for a number of projects. Training consists of advanced statistical methods. the Black belt must be technically oriented. a master or the advanced tools and a project leader. Training consists of the application of DMAIC. Certification as a black belt requires leading a project with a higher bottomline improvement. Certification as a Green Belt requires work on a project with a reasonable bottomline improvement. separated by about a month. process analysis and statistical analysis. Training is delivered over four weeks separated so that the learner can lead a six sigma project. Training is typically two weeks.Green Belt is the role of project participant. so that the learner can participate in a six sigma project. project leadership and advanced six sigma methods. . project planning.
six sigma methods. manager of black belts. Training lasts four weeks at minimum. The champion role is the senior management leader of Sis sigma implementation. training capabilities and leadership and communication skills. The weeks are separated so that the learner can lead a six sigma project. project leadership.Master Black Belt has the role of senior leader. Training of three to four days includes the basics of six sigma and is designed to prepare the Champion to give leadership to the Six Sigma team to prepare the Champion to give leadership to the Six Sigma team. internal consultant and in-house trainer. . often more depending on additional content. Training consists of advanced statistical methods.
At times. the technique was relegated to the ³process specialists´ who emphasized the tools and not the change in mindset and culture. The CLO must ensure that the organization¶s employees are ready to undertake this initiative with the right skills and understanding. Six Sigma efforts have failed in some organizations because of the lack of adequate preparation of the workforce. Here are some suggestions for using the DMAIC framework to improve the quality of the learning process: . it takes the seasoned approach of a CLO to continue the dedication to the effort. Since Six Sigma is not an event but a transformation.Leadership Expectations for the CLO The chief learning officer becomes a primary leader of change in the Six Sigma process.
New incentives? Central control of vendor sourcing and training expenditures? . or would central locations help keep the costs down? Control: once new procedures are in place. Measure: once the key CTQs have been developed. determine measurable metrics and collect data from customers to determine how effective learning and training activities have been. This is often the most difficult part of the process since ³ways of doing things´ will be challenged. Analyze: Are there certain topics. Calculate the number of defects per million opportunities and find the sigma capability level. Can training be prove onsite. locations. work on controlling the process to prevent sliding back to the old way of doing things. trainers.Define: the development of a CTQ tree is vital to ensure that the proper critical processes are measured and that improvements are made that have an impact on customers. materials or methods that are more or less effective than others? Improve: find solutions.
In order to meet the annual cost reduction target. site Master Black Belt commit to the savings by signing the project charter in advance whilst ensuring the finance department is not involved.Selecting Six Sigma Projects ± A New Approach There has been considerable discussion about which projects to select and how to select them in virtually all companies who have been engaged in Six Sigma deployments. . Ensure the responsibility for project selection is delegated by the process owner to a new Black Belt who has not yet started training. The authors have drawn on their experience to develop a new approach which is covered in this article. Ensure at least three other groups are working on the same thing but with different deadlines and no defined metrics.
µjust do it¶ projects. no up front buy-in. Project Scope Scoping a project can seem difficult. If you think the project will take longer than six months don¶t fall into the trap of splitting it into smaller projects and letting the (trainee) Black Belt off the hook. misalignment with company objectives. Choose either a µboil a ocean¶ project such as raise strategic business unit profit by 25% or a µboil a teacup¶ project such as reduce scrap on a specific part from 0. Project Duration Guidelines Ideally projects should take much longer than 6 months. the six sigma projects that work best are. Fortunately there is a choice. lack of resource availability. A project should never take less than 4 months or managers will think it wasn¶t worth doing. . Since these are difficult to deal with.Key Factors Key factors for good six sigma project include vagueness of scope.23 percent. low priority and data unavailability.25 percent to 0.
the major issues that may prevent these objectives being met are reviewed. Project Idea Generation There are 3 main options to generating project ideas. Using a product or process tree (critical to quality/delivery/cost/safety tree) to focus on Y=f(s). A top down approach can also be used. Instead focus on the second source-cost savings projects. Don¶t identify processes that are critical to customer and operating at high defect levels. The first is process quality. The third source is product focused. Looking at a product or service that is causing little customer dissatisfaction can lead to a focus on a whole series of processes that feed the product or service. .Finding Suitable Project Sources There are 4 main sources for six sigma projects. and then projects are found that will ³make the numbers´. Here projects are selected based on the magnitude of the problem. Cost targets are set. After confirming last night¶s latest company goals/objectives. The fourth and last source is problem focus.
