Six Sigma

Six Sigma programs include fundamental elements:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

For a manufacturing project, you might consider the following functions to be included in each Six Sigma improvement element:

Define: establish a meeting agenda tool, define your team members and responsibilities, define your project, improvement goals and benefits, define the critical to quality (CTQ) Customer and process requirements, Brainstorm the problems, define the measurements that will report the benefits of the improvements, define the milestones and communication plan, produce a SIPOC diagram (suppliers, inputs, process, output and customers), flowchart the process and determine action items for the Six Sigma project.

Measure: define the part, component or assembly’s defect opportunities (DPMO) and unit of measure (metric), produce a Pareto chart, determine where and when data should be collected, develop a plan to collect data, perform Gage Reproducibility and Repeatability Study (GR&R) to validate the measurement system, develop an XY Matrix to correlate input and output elements (the XY matrix can be used to help identify a target for the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis [FMEA] or it can be used to identify the initial factors for a designed experiment [DOE]), perform Capability Analyses and establish six sigma metric, produce FMEA and/or initial DOE Plan.
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Analyze: Brainstorm performance objectives, produce Cause and Effect diagram, identify value-added and non-value-added functions on the process flowchart, determine key variables and finalize the XY Matrix.

Improve: Brainstorm possible solutions and build a consensus, flowchart the revised process, collect data, error-proof the revised process, produce FMEA for possible solutions, revise DOE Plan and perform DOE.

Control: collect data and produce control charts for key variables, finalize Capability Analyses, develop continuous improvement plan and transfer to process owners, produce a summary of the cost and savings of the improvements and close project.

For a service project, you might consider the following functions to be included in each Six Sigma improvement element:

Define: establish a meeting agenda tool, define your team members and responsibilities, define your project, improvement goals and benefits, define the critical to quality (CTQ) Customer and process requirements, Brainstorm the problems, define the measurements that will report the benefits of the improvements, flowchart the process, define the milestones and communication plan, produce a SIPOC diagram (suppliers, inputs, process, output and customers) and determine action items

Measure: Voice of the Customer (VOC) surveys and summaries from the past six months, produce an Attribute Gage R&R, produce a Pareto Chart, determine where and when data should be collected, develop a plan to collect data, develop an XY Matrix to correlate input and output elements (the XY matrix can be used to help identify a target for the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis [FMEA] or it can be used to identify the initial factors for a designed experiment [DOE]), establish six sigma metric, produce FMEA and/or initial DOE Plan.

Analyze: Brainstorm performance objectives, produce Cause and Effect diagram and Force Field analysis, identify value-added and non-value-added functions on the process flowchart, determine key variables and finalize the XY Matrix

Improve: Brainstorm where to focus improvement efforts, flowchart the revised process, collect data, error-proof the revised process, produce FMEA for possible solutions, revise DOE Plan and perform DOE.

Control: develop continuous improvement plan and transfer to process owners, collect data and control chart the number of Customer complaints, produce a summary of the cost and savings of the improvements and close the Six Sigma project.