Identification of Six Sigma Projects – Idea Generation

We had some guidance on the six Sigma Projects. Now let us focus on identification of Six Sigma Projects.
Six Sigma is accomplished one project at a time. Identification of Six Sigma Projects shall aim at breakthrough Improvements and not simple goals. The billion of dollars saved by companies around the world is the cumulative effect of properly selecting and defining business issues that can be assigned to Green Belts and Black Belts for solution.  Six Sigma projects are a key action that you can take to reach your organization’s strategic goals.

I have gathered some of the ideas for the Six Sigma Projects from Various Sources. Some of these are obvious and can be applied across any organization after careful evaluation. You can study them, based on your current status these can be implemented formally as projects. the prioritization shall be specific to the organization. The best approach would be pick the idea, do a brainstorming and finally come to a conclusion on the priorities. The prioritization can be done based on the current status, Quickness in results, availability of data, and so on. One of the Main criteria shall be the priorities of the Top Management who must commit the resources and give support for the project to be a success.

General Ideas for Six Sigma Projects.

  1. Customer Satisfaction improvement.
  2. Reduce the Scrap or rejections
  3. Reduce the down time of resources (Machinery) or to increase uptime.
  4. Reduce the Rework
  5. Increase the output
  6. Increase throughput (output from multiple processes, locations, departments) or Reduce bottlenecks
  7. Reduce Quality Defects from the output
  8. Reduce customer complaints.
  9. Increase the process Velocity ( lean)
  10. Any item reworked in a process (sales contracts, invoices, surgeries, software, etc.)
  11. Reduce the Process Variation (Sales, Purchase, Recruitment  Etc)
  12. Reduce Variation of input consumption (product)
  13. Reduce the time taken for Inspection
  14. Reduce the multiple hand-offs
  15. Findings from the Internal, External, Customer and Regulatory Audits
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Originally posted 2013-02-23 19:15:00.

What is Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a Lean tool, to visualize the various steps and their contribution to the overall process.
Value
When a product or service has been perceived or appraised to fulfill a need or desire–as defined by the customer–the product or service may be said to have value or worth. Components of value may include quality, utility, functionality, capacity, aesthetics, timeliness or availability, price, etc.
Value Stream

All the activities (both value-added and non-value added) required within an organization to deliver a specific service; “everything that goes into” creating and delivering the “value” to the end-customer.
Process Map
A visual representation of the sequential flow of a process. Used as a tool in problem solving, this technique makes opportunities for improvement.
Value Stream Mapping A graphical representation of all tasks and activities needed to transform input materials and information into an output. 
Value Stream Analysis – The identification of all the specific activities occurring along the value stream, represented pictorially in a value stream map; see waste, unevenness, and overburden, size the opportunity, share a vision, communicate visually, permission to change, predict results
Non Value Added (NVA) – 
Those process steps in a Value Stream that take time, resources or space, but do not transform or shape the product or service to meet the needs of the customer 
Value Added Activity – An activity can qualify to be value adding, if the customer cares, perceptable change and first time right.
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Originally posted 2012-08-26 08:06:00.

What is Rapid Improvement Event (RIE)

Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) is a 4-5 day process utilizing a team based methodology to apply the lean tools for seeing waste and making immediate improvement. The focus in a Rapid Improvement event is to work on the set up time or the Changeover time.
Set-up Time
Work required to change over a machine or process from one item or operation to the next item or operation; can be divided into two types:
1. Internal: set-up work that can be done only when the machine is not actively engaged in production OR
2. External: set-up work that can be done concurrently with the machine or process performing production duties
Changeover Time
As used in manufacturing, the time from when the last “good” piece comes off of a machine until the first “good” piece of the next product is made on that machine. Includes warm up, first piece inspection and adjustments. 
The set up time and change over time are two of the biggest challenges to maintain a continuous flow of the work. this is one of lean tools effectively used by General Electric (GE)
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Originally posted 2012-08-26 07:50:00.

