Books : Six Sigma

Six Sigma Way

The six sigma benefits are process management, improvement, and measurement implemented daily. Top company leaders recognize the six sigma is synonymous with constant reinvention of their business and gain success through sustained customer satisfaction both internally and externally. Six Sigma business are held the highest standards of 3.4 defects per million opportunities. The belief that tool usage used for measuring results should be easy and simple. The silo-breaking effort produces strong communication and collaboration throughout the company. Core competence is improved as the company makes a strong commitment to learning and training as the standard. The six sigma way involves increase expense for training, resource, and employee time allocation; but numerous case studies suggest the end result is increase productivity. Increased productivity can apply effectively to both service and manufacturing businesses.

What is six sigma? 1. A focus on the customer 2. Fact based management style 3. Process focus and improvement 4. Proactive management 5. Boundaryless Collaboration 6. The drive for perfection but tolerance of failure 7. 3.4 defects per million opportunities performance standard.

What is the improvement Cycle? DMAIC (define,measure, analyze, improve, and control) 1. Identify the problem and define requirements 2. Redefine the problem and measure key steps 3. Analyze the root causes of the problem 4. Develop improvement ideas to remove root causes and create standards of performance measurement. 5. Establish control measures to maintain performance and correct problems as needed.

How does a company determine whether six sigma is right for them? The authors explains that six sigma is a company cultural change. Case studies indicate the change can be profitable but requires tremendous commitment, resources, and time to implement effectively. The authors assess readiness with three questions: 1. Is change a critical business need now 2. Can the company come up with a strong rationale for applying six sigma to their business 3. Will the existing improving systems be capable of achieving the change needed. A deeper understanding of what six sigma can do for the organization is requested. Scope analysis answers the question of what is feasible in terms of resources, attention, and acceptance. A timeframe analysis answers the question of how long will management be willing to wait for results.

Where to go from here. 1. Develop a strong rationale supporting six sigma methodology in your organization 2. Management plans and actively participates in implementation 3. Create a vision and market plan 4. Become a power advocate of the process improvement cycle 5. Set clear objectives 6. Hold yourself and others accountable 7. Demand solid measurements of progress and results 8. Communicate results and setbacks to the organization. 9. Organize roles (black belts, green belts, and master black belts) 10. Select the project with the biggest impact on the organization.

What are the six sigma roles? Implementation Leader: One who helps the group with project selection, communication, and project reviews. He recommends individuals/groups to the group. He documents the progress of the group. He has prepared and internal marketing plan. Coach: The technical expert. The coach defines clear agreements about people's roles and the extent of their involvement in the project. The coach is tasked to communicate with the project sponser, drive the project schedule, deal with resistence or lack of cooperation from group members, estimate potential and validate actual results, resolve team disagreements, gather and analyze data about team activities, and promote and celebrate team success. The project leader reviews and clarifies the project rationale, develops and maintains the project charter, selects project members, identifies and provides resources, helps other with the six sigma tools, maintains and updates progress in the project schedule, supports transfer of new solutions, and documents final results and creates a storyboard of the project. The team member is the brains and muscle of the project. The Process Owner is the person who takes on a new, cross-functional responsibility to manage the "end-to-end" set of steps that offer value to the internal or external customer.

How is project selection done? "The best project selection is based on identifying the projects that best match current needs, capabilities, and objectives." Project selection needs to be weighted against benefit value. Benefit criteria includes the following considerations: impact on the internal/external customer, impact on the business strategy, and impact on the competitve position, impact on the core competencies, Impact financially, the urgency, the market trend, and sequence of dependency. Project selection must answer the question "Do we really want to do this". Issues to consider are resources needed, expertise available, complexity, likihood of success, and support or buy-in. Organizational Impact criteria includes: learning benefits and cross-functional benefits. Project selection is based on analysis improvement areas exisiting in the core processes.

What are Core processes? "A chain of tasks usually various departments or functions that deliver (products, services, support, and information) to external customers" Breaks in the value chain diminish value to the customer. The goal is to understand the flow and variation over time. The SIDOC model is helpful in observing. SIDOC represents: supplier (the person or group providing information, material, or other resources), Input (the thing being provide or consumed), Process (steps that transform), Output (the final product), Customer (the person who receives the output).

What are the steps to defining customer requirements? a. Gather Customer Data b. Develop performance standards and requirement statements c. Analyze and Prioritize requirements that can be evaluate against the business strategy. Performance is based on the customer definition. Its important to get information from the right customer. There are two types of requirements: Service and Output. Output requirements describe the features and characteristics of the final product. Service requirements describe how the customer should be treated or served during execution of the process. A requirement is not meaningful unless it describes issues relating to a specific problem. It should be clear what the customer is looking for. Intangible requirements need to be translated into measurable and observable critiera. A level or acceptable and non-acceptable criteria needs to be established. Each requirement needs to be detailed and precise. The requirement specification needs to match the expectation of the customer.

In short, The six sigma way is a big improvement over Total Quality Managment. It signifies a much higher standard of quality and connects management closer to the improvement effort. A ranking structure of black belts and master black belts brings the best expertise to facilitate improvement in the project. Accountablity and communication increase learning, cooperation, and leverage creativity and focus, in the problem solving stages. Because management is actively participating training, resources, and individual talent is effectively configured. The focus on the customer helps identify how to bring value and increase competitiveness.