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.

Affinity diagram and Fish bone diagram

These Quality Control tools are used in problem Solving as a visual methods such as Affinity diagram and  Fish bone diagram. These are used in some lean programs also to make sure value stream and value addition.
Affinity Diagram: – Definition
A process to organize disparate language info by placing it on cards and grouping the cards that go together in a creative way. “header” cards are then used to summarize each group of cards.
Cause and Effect Diagram
A problem-solving tool used to show relationships between effects and multiple causes.
CEDAC
Acronym for Cause and Effect Diagram with the Addition of Cards. CEDAC is a method for involving team members in the problem solving process.

Fishbone Diagram  A chart that resembles a fish skeleton, with a main spine and branches (bones) drawn at a slant off the spine; used for quality control in two main ways:
1. As a cause-and-effect diagram, where the spine denotes an effect and the branches are cause factors.
2. As a subdivision of quality requirements, where the spine represents a quality objective and the branches describe subsidiary traits or measurements that are important but are not the end in them selves. (Sometimes referred to as a Reverse Fishbone)

Affinity diagram and  Fish bone diagram 1
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Originally posted 2012-08-26 06:58:00.

Six Sigma project Roles

Black Belt 
Leaders of team responsible for measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling key processes that influence customer satisfaction and/or productivity growth. Black Belts are full-time positions.
Green Belt 
Similar to Black Belt but not a full-time position.
Master Black Belt  
First and foremost teachers. They also review and mentor Black Belts. Selection criteria for Master Black Belts are quantitative skills and the ability to teach and mentor. Master Black Belts are full-time positions.
Customer 
Any internal or external person/organization who receives the output (product or service) of the process; understanding the impact of the process on both internal and external customers is key to process management.
Process Owner

Process owners are exactly as the name sounds – they are the responsible individuals for a specific process. For instance, in the legal department there is usually one person in charge – maybe the VP of Legal – that’s the process owner. There may be a Director of Marketing at your property – that’s the process owner for marketing, and for the Check-in process, the process owner is typically the Front Office Manager.

Team leader

For DMAIC projects, the team leader is usually the Black Belt. For Quick Hit and iDMAIC projects, it is typically the Sponsor or Process Owner. For large DMAIC projects with more than one BB or MBB, the Team leader is the main point of contact for the project.
Team member
An active member of a Six Sigma Project team (DMAIC or iDMAIC),heavily involved in the measurement, analysis and improvement of a process. To be effective, team memberships require a minimum of 10% time commitment to a phase of the project. He/she also helps fosters the Six Sigma culture within the organization by informing /educating fellow Associates about Six Sigma tools and processes.
 Transfer Team Leader (Process Owner/Department Head) 
A person selected by the GM and property SIXSIGMA Council to lead an iDMAIC project based primarily on proximity and decision-making authority relative to the process involved. This person has primary responsibility for implementing the project, leading the team, and interacting with others to gather information and understanding necessary to succeed. Often, the transfer team leader will be the department head or process owner of the process being improved with the best practice. The ability to lead the team and to anticipate clear barriers are important characteristics for a person in this role. 
Transfer Team Member 
Associates selected by the Transfer Team Leader and Six Sigma Council to serve on the iDMAIC project based on their knowledge of key aspects of the process, experience with the current process, enthusiasm for improvement, and ability to champion change. Other key factors in selecting transfer team members include time availability and representation from relevant functions. All members will be provided training on the skills and tools used in the transfer process.
Project Sponsor 
This member of the executive committee is a strong advocate of the project and can assist with barriers that may come up. He or she is accountable for the project’s success and can therefore explain to Six Sigma Council members and everyone in the property the business rationale for the transfer project and assist with cross-functional collaboration efforts. He or she will remain up to date on key aspects of the project by regularly meeting with the team leader and members.
The project sponsor:
  • Is a member of the Executive committee
  • Is accountable for project success
  • Addresses cross-functional or other barriers
  • Reviews and tracks progress with team leader
  • Advocates for necessary resources
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Originally posted 2012-02-26 03:50:00.

Control Charts

Control Charts is a running record of the process performance. It is a recod of results of periodic sampling inspections.

A chart becomes a control chart when it has control limits based on inherent process variation. Process control limits are boundaries on a control chart within which the process can operate to a standard. These limits are based on natural variation of the process without the influence of assignable causes. each time the job is checked, the results are compared with the control limits. If the results are within the control limits, then the process is to be left alone. But if a point on a control chart falls outside the control limits, or any other indications of an out of control process, it indicates that there is some change which is happened and the process in no lnger operating normally.