What is Autonomation

Autonomation:
Described as “intelligent automation” or “automation with a human touch.” If an abnormal situation arises the machine stops and the worker will stop the production line. Prevents the production of defective products, eliminates overproduction and focuses attention on understanding the problem and ensuring that it never recurs.
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Originally posted 2012-08-26 07:14:00.

What is 5S and 6S

5S and 6S are the basic tools for organizing the workplace. They are the used for improving the work place culture. They are used organization of the workplace, the name comes from the six steps required to implement and the words (each starting with S) used to describe each step: sort, set in order, scrub, standardize, and sustain which are called as 5S and the Sixth S is added which is safety in the later stages
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Originally posted 2012-08-26 06:53:00.

Ideas for Six Sigma Projects – By Function and Industry

We have discussed the General Ideas and Ideas from Issues earlier. Here is another trigger for you to look into ideas for Six Sigma Projects by function. If you are new in the continual Improvement Journey, these various classifications help you project identification and selection. Classifying ideas for Six Sigma Projects by function will help you to ignite those who have less time to look at general issues.
Few years back it was generally believed that the six sigma method is used for Manufacturing Industry is only. How ever, Many service and IT organizations have adopted this and saved tons of money. Even this method can be used to increase the process speed and lean out the process. You may take up the improvements in a step by step approach which can give you better clarity and improve the system.

Project Selection Ideas By Function

Six Sigma Project Ideas for Finance/Accounting function
Reduce the time taken to close the accounting books (cycle time)
Improve the forecast accuracy
Spending control
Reduce balance sheet risk
Eliminate unstable customers and associated risks
Improve processing of payment to vendors/suppliers
Improve Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) — the average time taken by a company to collect payment from its customers
Reduce payroll process cycle time
Improve cash management processes
Improve payment/collection processes
Reduce electronic financial transaction costs
Reduce the cycle time of reconciliation
Reduce the procure to pay cycle
Standardize the accrual and deferral processes
Cycle time reduction in processing of Invoice generation
Reduction of cycle time in Purchase order generation

Six Sigma Project Ideas for Human Resources function
Reduce the turn around time to hire an employee
Reduce the time to process an insurance claim
Improve employee on-boarding and orientation processes
Reduce expenditures for recruiting firms
Improve hit-rate for successful hiring
Reduce Attrition
Improve timeliness and the value of employee performance reviews
Reduce absenteeism
Improve training efficiency
Improve employee satisfaction
Identify and correct retention issues

Six Sigma Project Ideas for Sales function
Improve cross-sell opportunities
Reduce time required to enter sales orders
Reduce errors and rework associated with sales orders
Reduce customer credit worthiness cycle time
Reduce the number of “bad deals” that are processed
Improve the cycle time of the entire sales order to cash process
Increase repeat orders/customers

Six Sigma Project Ideas for Shipping/Receiving function
Improve on-time delivery of products to customers
Improve on-time delivery of goods to our facility from vendors
Improve documentation accuracy
Reduce line downtime due to shipping/receiving
Improve inventory control/rotation
Improve inspection processes
Reduce the space occupied by the inventory

Now for some of the ideas by Industry. This section can be used by linking the ideas to specific industry

Sis sigma Project Ideas for Information Technology Industry
Reduce network/server/application downtime
Improve process of logging-in to network from remote locations
Improve system reliability/uptime
Standardize computer loads for configuration and support productivity improvement

Six Sigma Project Ideas for Product/Service Design industry
Reduce time required to design a product or service
Reduce errors in design
Reduce production time
Reduce testing time
Optimize Inventory

Six Sigma Project Ideas for Call Center Industry
Increase/decrease (depending on your business needs) average talk time
Reduce abandon calls
Improve employee knowledge
Reduce number of times customer is put on hold
Reduce Call drops
Improve resolution of queries
You may start resolving problems and  one at a time. do not attempt a great improvement at once. In case you have to then pilot the solution and deploy horizontally.

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