Thirdly. Soft savings are so called because they are really hard to find and quantify. Financial Saving Potential Include only hard savings and ignore soft savings. Managers can agree that their people have a better handle on what problems exist in the business and so they may as well pick the projects. a bottom up approach can be used. .
it would enhance their current improvement efforts. Making Improvements is a Core Activity World-class companies see improvement as a critical business process. Improvement has specific measurable goals. .Way to A Successful Implementation Process By Joe Liddane and John Hutchinson Six Sigma has been hailed as the next great thing in operational improvement. They knew Six Sigma wouldn¶t replace what they were currently doing.GE had tested Six Sigma for months to understand the benefits to its business and fine-tune the implementation requirement. a business plan to reach those goals and resources dedicated to implementing the plan. But can an approach born in electronics manufacturing and implemented throughout GE really help to improve financial services? And what needs to be done to ensure successful implementation? Many have found the hard way that one size does not fit all.
profits. Process errors: Errors are not defects. Developing your Improvement Strategy Successful companies recognize that every improvement opportunity requires a unique approach. which had to be achieved in order for management teams to be eligible for their annual bonus. marketshare and improvement were on everyone¶s goal sheets.To reinforce his commitment set specific goals. Errors are still in process. it means some part of the process is out of control. improvement teams track it back µupstream¶ like a gold miner. 3. Waste and slack: ³Why improve something if it doesn¶t need doing in the first place?´ 2. . Variability: When variability is measured in a result. and must be stopped or they will add cost and reduce quality. Costs. The latter are passed on to customers. To get to the root of the variability. 1. revenues. Integrate improvement into the performance review system used for other important business results. to the processes that created it.
Four Approaches to improvement: Approach Fast Comprehensive Proactive Autonomous Waste Issues Variability Errors Fast: achieving significant goals quickly. Comprehensive: solving complex problems which do not have easily identifiable solutions. Proactive: Developing more robust processes that avoid waste. variability & errors Autonomous: Making improvement as automatic and natural as breathing. .
Making Improvement Efforts Successful Those organizations which have learnt how to develop and sustain a culture of successful improvement recognize the need to: Set ambitious goals and timescales. Work top down and bottom up. Involve people who actually do the work & also are senior managers. Demanding time scales avoid side of losing momentum & enthusiasm. Learn how to scale up. Challenging goals can appear unreasonable but produce new thinking & innovation. . Most improvement projects involve a high degree of technical skills but real wins are in system wide improvements.
the safety function must prove to be valueadded to the business and work towards a world-class safety culture that helps to place the business at a distinct advantage among its competitors. cost of accidents as a percent of manufacturing costs. and specific goals and action plans that ensure continual improvement. your customers are the employees. In safety. Showing safety performance in six sigma terms helps to justify the time and resources needed to continue with safety teams and work on projects that continually improve safety performance. . Metrics must be shown along with goals and action plan that demonstrate accident and injury reduction.Using Six Sigma in Safety Metrics In an organization.
Six Sigma Process Capability Vs Errors per Million Opportunities Sigma Process Capability Defects per Million Opportunities 6 5 4 3 2 3.4 233 6.537 .807 308.210 66.
Variation is the cause of defects and out-of-control processes. Ensure continuous improvement TCS (Total Customer Satisfaction) teams working on safety issues in Motorola since 1991. Defects that reach the customers are significant problems that can result in customer dissatisfaction. Define the process. Identify the product or service you provide. Identify your needs. Our service is to provide a safe and healthy work environment. Team Approach to Six Sigma Safety Metrics Motorola¶s Six Steps to Six Sigma: 1. and 6. In manufacturing. 2. In a service industry. it could quantify delays in delivery or other customer requirements. 3. . Identify the customer(s) for your product or service. resultant loss in customers and the demise of an organization or business. Mistake proof the process. 4. for instance. 5. it could be used to measure the number of sub-standard products.Sigma is a statistical measure of variability in a given process.
Pay back is demonstrated to the businesses when you show the cost of injuries. A culture of employees and managers who believe that working safely is esteemed. and /or programs that would eliminate the type of injury or hazard being targeted. The needs included those tools. and finally. Mistake-proofing the process required testing and awareness among everyone involved. and that these . equipment. Over time you have created a safety culture. processes. as well as contractors and managers. We defined the process of the root causes contributing to the hazard or injuries so we could target each.Customers are all associates. direct. continual improvement involved institutionalizing the remedies so that process specifications. hidden and total. procedures and awareness across all groups and functions prevented or greatly reduced the injury or hazard type.
parts permillion in errors and sigma educate all the managers that safety and accident prevention can be managed the same as production and quality. defects per unit.costs are. a percent of manufacturing costs. in fact. . Charts showing injuries as defects in the system. When you demonstrate continual improvement year over year you are successfully making the safety function value-added to the business. Showing the Metrics The safety professional must show six sigma safety metrics to managers in quality and operations reviews in order to keep safety performance on the agenda.