In other words, Control Limits are warning singnals that tell us

1. When to take action

2. When to leave the process alone.

Taking action on a process operating within control limits is not only eneconomcal but may also increase the variation.

There are two general types of Control Charts

1. Variables Chart – This type of chart is used where a dimentsion of a charecteristin is meaeasured and the result is a value.

Popularly used Variables charts are

X-Bar – R Charts

X-Bar – S – Charts

X-R Charts

2. Attributes Chart. – This type of chart is used where a product quality is assessed by sensory means or the data is in terms of count of defectives of count of defects.

Teh popularly used Attributes Charts are

p-Charts

np- Charts

C- Charts

In addition to above there are some adapations to the control charts which are a combination of the above. These are called Special Contorl Charts which will be discussed later.

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Originally posted 2011-12-04 05:40:00.

Types of Data

The first step of any statistical enquiry is the collection of relevant numerical data. The types of data used for statistical purposes is mainly classified as primary data and secondary data

Variable

a characteristic of population that can take different values (e.g., defects, processing time).

Data

Data are measurements collected on a variable

Primary Data

Data collected for the purpose of the given inquiry is called as Primary Data. These are collected by the enquirer, either by his own or through some agency set up for this purpose, directly from the field of enquiry. This type of data can be used with greater confidence because the enquirer himself decides upon the coverage of the data, definitions to be used and as such will have a greater control over the reliability of the data.

Secondary Data

The data already collected by some other agency or for some other purpose and available in published or un published form is known as secondary data. The user has to be perticularly careful about using using such data. The user must clearly understand the nature of the data, their coverage, the definitions used for the data and their reliability.
The usage of secondary data is generally preferred if the conditions mentioned above are clear and usable. This will reduce the time taken for the analysis, also reduces cost of the analysis.

Types of data

Discrete Data

Count or frequency of occurrence

Attribute Data

Data which on one of a set of discrete values such as pass or fail, yes or no.

Continuous Data

Measurements that can be meaningfully divided into finer and finer increments of precision

Usage of Sampling

The big question is weather the collection of data should be done by complete population or by sampling. If sample is used, care should be taken that this is a representative of complete population. A sample designed with care can produce results that may be sufficiently accurate for the purpose of enquiry. A Carefully designed sample can save a lot of time and money.

Methods of Data Collection

The methods used to collect data are Questionnaire Method, Interview Method and Direct Observation Method. Any one or a combination of these are used to collect data.

Usage of Data

The data collected should be subjected to a thorough scrutiny to see if they may be considered correct. The success of the analysis depends on the reliability of the data. However excellent the statistical method of data analysis may be, they cannot bring out useful and reliable information from faulty, unreliable of mistaken data. Especially, this is more applicable in case of usage of secondery data.

Like this?? – Go on the visit the next column – Statistics – 3: presntations and Organization

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Originally posted 2011-10-01 11:14:00.

Statistics – 1 – What is Statistics ?

Statistics can be described as a quantitative method of scientific investigations.
If used as  plural noun ‘Statistics’ means the numerical data arising out of any sphere of human experience.
Used as singular ‘Statistics’ is the name for the body of scientific methods used for collection, analysis, Organizing, and interpretation of Numerical data.
According to American Statistical Association “Statistics” is the scientific application of mathematical principles to the collection, analysis, and presentation of numerical data’
Also, There is a different meaning for the word ‘Statistic’ in the field of Statistics(subject). In this sense A ‘Statistic’ is a numerical item which are produced by the some calculations using the data. Standard Deviation, Mean etc are called as ‘Statistic’  in this sense.
This is one arm of Mathematics, which is extensively used in all most every field. It has become an important tool in the work of many academic disciplines such as medicine, psychology, education, sociology, engineering and physics, just to name a few. It is also important in many aspects of society such as business, industry and government. Because of the increasing use of statistics in so many areas of our lives, it has become very desirable to understand and practice statistical thinking. This is important even if you do not use statistical methods directly.
Even with so many uses, there is some mistrust in public about the subject. This is because of the misuse of the figures by the people for their convenience. During the introduction to the course i joined on, this statement is used. There are 3 types of lies. 1 – Lies, 2- damned Lies 3-Statistics. We will teach you the 3rd part here.
Used properly statistics is a panacea for all the problems faced by the world. it can be a tremendous tool for the growth of any organization. 
Visit the next post Data Collection – Types of Data
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Originally posted 2011-09-30 20:00:00.