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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Originally posted 2013-02-27 00:23:00.

How to set improvement goal for Six Sigma Project

Improvement-goalThis is a general question asked especially when Six Sigma approach is used for Improvement is what is supposed to be my improvement goal for Six Sigma Project. In cases where the project is taken up for Problem Solving, the goal setting is straight forward. In this case the goal is to solve the problem. (or Meet the Requirements)

However, it is very tough in case of Improvement Projects. Various methods are available for setting the goal. However, there is some pre work to be done in this case.

1. Collect all the metrics which are generated f
rom the process you want to improve, (Example – Delivery rate, Quality, Defects, Customer Satisfaction, Effort ……)
2. Prioritize and identify the Primary Metric. Primary could be anything where you can improve upon. (Start with what is important to customer)
3. Baseline the Primary Metric and its relation with the secondary metrics. (This is needed to know what will happen when your primary metric moves and optimize the goal setting.)

Now the billion dollar question ” How much we should set the target” “How much we can Improve” ” How much improvement we Need”. 
There are no standard set of rules for setting improvement goals. However, below are few guidelines.

  1. As a minimum, the goal shall be set in such a way that the difference between the current performance and the goal is statistically significant.
  2. The goal must be in line with the business expectations and the improvement shall be a breakthrough one instead of incremental one. a 5% improvement is incremental but 50% improvement is Breakthrough
  3. The goal shall take you towards the benchmark for the same process performance. Ideally the benchmark need to be considered is the industry best practice.
  4. The goal need to cover the gap between the entitlement and the current performance by atleast 70%. Entitlement is the performance which is expected for the investments already made or the best capability of the process internally.
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