Friday, March 20, 2009

Six Sigma Training, Better Management Practices

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a quality management program that is designed to achieve a “six sigma” level of quality for products. In the mid 1980s, Motorola pioneered Six Sigma and it has since been adopted by many other companies and manufacturers. Service companies also implement Six Sigma strategies to improve customer service and relations. The idea behind Six Sigma is that failures in quality and customer satisfaction occur after the sixth sigma of likelihood in a normal distribution curve. Hence, the idea is that there are less defects per product or customer service. Motorola defines the success of six-sigma quality in terms of the number of Defects Per Million Opportunities.

Why Use Six Sigma?

Many companies and critics of Six Sigma believed that achieving six levels of quality was impossible, but many companies have proved the critics wrong. Some companies even go beyond six-sigma. An example of this is GE Aircraft Engines, which operate at Nine Sigma levels of quality. Six sigma is practical because it reduces the amount of errors in customer service and products. This leads to increased customer satisfaction, increased revenue, more returning customers, and the acquisition of new customers. Companies that can implement six-sigma successfully have higher standards of quality and usually produce better products and services.

Why is it only Six Sigma?

Many people do not know how six-sigma relates to 3.4 defects per million. Essentially, people do not know how having six levels of sigma improves quality significantly. Many companies used to have less sigma, usually about three or four. However, Motorola was the first to use six levels. Six is the perfect number because whereas four sigma makes sure that there are only about 2.6 problems in a thousand. However, the problem arises with deviation. Imagine a manufacturing process in which a drill makes a hole that is supposed to be 100 micrometers. With four levels of Sigma, only about 1 in 400 will be defective. This unfortunately does not take into account the average value of measurement, which will shift over time. So, if the measurement gradually drifts as each new hole is drilled, about 6.6% of the output will be off by 1.5 sigma in each direction at anytime. If the process has drifted by 150 micrometers, then the hole will be off by 300 micrometers, which is an extremely large defective rate. Using 6 sigma, with a 1.5 sigma shift to make up for average deviation, the ratios are much lower and therefore the defective rates are much more sensible. The same drift in a six-sigma process will still only produce a defect for products or services that are more than 4.5 sigma away from the average in the same direction. Using the mathematics of a normal curve, this works out to 3.4 defects per million which is much more acceptable.

Conclusion

Customers value quality above all other things in a business. If a business produces a high quality product or service, more customers will return, and that business will gain new customers. Six-sigma helps to ensure the quality of goods and services is only the best. Six-sigma, when implemented correctly, is very effective and that is why many companies today use Six-sigma. This process was pioneered more than 20 years ago by Motorola, and has proven its lasting qualities through its continued use in the business world. Any company that wants to gain and retain customers while producing a high-quality product should consider the use of Six-sigma.

Dana Schorden enjoys writing about Six Sigma. Learn more at Six Sigma News, a weblog with daily six sigma software reviews and information

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Monday, March 3, 2008

CTQ Tree-Six Sigma Tools

So what is CTQ Tree-Six Sigma Tools really all about? The following report includes some fascinating information about CTQ Tree-Six Sigma Tools--info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.


If your CTQ Tree-Six Sigma Tools facts are out-of-date, how will that affect your actions and decisions? Make certain you don't let important CTQ Tree-Six Sigma Tools information slip by you.

CTQ tree is actually the abbreviated form for Critical to Quality tree. The CTQ tree indicates key measurable aspects of that process or product whose specification limits or performance standards must be met to fully satisfy the customer. It aligns developments or helps in designing efforts to adapt to customer requirements. More specifically, it is mainly applicable for decomposing broad customer requirements and change them into more easily quantifiable requirements. The CTQ Tree is often used in Six Sigma methodology.

The steps for creating and using a Critical to Quality Tree or shortly, CTQ Tree are as follows:



Step 1: Identification of the key customer requirements - The team identifies the key requirement the customers have for the product or service. This is done through a process of open discussion. Usually, this need is put forward in the broadest terms, through good customer service for instance, to ensure that the team does not miss out on anything.

