The 23rd Management Benchmarking Forum: The Best of Six Sigma Practices in the Philippines

Posted by: meikah | 31 January 2007 | 9:38 pm

I went to The Best of Six Sigma Practices in the Philippines Forum yesterday, Jan. 30. Organized by Kairos Management Technologies under the Deming Management Systems, the forum was attended by quality and HR persons from different industries: IT, BPOs, semiconductors, consumer, healthcare, and services.

The three speakers who shared real-life Six Sigma journeys were Marie France Padiz, Director for Quality, SPi Technologies Inc.; Jose Manuel Bonagua, Lean Six Sigma Manager, On Semiconductor Philippines; Thomas Morsheim, Director for Subcon Management, NXP Philippines, with the theoretical framework and integration provided by Mr. Benite Teehankee, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business, De La Salle University. This is what I learned from them:

  1. Before deployment: diagnose your organization first, look at the human development system, and build your culture.
  2. If going to deploy Six Sigma: you have to commit 100% to undergo the quality or Six Sigma journey.
  3. On introducing the Six Sigma methodology: better if you can incorporate Six Sigma into the existing quality initiatives. All of the three companies have undergone 5S, TQM, Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, ISO, before going into Six Sigma. Each even has developed its own quality programs, which is a combination of all quality strategies.
  4. When ready to deploy: Deploy properly, and do some drumbeating. Develop an eye for risk. Best when Management is on board. Start with training, better yet have a good consultant.
  5. During deployment: Drive continuous improvement by putting reminders and project updates where everyone can see or access it. Have training, incentives, recognition, and promotion built into the quality program.
  6. After all’s said and done, Six Sigma is not a silver bullet. It may or may not solve all your process problems. But an awareness of and commitment to quality are the key factors.

I will be featuring the three companies and the speakers in my succeeding posts here. So stay tuned! :)

*Photo credit:

Filed under: Deployment, Events/Announcements, Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma Organizations, Training

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Six Sigma Round-up

Posted by: meikah | 30 January 2007 | 11:45 pm

Here’s another edition of the Six Sigma Round-up. Let’s see some updates from the other Six Sigma or Quality blogs.

Six Sigma Blog gives the assurance that even a small company can go Six Sigma and will be benefitted by it just as much as a big company. Priya Jestin presented the issues that small companies will be facing and how to overcome them. This is a good encouragement, and with the right attitude and commitment, I believe, too, that a small company can be a Six Sigma organization.

Over at iSixSigma Blogoshpere, Michael Marx shares Colin Powell’s thoughts on leadership. Powell was the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Six Sigma Summit in Miami, Florida. In his speech, Powell emphasizes that a leader is someone who is receptive of new ideas no matter where those ideas come from in the organization. By listening to everyone, each is encouraged to bring his ideas to management knowing that he will be attended to. I totally agree with this. Being in management does not give you the monopoly of ideas; neither are you the spring of all ideas. As a leader, you motivate and work with everyone to achieve higher goals.

Sanjaya Kumar Saxena of Discover6Sigma discusses the real-life applications of distribution, that is how data elements of a given data set are distributed within its range. Distribution is a very important concept in Six Sigma. It determines the behavior of your normal curve. If your data stays within the standard deviation of 1.5 range/shift, then the deviation is still acceptable. That is why, you need to be able to determine the distribution of your data. Distribution can explain data compression, data reliability, project planning, and quality management. Although the post is old, it’s still an interesting read. You should write more often Sanjaya. :)

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


Six Sigma Reference Feature: The Black Belt Memory Jogger

Posted by: meikah | 29 January 2007 | 9:19 pm

Yesterday’s post mentioned that to succeed in your Six Sigma project, you need to learn the skills of the methodology. What better way to learn it than through training or certification—be a Black Belt, for example—and read up on all the good books that you can get. Also, to be true the principles of Six Sigma, you have to constantly learn and improve your skills., a Six Sigma consulting company specializing in DMAIC, DFSS, and Lean Flow, recommends The Black Belt Memory Jogger: A Pocket Guide for Six Sigma Success. Here’s a synopsis provided by

