Six Sigma Project Selection – Ideas based on issues

Previously i have mentioned some obvious areas which can be looked into where you are likely to pick some projects. Here are some more ideas which will guide you towards your continual improvement journey and six sigma project selection.
To build the culture of excellence through continual improvement, you need to start at some point and show some results. One good project completed will get push from the management to believe that continual improvement must be the strategy to grow. It can be used to scale up and bring in more value to the stake holders. If the strategy includes involvement of people, this will spread like a wild-fire across the organization. Here are some ideas based on issues currently faced by the people in the organization. As a mentor, i would suggest to start one of these ideas for six sigma project selection to prove the results in short-term and get the buy in from the stake holders.

Efficiency/Capacity Issues
Processes producing less than expected
Processes requiring overtime not requested by a customer
Processes requiring cycle times in excess of expectations
Processes with computer/machine downtime
Processes requiring expedited shipping and associated costs due to delayed output production
Any process that has added labor to make the required cycle
Too much of waiting between hand offs
Call drops or disconnects during customer calls.
Low customer Satisfaction

Understanding Process Variation
How much variation is there in your incoming materials and/or process parameters and how does this affect your output?
Where do you need the input controlled to always have a good output?
Can you scientifically adjust your process to compensate for changing material, weather, etc.?
Can your Black Belt help your supplier do a project to control the incoming product where you need it?
Does understanding your inputs allow you to produce a good part using less material?
Time taken for each call by various employees
Time taken for invoicability of the resources.

This list can go on. Essentially the power of Six Sigma is really great and can be applied across all issues to be solved. However, there is no point in making a project when you have obvious solutions visible. If you have obvious visible solutions they shall be implemented before taking up a six sigma project.

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Originally posted 2013-02-24 08:27:00.

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.

Project Identification guidelines

We may have to decide on weather we need to approach the problem at hand using Six Sigma Methodologies. Here are some hints Which are generally accepted project identification guidelines which can really fit into  Six Sigma.
Any project should have identifiable process inputs and outputs.
A good six sigma project should never have a pre-determined solution.  If you already know the answer, then just go fix it!
For projects that have operator or operator training as an input, focus on ways to reduce operator variation, thereby making your process more robust to different or untrained operators.
All projects need to be approached from the perspective of understanding the variation in process inputs, controlling them, and eliminating the defects. 

If you are using the Secondary data validate the data first. If you are not confident of the authenticity or integrity of the data, it is better to recollect the data.
You should have enough data to start with. If you do not have data or it takes too long to collect the data look for alternates. About 30-40 data points minimum in a month is ideal. 
The team should be committed to the improvement project.
Sponsor should see the measurable benefits to have the support.
If geographical separation within the team is there, then finding a workable solution before start of the project. In fact many projects fail due to this constraint. 

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Originally posted 2013-02-22 20:31:00.