Step 2: Identification of customer's first level of requirements - The team gets to identify two to three requirements which are able to resolve major customer needs as pointed out Step 1. Good customer service refers to the phones which are answered quickly by staff who are knowledgeable about the product.

Step 3: Identification of customer's second level of requirements – In this step, the team gets to identify two to three needs which further resolve each customer requirement as pointed out in Step 2. The phones which are answered quicker may be defined as being answered within 2 rings. Then a knowledgeable staff member may be able to answer 90% calls before transferring them to another individual.

Step 4: Stop after quantifiable requirements are reached - This step applies to a situation when the team reaches a level of requirement which can be measured. The team would then halt the process of identifying needs if these requirements become distinctly measurable.

Step 5: Confirm the final requirements with customers – This is actually the final step taken which is applied after all customer requirements over a CTQ Tree have been pointed out and identified to a certain quantifiable degree. Each of these requirements should actually be confirmed again with customers.

Moreover, CTQ Tree is a tool which helps in translating the customer's language into quantifiable requirements useful for the company service or product. The reasons for creating the CTQ Tree are as follows:

* Ensures that all aspects of the need are identified.
* Converting overall customer requirements into more specific CTQ requirements.
* Helps the teams in moving on from higher level to detailed specifications.

Sixsigmahub.com provides you with information about the actual time taken to use the CTQ Tree. This time is actually calculated when a company's product or service is able to meet the problem of

* Unspecified customer requirements
* Broad or more complex needs

Specifications need to be set for CTQ trees: In the process of manufacturing, the limits for specification often arise out of mechanical or technical requirements, or else, the base level specification limits about data on customer needs sets specifications about the exact point where customer satisfaction tends to fall noticeably. These specifications can be one-sided or else two-sided. However, even if there is a single value which the process output should not exceed or go down below, then it becomes a single-sided specification only. In case one can define both lower and upper boundaries, then one tends to have two-sided specifications. Upon following up on the five-step VOC data collection process, one can help in ensuring that the current situation is identified and understood from the customer's point of view.

Sometimes it's tough to sort out all the details related to this subject, but I'm positive you'll have no trouble making sense of the information presented above.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Six Sigma Training

The following article includes pertinent information on Six Sigma Training that may cause you to reconsider what you thought you understood. The most important thing is to study with an open mind and be willing to revise your understanding if necessary.

You can see that there's practical value in learning more about Six Sigma Training. Can you think of ways to apply what's been covered so far?

One of the major offshoots of the development of Six Sigma has been the increasing need of Six Sigma training. The need for experts who can apply the principles of Six Sigma has been great, especially because while the business management tools have inundated the manufacturing sector, the methodology has gone on to other sectors such as banks and electronic companies. On the other hand, there are also a range of Universities which are using the Six Sigma management tools and quality measurement. This site will be especially useful for those interested in taking up Six Sigma as another career option. A certified course on Six Sigma will definitely enhance your marketability.

At the same time, as Six Sigma is being redeveloped constantly, the training options must include flexibility and adaptability as one of its key features. Today, there is no dearth of Six Sigma training kits available on the internet, with some of them even offering online courses.

Six Sigma professionals are distinctly categorized into different groups, with each of them having specific roles and work profiles. Each person in that hierarchy takes care of certain aspects of the business practices, thus operating at different levels, both horizontally and vertically. In fact the hierarchy has been drawn from its counterpart in the martial art form. Thus, the different role models in the Six Sigma include the senior management, the Champions, the Master Black belts, the Experts, the Black Belts, the Green Belts and the Yellow Belts, in that order. The senior management individuals are the ones who must underline the primary objective and set targets for both reducing defects and getting a set percentage of people trained in specific levels. The Champions are the individuals from across different sections within a organization who translate the primary objectives into practical objectives, and even guide the Black Belts, in the process. Master Black Belts are the individuals who have the sole responsibility of looking into the implementation of Six Sigma. They are the ones to see that the Six Sigma training targets are achieved in an organization. Consequently, they need to be experts in the field of statistics and mathematics.

