Increasing Software Market for Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 28 November 2006 | 11:55 pm

ARC Group Advisory is seeing an increase in the software market for lean manufacturing and Six Sigma.

According to the group’s study the nearly doubling software market by 2010 is due to the strong competitive pressures on manufacturers and successes with Continuous Improvement (CI) solutions. In fact, the CI market alone will see a strong compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7%.

ARC Research Director Ralph Rio pointed out that two the two high-growth areas will be electronic kanban and electronic value stream mapping. Continue reading…

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Filed under: Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Marketing, Software/Technology

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Six Sigma Menu

Posted by: meikah | 27 November 2006 | 9:50 pm

As you serve Six Sigma to your organization every day, do you have the complete menu? Having a complete Six Sigma menu means that as you do DMAIC you have the tools ready for each phase.

Statgrahics presents this Six Sigma menu. Check your menu against this one, and maybe you have your own”ingredient” that you want to add to it.

Quality Function Deployment
Cost of Quality Trend Analysis
Cause-and-Effect Diagrams
Process Maps

Exploratory Plots
Time Sequence Plots
Gage Studies for Variables and Attributes
Sample Size Determination

One Variable Analysis
Capability Analysis for Variables
Capability Analysis for Attributes
Multivariate Capability Analysis
Distribution Fitting
Two Sample Comparisons
Multiple Sample Comparisons
Comparison of Rates and Proportions
Outlier Identification
Multivariate Methods
Reliability and Life Data Analysis

Regression Analysis for Measurement Data
Regression Analysis for Attribute Data
Life Data Regression
Analysis of Variance
Design of Experiments
Screening, Response Surface, and Mixture Designs
D-Optimal Designs
Inner and Outer Arrays
Designs for Categorical Variables
Multiple Response Optimization

Phase II Control Charts
Multivariate Control Charts
Acceptance Sampling
Classification Methods

Descriptive Time Series Methods
Seasonal Decomposition

One Sample Analysis
Two Sample Comparison
Paired Sample Comparison
Multiple Sample Comparison
Curve Fitting
Capability Assessment (Individuals)
Capability Assessment (Grouped Data)
Gage R&R
Automatic Forecasting

Expression Evaluator
Six Sigma Calculator
Probability Distributions
Surface and Contour Plots
Custom Charts

I have already outlined (and will build it from there) some of the “ingredients” here on our Six Sigma Links Library. Check them out.

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Filed under: Tools/Toolkits


Six Sigma at 3M Brazil

Posted by: meikah | 26 November 2006 | 11:36 pm

Leading maker of consumer and industrial products, 3M Brazil continues to seek improvement in their processes in terms of delivering quality pallets to itheir customers as well saving on costs. To be able to do this, they have decided to outsource its select pallet management activities to CHEP, the world leader in pallet and container pooling solutions.

Right now, 3M is already using CHEP for storing and transporting their finished products and raw material to the head office in Sumaré, Sao Paulo. So far, 3M is happy with the potential savings (63%) they will be enjoying compared to having its own storage and transport equipment, and they are assured of CHEP exceptional service such as tracking and good-condition equipment.

How 3M decided on choosing CHEP, BusinessWire reports:

To determine whether CHEP services were appropriate for the companys operations, 3M used Six Sigma processes, solicited feedback from wholesale and superstore retail customers and conducted a comprehensive reference call at the Brazilian facilities of a leading global consumer products company. During the review process, managers identified a chance to decrease loss of pallets and reduce the quantity of renewed equipment derived by costumer returns.

Related link: 3M Recognition as a Sustainability Leader

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, Outsourcing, Six Sigma Organizations

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Six Sigma, ISO, TQM: Which is Which?

Posted by: meikah | 24 November 2006 | 12:14 am

Over at Qualitas, Robert Thomson has an interesting discussion on ISO, TQM, and Six Sigma. Titled “The Battle of the Improvement Systems,” the article gives you a preview of what each improvement system is, how it is applied and benefits an organization, and most importantly, how ISO or TQM can work well with Six Sigma.

Let me share with you excerpts of how ISO or TQM can be combined with Six Sigma.