In order for any process capability to be accurately calculated in a Six Sigma sense. Every minute of potential uptime (³the service is available´) is an opportunity. In case of an internet Service Provider. units. . Six sigma helps in bringing down this defect level. it measures its performance in uptime of available servers. In Six Sigma this is a product or service characteristic that must be met to satisfy a customers specification or requirement or service level agreement. and opportunities. whereas every minute of downtime (³the service is not available´) is a defect in the eyes of the customer.Six Sigma in Software By Jeff Nyman Six Sigma is applied into software by breaking things up into failure and fault. one must properly define and quantify the process defects.
. The term µcustomer¶ refers to both internal and external customers.Define your product / service defects A defect is any part of the product or service that i) Does not meet customer specification or requirements ii) Causes customer dissatisfaction or iii) Does not fulfill the functional requirements.
if dealing with a service. like a unit. The final requirement of an opportunity is that it directly relates to the customer CTQ. opportunities are the total number of chances per unit to have a defect. methodology. The philosophy is the reduction of variation in your business processes and . It may manifest itself as a physical unit or. Concept or Process? A lot of people consider Six Sigma to be ³only´ a statistical concept. each opportunity must generally be independent of other opportunities and. and philosophy. In Six Sigma in the ³manufacturing sense´. Others say that it is a structured process. In fact it is a three-part framework: metric. must be measurable and observable. Define your Product/Service Opportunities Simply stated. it may have specific start and stop points. The total count of opportunities indicates (in one sense) the complexity of product or service.Define your Product/Service Units It is a measurable and observable output of your business process.
It is a measure not of the product. the audio speaker and the automobile can easily have the same sigma capability. .the adherence to customer-focused. the greater is the like hood that a defect will exit somewhere with the product. The metric is often given as DPM) (Defects per Million Opportunities).4 defects per million opportunities for such a defect to occur. Measure. but of the performance of the product. Six Sigma means that within a single automobile. The more complex a product is. So while a complex automobile may have more defects per unit. data-driven decisions. When an automobile is described as ³Six Sigma´. we say that the average opportunity for non-conformance within a product is Six Sigma. So rather than stating that a product is Six Sigma. Improve. Analyze.4 automobiles out of one million will be defective. Control). this does not mean that only 3. the average opportunity for a defect of a critical-to-quality characteristic is only 3. A method for this is often given as DMAIC (Define.
measures to be taken. (the distinction in Six Sigma is between ³common causes of variation´ and ³special causes of variation´.) One could make the same argument for other processes that exist as well. While elements within an organization will vary and will certainly be unique. I think part of the problem is that everyone thinks software development is so unique and yet studies like design patterns and software engineering practices suggest that there are a lot of common grounding elements to the discipline that make it amenable to something like Six Sigma. processes to be implemented. . and variations to be analyzed.Is software too Unique? Software has a lot of non-unique components I would maintain when you look at it from the standpoint of units to be tested or considered. much of the Six Sigma framework can be applied in a very similar fashion.
Simple Example Let us say that an internet Service Provider measures their performance in uptime of available servers. Every minute of potential uptime (³the service is available´) is an opportunity, every minute of downtime (³the service is not available´) is a defect in the eyes of a customer. Data is continuously taken (i.e., the server farm is constantly monitored), the process capability (to maintain the server farm) is measured, and the yield is calculated to be 99.9 percent. The internet Service Provider is satisfied with their current performance and the customer¶s needs are being met.
What is an opportunity here? An opportunity is the lowest defect noticeable by a customer. An opportunity could be defined as sixty seconds of uptime. Say that this was determined to be the lowest (shortest) time period that was noticeable by a customer. Or one might argue instead for twenty seconds. Or even three seconds. ± about the perceptual limit with most activities on a web-based platform given other technology limitations. Such as perceptions of browser activity.
What is a defect here?
A defect is defined by the customer as sixty seconds ( or twenty seconds or three seconds) of downtime. An additional defect would be noticed for every time unit that elapsed where the customer did not have access to the Internet Service Provider¶s services (i.e., the web servers). Applying Six Sigma in Software Development Six Sigma is a framework that encapsulates a series of very powerful concept that have empirically proven their worth (or at least their capability to be effective if utilized appropriately and in the right context) and Six Sigma attempts to provide a unifying system for those concepts ( in much the same way that Rational Unified Process does, but a t a different level). So saying ³Six Sigma is impractical for software´ is, to me, like saying ³the Rational Unified Process is impractical for software development´. Both statements would be treating the concept as some ³thing´ instead of a framework that can be utilized to varying degrees and for varying purposes based on need.