The Experts are the ones who work across different companies to include the Six Sigma principles from cross section industries and sectors. The Black belts or Project Leaders are the ones who implement the Six Sigma tools within a business enterprise, thus maintaining targets within projects. While they work exclusively on Six Sigma, they work directly under the Master Black Belts. The Green Belts are the ones who work on Six Sigma for merely few months, while they are assigned other responsibilities as well in the company. The Yellow Belts are the Six Sigma trainees who have worked in a corporate culture, but are yet to finish any project. Most of them are working across companies. One of the imperative requirements of Six Sigma training at the expert level is that they must have an in-depth knowledge of statistical tools and analysis, among others. There are today many online Six Sigma training options in the internet today.

So now you know a little bit about Six Sigma Training. Even if you don't know everything, you've done something worthwhile: you've expanded your knowledge.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cost Benefit Analysis-Six Sigma tools

So what is Cost Benefit Analysis tools in Six Sigma really all about? The following report includes some fascinating information about Cost Benefit Analysis and Six Sigma--info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.

It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of Cost Benefit Analysis-Six Sigma is no exception. Keep reading to get more fresh news about Cost Benefit Analysis.

Cost-benefit analysis is a particular term, which refers both to:

* An informal approach to making decisions of any kind.
* A formal discipline used to help appraise, or assess, the case for a project or proposal, which itself is a process known as project appraisal.

The process under both definitions involves, either explicitly or implicitly, weighing total costs expected against total expected benefits for one or more of these actions so as to choose the most profitable option.

The formal process is often named CBA, or Cost-Benefit analysis in the United States.Other closely linked but slightly different formal techniques feature cost-effectiveness analysis as well as benefit effectiveness analysis.

Cost Benefit Analysis is actually an economic tool which aids in the process of social decision-making, and is used by governments evaluating the usage or effectivity of a given intervention in the market. The overall aim is gauging the efficiency of intervention relative to status quo. Costs as well as benefits of intervention are calculated in terms of the people's willingness to pay for these benefits or their willingness to pay in order to avoid the costs. The inputs are measured through opportunity costs and their value in the best alternative use. The overall guiding principle is listing all parties affected by the intervention, and placing a monetary value for the effect they have on welfare as it is valued by them.

In the process of cost-benefit analysis, the monetary based values may be assigned to the less tangible effects including various risks which can contribute to partial or even total project failure; along with loss of market penetration, reputation, long-term enterprise strategy alignments, etc. This is specially true for those situaitons when governments use the method, for example to decide whether to bring in business regulations, as well as build new road or offering new drugs on state health care. In these cases, a value has to be put on human life or environment, which often causes great controversy. Cost-benefit principle says, for instance, that we have to install guardrails over a dangerous stretch of mountain road, if the cost for doing so is less than the implicit cost of injuries, deaths, and property damage which may thus be prevented.

This process involves cost based value of initial as well as ongoing expenses against the expected returns. Constructing such plausible measures of benefits and costs of specific actions is very difficult. In reality, the analysts estimate costs and benefits by applying survey methods or drawing inferences from the general market behavior. Cost-benefit analysis does attempt to put relevant costs and benefits on the common footing. A discount rate is first chosen, and it is then used to calculate all future costs and benefits according to present-value terms. Most commonly, discount rate used for current value calculations is actually an interest rate adopted from financial markets, which can be very controversial. For instance, a high discount rate means very low value on welfare of coming generations, which tends to have a huge impact on the overall effectivity of interventions over the environment, etc. Such empirical studies suggest that actually, peoples' discount rates decline in course of time. Since CBA aims at measuring true willingness of people to pay up, it is typically built into studies.