Combining Six Sigma with ISO
Six Sigma provides a methodology for delivering certain objectives set by ISO such as:

  1. prevention of defects at all stages from design through servicing;
  2. statistical techniques required for establishing, controlling and verifying process capability and product characterization;
  3. investigation of the cause of defects relating to product, process and quality system;
  4. continuous improvement of the quality of products and services.

Combining TQM with Six Sigma
Six Sigma is complementary to TQM because it can help to prioritize issues within a broader TQM program and provides the DMAIC framework which can be used to meet TQM objectives.

Is your quality system integrated with Six Sigma or do you apply the principles of TQM in a Six Sigma environment? What have been your experiences? Leave a comment below.

Read more…

I’ve talked with a few Six Sigma companies and most of them started with TQM or ISO, or other improvement systems and choose which one works best for their organization. I think that’s the way it should be.

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Filed under: Deployment, Six Sigma References, Tips

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Six Sigma and the Engineer-to-Order Manufacturer

Posted by: meikah | 21 November 2006 | 10:14 pm

Thomas Cutler shares with Quality Digest the value of Six Sigma on Engineer-to-Order Manufacturer. He opens by saying, “In a repetitive manufacturing environment, Six Sigma’s quantification is much easier than in the engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturing environment, where no two products are identical.”

With ETO and Six Sigma, it’s Six Sigma that provides the unifying influence on engineering and manufacturing. As a result, there is a quality control system that ensures flexibility and consistency to deliver the highest quality manufacturing services and cost effective product delivery.

Take a look at the features of Six Sigma and ETO and what it can do both together.

Some key quality ETO challenges:

  • Rapid expansion and addition of new facilities
  • Increasing variety of manufactured products
  • A requirement to achieve and sustain for full ISO quality system certification
  • A need to reconcile disparate paper and electronic systems and tools used to plan, measure, and manage quality control
  • A need to reduce costs and maintain or improve product quality

Six Sigma focuses on three essential elements:

  • Delighting customers. Customers define quality. ETO customers with one-of-a-kind manufacturing requirements still expect performance, reliability, competitive prices, on-time delivery, service, and clear, correct transaction processing.
  • Outside-in thinking. Quality requires ETO manufacturers to view business from the customer’s perspective only.
  • Leadership commitment. People create results. Involving all employees is essential to the success of ETO manufacturers and a Six Sigma implementation.

Six Sigma benefits in the ETO environment:

  • Streamlined tracking and management of Six Sigma issues
  • Employees are held accountable for turnaround time and quality
  • Problem products, vendors or employees will be quickly identified
  • Centralized problem-knowledge database for quick diagnosis
  • Rapid identification of outstanding problems based on exceeding time to resolve
  • Full integration with inventory control, scheduling, data collection, item master and bills or material
  • Tracking of all training, consulting, labor and equipment costs associated with your Six Sigma implementation
  • Electronic reports, CAD files, flowcharts or photos can be attached to each task, so all information is available online

Press Release: Visibility ETO ERP and Six Sigma Profiled in Quality Digest

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Filed under: Deployment, Manufacturing

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Fortune 500 Blog Project: Boeing

Posted by: meikah | 20 November 2006 | 1:18 am

Today, I am posting my contribution to the Fortune 500 Blog Review Series Project. Being keen on Six Sigma, of course I chose a Six Sigma company, Boeing, at #26 of the Fortune 500 company. Aside from checking out their blogs, I also hope to get a glimpse of the organization’s Six Sigma culture. Check out one of Boeing’s Six Sigma projects in this site’s Six Sigma Links Library, “Problem-solving approach helps team pinpoint solution.”

Boeing Blog is a blog by Randy Baseler, VP of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The blog expands on what Randy shares with people about Boeing and its place in commercial aviation. You will read about what’s inside the Boeing organization, and insights into the commercial airplane business.

As of writing, the blog is 23 months old, with its pilot entry dated January 17, 2005. It is updated three to four times a month. Only Randy writes and his posts may be long or short depending on the topic, and probably gravity of the topic. Not many links to other blogs. If there are any links, they are to Boeing reports or projects.

Newsfeeds are through RSS and Atom. Comments are allowed and sort of centralized. When you want to comment, you have to specify the subject of the post you want to comment on. So at every entry, you don’t see the comment. You have to go to the comments archived yet. Comments are moderated and there are guidelines on commenting or use of the info and images on the blog. Overall, the blog is a very good resource on Boeing. Randy Baseler is not its marketing guru for nothing.

