Six Sigma Halloween: the Frightening, the Sweet, and the Orange

Posted by: meikah | 31 October 2006 | 12:43 am

Michael Marx of iSixSigma Blogosphere has a series of interesting posts for this Halloween.

First, he talked about the frightening. He shared a story about the fuzzrock trio named Six Sigma labeling it as the dark side of Six Sigma. Like the group, Six Sigma rocks!

Second, he talked about the sweet. It was the story of how Hershey’s kisses errors goodbye. The downside however is that the company also said goodbye to quite a number of employees. Not so sweet, if you think about it.

Third, Michael talked about a not-really-frightening thing but some kind of eerie, which is blood. Blood Systems laboratories uses Six Sigma to improve blood donor testing (that includes incubationt time and tolerance error). Then Mike says, “…don’t let Six Sigma do all the saving…you too can help save lives. Be a Hero this Halloween and donate blood!” I agree!

Finally, he talked about the orange. A Six Sigma company, ConocoPhillips invites its customers to visit its refinery, view smiling jack (a giant smiling pumpkin), and sample its caramel corn. Yummy!
Happy halloween everyone! :)

Filed under: Events/Announcements, Six Sigma Organizations

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Tata Consultancy Services Builds on Microsoft Office Project 2007 Platform

Posted by: meikah | 29 October 2006 | 8:54 pm

Tata Consultancy Services, a leading global IT services and consulting firm, recently announced that they are one of Microsoft’s first solution partners to develop Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solutions built on the forthcoming Microsoft Office Project 2007 platform.

The TCS-Microsoft EPM Solutions will address project planning, definition, execution, management, measurement and tracking needs for businesses. Most importantly, it offers customized niche solutions for Six Sigma deployment.

This is another software that Six Sigma practitioners can use for their projects.

Overall, the new solutions include:

  • Project Portfolio Management: incorporates recognized project management methodologies with portfolio management views that enable executives/managers to quantitatively assess and rank potential projects based on corporate strategy, set realistic expectations, and significantly increase the success rate of projects.
  • New Store Opening: enables retailers to meet aggressive store opening deadlines, better manage project teams, and reduce costs along the way. The solution simplifies the management of multi-site retail projects, increases efficiency and boosts profitability.
  • Tata SigmaXTM: helps organizations deploy quality management rapidly and consistently by mapping the robust technologies of the Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) platform to the Six Sigma quality management methodology.

Incidentally, TCS was also awarded as Company of the Year Award by Frost & Sullivan. The award recognizes TCS’ Engineering and Industrial Services (EIS) business unit’s ability to consistently provide profit impacting innovative solutions and services to the manufacturing sector. Read the full report here.

Filed under: Deployment, Services, Software/Technology

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Congratulations PowerSteering, Rowland Hayler & Michael Nichols!

Posted by: meikah | 26 October 2006 | 8:47 pm

Two good developments took place this week for Six Sigma practitioners: one, a software that can help them with their Six Sigma deployments, and two, a reference book on applying Six Sigma to the financial services.

First off, PowerSteering, the market leader in on-demand Enterprise Performance Improvement solutions, was named the best project tracking software by iSixSigma magazine, a premier worldwide publication known for its Six Sigma and other quality management publications.

PowerSteering was recognized for its “Best-in-Class” Homepage, Best Feature Search Capability, Multiple Methodology (DMAIC, DFSS, DMADV, DMEDI, Lean, Kaizen, etc.) Support.

If you are a company that is into financial services, Rowland Hayler and Michael Nichols’s book might be a good guide for you. The book, Six Sigma for Financial Services: How Leading Companies are Driving Results Using Lean, Six Sigma, and Process Management, features leading financial companies such as
American Express, Bank of America, Barclays Stockbrokers, Development Bank of Singapore, Fidelity, First Data Resources, ICICI Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds TSB, and Wachovia. It shows how these companies are striving to achieve sustainable world-class business process excellence.

This is what the authors have to say about the book, “It gives a thorough explanation of the rationale for business process excellence within the financial services industry. The methods described provide a clear and simple structure to enable readers to build their knowledge on how to become a world-class financial services organization within today’s complex global business environment.”

Filed under: Events/Announcements, Finance, Six Sigma References

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“Young Entrepreneurs on the Rise”

Posted by: meikah | 25 October 2006 | 11:43 pm

Entrepreneurship is the name of the game. Gone are the days when the mindset of students was focused on being hired by big multinational companies. Today, they want to be their own boss.

Read about it on Global Business Watch today.

Filed under: Events/Announcements

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UIHC Leans Toward Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 24 October 2006 | 10:53 pm

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) announces in their Iowa News-Iowa City Press-Citizen that they are looking at Lean Six Sigma for operational efficiency and more process improvement.

Sabi Singh, the hospital’s director of operational improvement, started implementing a “lean sigma” philosophy in 2005. The goal was to break down processes, eliminate waste, and create more productive systems to improve hospital standards and patient satisfaction.