The cost-benefit calculations involve using time based value for money formula. It is usually performed by converting future expected costs and benefits to current value amounts.

There's a lot to understand about Cost Benefit Analysis-Six Sigma. We were able to provide you with some of the facts above, but there is still plenty more to write about in subsequent articles.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chi-Square Test for Six Sigma

This interesting article addresses some of the key issues regarding Chi-Square Test. A careful reading of this material could make a big difference in how you think about Chi-Square Test.

It's really a good idea to probe a little deeper into the subject of Chi-Square Test. What you learn may give you the confidence you need to venture into new areas.

Chi-Square Test is one of the Six Sigma Tools.The Chi Square Test is a particular statistical test, generally used in Six Sigma methodology. This test comprises three different types of analysis. Those are as follows:
Goodness of fit
Test for Homogeneity
Test of Independence.



The Test for Goodness of fit ascertains if the sample under analysis was drawn from a population that follows some specified distribution. The Test for Homogeneity is conducted to prove the proposition whereby several populations are homogeneous in relation to some characteristic or other. On the other hand, the Test for independence is there to examine the null hypothesis that two criteria of classification, when applied to a population of subjects are independent. If they are not autonomous, then the test aids to make an association between them. Therefore, it is true, that, Chi-Square Test is the most popular distinct data hypothesis testing method.

Overview of the Chi Square Test

Chi Square tests, and contingency tables, are the responsible to answer several question related with Six Sigma methodology. Moreover, the test is used to check whether counts, or proportions, are consistent with some specified population distribution or not. Those frequently asked questions are as follows:

1.Whether the people, who have seen an advertisement, are more likely to purchase a product or not.
2.Whether the people of a particular type under, or over represented, are in a group or not.
3.Lastly, in both these examples, the tests would discover whether the differences could be explained by chance, or whether they indicate that the factor being investigated did affect the result.

Chi-Square Test The Chi-Square 'Goodness of Fit' examination is used to check, if a sample is depicted from a population that conforms to a specified distribution or not. Accordingly, the hypothesis is made as follows:

H0 the sample conforms to the specified distribution
H1 the sample does not conform to the distribution

The test can be explained by the example given below. Suppose, an organization has three categories of employees. They are categorized in 'A', 'B' and 'C'. What is the responsibility of Chi-Square Test is, to collect the following data first:
Category Employees Days Sick
A 100 10
B 60 12
C 40 14
Total 200 36


From the above mentioned data, form the table and though the Chi-Square Contribution 'Days Well' can be calculated.

In case the sample exactly conforms to the distribution, the days kept well and days kept sick would be shared out as shown in the expected column. Afterwards, the chi-square statistics are calculated by summing up chi-square contributions from each category: Where:

Ai actual value for category 'i'
Ei expected value for category 'i'

The freedom is in two degrees. The critical p-value is obtained from the tables, or the p-value can simply be calculated using Excel.

Contingency Tables
The Contingency Table is actually an application of chi-square test used specially when a relation is between two variables. For instance, if the organization decides to find out if there is any relationship between employees taking sick leave, and those taking full entitlement of annual leave, the hypothesis is:

H0 there is no relationship between taking leave and propensity for sickness
H1 there is a relationship between taking leave and sickness

Now that wasn't hard at all, was it? And you've earned a wealth of knowledge, just from taking some time to study an expert's word on Chi-Square Test.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The term Six Sigma-Definition

This article explains a few things about Six Sigma, the term, and if you're interested, then this is worth reading, because you can never tell what you don't know.

See how much you can learn about Six Sigma, the term when you take a little time to read a well-researched article? Don't miss out on the rest of this great information.

We have all heard of the term sigma which is a Greek alphabet letter used to describe variability. Defects per Million Operations or DPMO are the common measurement in Six Sigma, the term. This may include anything from a component, piece of material or line of code, to an administrative form, time frame or distance. When you apply a sigma quality level it is meant to indicate how often defects are likely to occur. A higher sigma quality level is supposed to indicate a process that is likely to create defects. The function of Six Sigma, the term in an organization varies with its quality level. As the sigma level of quality increases, the product reliability improves.