I keyed in “Boeing blogs” in Google and I found quite a number of blogs talking or mentioning about Boeing Blog. These mentions however are old. They were done mostly last year. Micro Persuasion for example, announced the second Boeing blog, Flight Test Journal with its last post was dated December 22, 2005. This blog was for engineers and test pilots of Boeing’s new 777-200LR Worldliner who wanted to talk about how they’re preparing the world’s longest-range commercial airplane ready for commercial service.

Heather Green of Blogspotting also mentioned Boeing Blog, and saying that it is good example of a company effectively using a blog to discuss directly some critical points made by a Boeing fan about the next generation 787 Dreamliner passenger plane.

Other blogs that mention Boeing Blog last year are Cyberlibris, Sound Politics, Buzzworthy, and SixApart-ProNet to announce the Boeing blog’s relaunch.

Going back to the Flight Test Journal, it was one interesting blog. Lasting only eight months, as long as the flight test of 777-200LR, I learned a lot about airline testing and all the nitty gritty, such as quality assurance and technicals, before an airplane is declared safe to fly. Even though, the blog is old, it’s still worth checking out for it is a well of good information.

I will research more and give you updates on Boeing Blog in the days to come.

Filed under: Fortune 500 Blog Project

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Process Improvement Catches up on YouTube

Posted by: meikah | 15 November 2006 | 11:54 pm

Daily Motion in Europe is what YouTube is in the U.S. With 9,000 new videos uploaded each day and daily page views exceeding the 16 million mark, it looks like Daily Motion is set to bite a piece of Europe’s fastest-growing online audience. And with the Internet, it will be no surprise if Daily Motion will grab the world’s online viewers.

With this development, YouTube will definitely be on its way to process improvement. If they’re perceptive, Six Sigma may just be the answer.

Read about Daily Motion and YouTube on Global Business Watch.

Filed under: Events/Announcements, Software/Technology

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Process Improvement: Beginning and Continuation of Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 14 November 2006 | 11:07 pm

Over at, Ronald D. Snee, Ph.D., principal of Tunnell Consulting, Inc., shared that pharmaceutical manufacturing faces a lot of competition from abroad and from generics. Thus, professionals in this field see the need to reduce costs, and have blockbuster products in the pipeline, and most importantly improve manufacturing processes.

Despite this known need, these professionals hesitate to use process improvement strategies such as Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, or a combination of the two. That’s not the end, though.

Snee suggests instead that pharmaceutical manufacturing companies can start with a process improvement of their own. He outlines 10 steps to process improvement:

  1. Demonstrate the need for improvement
  2. Become familiar with proven improvement methodologies
  3. Build support in the management structure for real solutions
  4. Prepare yourself and your team for the effort
  5. Pick your project
  6. Complete the project in a timely fashion
  7. Periodically review the project with management
  8. Identify and demonstrate the effectiveness and value of your process improvements
  9. Select and pursue the next project
  10. Make improvement part of your organization’s infrastructure and, ultimately, its culture.

To me, if you are able to work on a process improvement like this, why not take it a step further and launch a Six Sigma or a Lean Six Sigma deployment? Six Sigma sounds daunting, well, in fact it may be is. Some practitioners even acknowledge that Six Sigma is a huge animal. However, I believe that if you have the focus and the discipline, and that you see the need and value of Six Sigma in your organization, then you won’t mind the challenges ahead.

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Filed under: Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Tips

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Six Sigma in Reel Life

Posted by: meikah | 13 November 2006 | 8:44 pm

Michael Marx of Six Sigma Companies blog got an interesting entry where he shares a story about Six Sigma being mentioned on 30 Rock, an American sitcom show on NBC.

The show stars Alec Baldwin who plays Jack Donaghy, a new network executive, who interferes with and bullies Liz Lemon, the headwriter of one show, into convincing another character, Tracy Jordan, a wild and unpredictable movie star, to join the cast.

How did Six Sigma figure in the sitcom? Donaghy talks about Six Sigma with his staff writers. Really amusing!

Check out Mike’s blog and read the other links about this story, and view a YouTube clip from the show there.

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Filed under: Entertainment, Six Sigma References

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