As the UIHC works toward Lean Sigma, they were able to realize the following:

  1. Discovered the cause of patient log jams causing delays and wait time
  2. Implement the front-loaded scheduling
  3. It in turn increased the morning load of appointments
  4. Wait time was reduced to 91% or on average a three minute wait
  5. Renewed interest in quality and safety standards
  6. An IowaCare update
  7. A hospital safety program update
  8. A positive finance report showing some revenue of 2% ahead of budget

These are improvements that customer-patients would want to experience anytime!

Filed under: Healthcare, Lean Six Sigma

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Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Six Sigma Deployment

Posted by: meikah | 22 October 2006 | 10:48 pm

Over at, they emphasize the importance of a good, successful deployment of Six Sigma: “No matter how powerful the methodology, how experienced the personnel, or how proven the analytic techniques, the ultimate success of any improvement program is largely determined at the crucial initial step: deployment.”

They suggest ten essential Do’s and Don’ts for Six Sigma Deployment.

The Do’s

  1. Ask yourself why you want to undertake Six Sigma.
  2. Get the backing and involvement of the executive team.
  3. Plan the deployment and infrastructure.
  4. Establish a formal project selection system.
  5. Select the right candidates for training.
  6. Provide on-the-job support.
  7. Ensure that Champions are involved and accountable.
  8. Get relevant process owners involved.
  9. Communicate at all levels.
  10. Set up deployment reviews.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t launch without planning.
  2. Don’t do Six Sigma training to get a “tick in the box.”
  3. Don’t let Six Sigma be seen as the “flavor of the month.”
  4. Don’t expect DMAIC to solve all problems.
  5. Don’t attempt to boil the ocean.
  6. Don’t get hung up on the statistics.
  7. Don’t run Six Sigma as a quality initiative.
  8. Don’t expect Black Belts to do all the work.
  9. Don’t allow the Black Belt role to be a part-time job.
  10. Don’t allow stakeholders or specialists to overrule solutions.
  11. Read more…

*Photo credit:

Filed under: Deployment, Tips

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Mikel Harry Comes Home to Six Sigma Academy

Posted by: meikah | 19 October 2006 | 11:32 pm

Mikel Harry, the principal architect of Six Sigma, will be sitting again at Six Sigma Academy board as Vice-Chairman and Chief Knowledge Officer.

Harry founded the Six Sigma Academy in 1994 and since then he has come a long way. As Six Sigma authority, he led the initial Six Sigma deployments at Fortune 500 corporations such as GE, Allied-Signal and DuPont that created the Six Sigma industry.

With Mike back at SSA, he will again lead the multi-year effort to advance Lean and Six Sigma processes.

Filed under: Events/Announcements

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Lean Six Sigma Lessons at the 2nd Sakaal Six Sigma Excellence Awards 2006

Posted by: meikah | 17 October 2006 | 8:56 pm

The recently concluded 2nd Sakaal Six Sigma Excellence Awards 2006 had a unique setup, from which we can learn a lesson or two.

The sponsoring group, Symbiosis Center for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD), the number 1 B-school in India, took a bold stand in not declaring winners in every category. This is because SCMHRD believes in awarding efforts towards achieving excellence.

The three speakers of the event had this to say.

Mr. Robinson, the Chief Guest, ascribed the phenomenal turnaround of Timken India Limited since 1995, to the institutionalizing of Lean Six Sigma initiatives in the organization. He believes that providing a means to measure the financial impact of change initiatives is the single most important contribution that Six Sigma can impart to businesses.

Dr. S.B. Majumdar and Ms. Vidya Yervadekar reiterated about the importance of the academia in inculcating a spirit of innovation and continual improvement.

Lessons learned:

  1. The focus or dedication we put into the (Lean) Six Sigma project is significant.
  2. We must be able to measure the financial effect of Six Sigma on the organizations’ transformation.
  3. We must make Six Sigma the way of life for the organization.
  4. Training, or schooling, is important because it inspires the culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Any other lesson you might want to add to the list?

*Photo credit:

Filed under: General

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The Four-Step Approach to Six Sigma Projects

Posted by: meikah | 16 October 2006 | 10:45 pm

We are familiar with the five phases of Six Sigma: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control.

It is at the Define stage that we get to know the problem. At Measure stage, we gather relevant information on the exisiting performance of the process. At Analyze, we correlate the various measurements relate them to the process. We Improve by focusing on the solutions we have identified for the problem and ensure that we implement them properly. Finally, at Control, we evaluate the solutions, and adopt them to our organization.

Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing, and local professional services, came up with the four-step approach to Six Sigma Projects:

  1. Six Sigma Awareness: know the basics of six sigma.
  2. Training – Company-based cases and executive training: awareness, tool investigation, company case, branch examples.
  3. Selection of possible projects: project charters, training schemes, project planning.
  4. Execution of the one project – fast implementation of Six Sigma: financial results, coaching of trainees, interactive process.

I say, these four steps prepare you to deploying a Six Sigma project. Once your process improvement is underway, it’s till better to DMAIC it.

Filed under: Deployment, Training

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