Six Sigma reduces or even diminishes the need for testing and inspection. The work in progress wanes and the cycle time also goes down with the costs while the customer satisfaction goes up. There are two perspectives of Six Sigma, the term. There is the short-term and the long-term process capabilities. The short term process of Six Sigma, the term is classified as defective if the desired measurement, denoted by X, is outside the customer-supplier specification limit (USL). The same occurs if the desired measurement denoted by X is outside the lower specification limit (LSL).

The customer needs to specify a target value besides specifying the USL and the LSL. This will typically be the midpoint between the USL and the LSL. The long term process capability of Six Sigma, the term shifts and drift in the mean of the distribution of a component value happens due to the nature of the process. This occurs for a number of reasons just like the changes that occur in other parameters of the distribution. If you were to think then lets say tool wear is one source of a gradual drift, differences in raw material or change of suppliers can also cause shifts in the distribution. There is a solution provided by D.H. Evans that focuses on high production rates and low cost components.

The solution suggests that one should use 1.5 as the standard deviation to calculate the percentage of out of tolerance responses. The data driven management philosophy developed uses the Six Sigma, the term for eliminating defects, waste and quality-control problems in manufacturing. The primary idea behind this process is that if one can identify the defects and measure them in order to systematically determine how to eliminate them. The breakup of Six Sigma, the term is into two different processes. One is the Six Sigma DMADV that defines, measures, analyzes, designs and verifies new processes or products aiming to achieving a target. The Six Sigma DMAIC is the process that defines, measures, analyzes, improves and controls existing processes that fall below the six sigma specification. It is one of the most popular business improvement and strategy tools in the market today.

The professionals carry out the Six Sigma processes.They are either Six Sigma green Belts or Six Sigma Black Belts. The Black Belts suggestively have more expertise than in the Six Sigma process.

Take time to consider the points presented above. What you learn may help you overcome your hesitation to take action.

Introduction To Six Sigma

When most people think of Six Sigma, what comes to mind is usually basic information that's not particularly interesting or beneficial. But there's a lot more to Six Sigma than just the basics.

If you don't have accurate details regarding Six Sigma, then you might make a bad choice on the subject. Don't let that happen: keep reading.

Six Sigma is a set of system and practices developed to achieve near perfection. This set of practice was originally developed by Motorola. This method aims at maximizing business profits. Six Sigma offers tools and techniques to reduce defects in any process and to improve capability. The system was devised by Bill Smith in 1986 at Motorola company. The company implemented this system in there production. The success of this system made other companies to incorporate Six Sigma in their production process.

Six Sigma proved good tool to improve quality and capability. This has become so popular that today it is applied in every field like insurance, medical and other services. Six Sigma helps in improving business process. Six Sigma involves a methodology known as DMAIC. Check out what this means.

* D – Define opportunities
* M – Measure performance
* A – Analyze opportunity
* I – Improve performance
* C – Control Performance

These methods in Six Sigma helps to reduce the defects. For further details go through the pages of Sixsigmahub.com. Six Sigma is a good process to achieve perfection. It can also help in creating new business process using another methodology called DFSS which means “Design For Six Sigma”. Six Sigma depends on statistical technique to improve quality and to reduce defects. The most important thing about this methodology is to solve the problems by laying emphasis on customer impact.

With the implementation of Six Sigma in many companies it has helped to professionalize the functions quality management. The techniques and basic principles incorporated in Six Sigma are taken from Statistics, Engineering and Business. These days Six Sigma methods are used in Business Process Management. Reduction in defects, customer satisfaction and improvement in profits are the end results of Six Sigma

Don't limit yourself by refusing to learn the details about Six Sigma. The more you know, the easier it will be to focus on what's important.