Lean Six Sigma
Business fundamentally exists to make money, either for shareholders or owners. Lean Six Sigma is a combination of methodologies to provide your organization with greater speed, less variation and more bottomline impact that any other methodology. The fusion of Lean and Six Sigma is necessary because: Lean cannot bring a process under statistical control Six Sigma alone cannot dramatically improve process speed or reduce invested capital. Variation is the enemy of all business; Lean Six Sigma removes more variation than any other process.
Ten Steps to Lean Six Sigma 1. You will initially require consultant to help you on this path, but they should easily pay for themselves over the long run. You can (should), however, expect significant returns within the first year of application. Hence the first step is to go and get help. 2. Big Hairy Audacious Goals need to be set by the MD or CEO, Management engagement into Lean Six Sigma occurs and is seen to occur in a big way. These goals are, broadcast to the company during a µtransformation event, which is quite an accurate description. 3. Selection of the Practitioners Selection of the black belt teams is an art form in itself and wants to be done carefully. The best people should be selected and should represent the future business leaders of the company.
Project Selection and Implementation. training. the ³value streams´ that show the most promise for growth are identified.4. At first you should hang onto your consultants for this purpose. . which is quickly followed by projects that will most likely yield the greatest benefits in those value steams. Kickoff ± Company-wide Vision. 5. Quite a lot of training is necessary and you should be prepared for this. Training. It¶s time to bring those audacious goals into action and make sure that everyone understands them and that you and the company are totally committed to Lean Six Sigma. Firstly. training. The master black belt is ultimately responsible for the training of the black and green belts. 6.
Improving Team Performance. Reviewing the structure of your teams and in particular the ability of your black belts to perform as team leaders is fundamental to success. 9. Monitoring Teams Performance. Making it Stick. team realignment and training in soft people skills is always required. Ensuring that the improvements initially gained continue to roll in. can be difficult for many firms. Since the Lean Six Sigma is a financial improvement strategy.7. 8. Simple software tools can be used to roll up all those lovely cost savings. Making sure your initial enthusiasm doesn¶t wane is key to continued success. which talks the language of the senior management it is easy for them to monitor ad ensure that the teams are producing the necessary improvements. .
This will also be the primary conduit along the career path for future managers of the business. . you will start to notice that more and more problems are surfacing due to external variations. Rolling out into the Supply Chain. Duration of Lean Six Sigma Lean Six Sigma is a permanent way of doing business and is utilized as the primary methodology for business improvement through cost reduction. Projects involving the supply chain will be more frequently suggested. process speed and variation removal. After successful projects have delivered real benefits to the company.10. Make no mistake Lean Six Sigma needs to be a primary focus of the MD or CEO. remember here that it is supply chains that compete not companies.
No improvements projects are undertaken under Lean Six Sigma without the numbers showing that definite improvements will be made to the bottomline. the black belts. will be given target cost savings to meet every year. the main practioners of Lean Six Sigma. it can and does improve the quality of products but only in a limited fashion.So why use this rather than TQM Total Quality Management (TQM) received a bit of a bum rap primarily because quality improvements were made regardless of the impact on the bottomline of the company. The MD or CEO will monitor the savings being made on the improvements projects to ensure that the program is improving the bottomline. the Six Sigma toolkit is powerful indeed in comparison. In fact. . Lean Manufacturing cannot bring a process under statistical control.
The immediate benefits of Lean are that cash becomes readily available. Shorter lead times and smaller batch sizes and stock levels wide ranging benefits: .Six Sigma on the other hand can¶t really affect the time traps and process speed that Lean manufacturing does and in addition you¶ll find that if you do Lean you¶ll probably end up reinventing Six Sigma and vice versa. generally from stock having to be used up and from Work In Progress (WIP) being dramatically reduced. Reductions in Costs from Applying Lean Reductions in costs do not occur simply from reduced scrap and rework from less WIP or just from less stock and WIP.
Shipping large quantities of products in one go. stock control and planning Fewer customer service activities With less WIP you also avoid 1. whilst paying for the equipment all the time. Expeditors. 6. Making to forecast or making too much to attain an economic batch size and then having to store the rest. Shipping defects to customer 2. 3. Creating defects by having parts lying around 5. overtime and supervisors 4. A cluttered shop floor full of WIP. Shorter lead-time ± which can increase revenue growth Less Handling Less storage. .
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