A low cost tool that can bring you Six Sigma success. Help all of your Black Belts become the teachers, mentors, and leaders you know they can be. Starting with a clear depiction of the DMAIC model and the roles and responsibilities that help ensure that Six Sigma methodologies become ingrained in the organization, The Black Belt Memory Jogger™ clarifies concepts and tools, from Critical To Flowdown through Control Plans, illuminating these methods in 25 detailed chapters of Six Sigma know how. No Black Belt should undertake a Six Sigma project without a copy of The Black Belt Memory Jogger™ in his or her pocket. As a quick reference under tight timelines it will help keep projects–and concepts-on track. As a teaching tools for team members, it has no equal; small and easy to carry, comprehensive yet concise, and most of all, written from a training perspective so every topic and every page goes quickly to the critical point of interest. It is the perfect place for mentor and student to come together and begin to build new levels of Six Sigma success.

One reader said that the book is concise and is very useful for someone who is on a Six Sigma project. The tools are made clearer with the use of illustrations. Even the graphs for statistical detail are not too overwhelming.

Check it out!

Filed under: Deployment, Six Sigma References

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Six Sigma in IT

Posted by: meikah | 29 January 2007 | 12:07 am

We first hear about successful Six Sigma projects in manufacturing, then we hear about Six Sigma in services. These projects have been successful because of the use of technology. We know there’s the Six Sigma software from Minitab. So, it came quite as a surprise when I read about the recent news on Six Sigma Zone that IT is slow to pick up the Six Sigma wand.

According to the whitepaper published on, IT has to overcome three challenges before it can smoothly implement Six Sigma. These three challenges are: (1) IT has two sets of business processes. (2) Too many IT business processes. (3) Little IT business process digitization.

How to hurdle these three?

Kintana, Inc. can help. Kintana’s new approach for IT processes is to:

know the importance of processes first. Next is to be skilled in Six Sigma improvement methods such as DMAIC, DMADV. And most importantly, the catalyst that will allow IT to overcome the challenges is a transaction and decision support system that digitizes IT processes, while enabling DMAIC and DMADV improvement projects. Read more…

Source:, Kintana’s Six Sigma Friendly Approach to IT Process Improvement with link provided by Six Sigma Zone.

Filed under: Deployment, Software/Technology, Tools/Toolkits

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Innovation of the Week: F35 Warplane

Posted by: meikah | 26 January 2007 | 12:33 am

You may have noticed some changes on this blog, aside from the layout of course. Every day, I have a feature, which makes your reading more varied yet informative.

Today, I’m launching another feature that I title, Innovation of the Week. After all, Six Sigma is the formula for breakthrough innovations. So, toward the end of the week (Thursday or Friday), I will share with you innovation news.

For this week, I’m sharing with you a U.S. fighter plane that will built in such a way that no other American fighter plane, or any other fighter plane for that matter, has been since WWII. This warplane is called F35.

What’s unique about this plane is that it will be assembled more like a car: on a moving line in a process that the Pentagon hopes will dramatically cut costs and speed production—much like achieving Lean and Six Sigma.

The article on LA describes F35 as:

The F-35 would be the only fighter to enter production in the next decade, and could even be the last piloted warplane aircraft bought by a U.S. military that is shifting to robotic planes and other means of delivering weapons to their targets.

The three basic variants of the F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, are intended to replace Air Force F-16s, Navy F/A-18s and Marine Corps AV-8Bs.

Continue reading…

Is this going to be the same way for ships as well?

If you have innovation news or stories—much better if driven by Six Sigma or initiated by Six Sigma companies—that you would like to share, please email at ma.merdekah[at]gmail[dot]com.

Source:, “A fighter on the line”

Shout out: Thanks to Renee, my colleague, who designed the logo for this feature. ;)

Filed under: General, Innovation Update, Manufacturing, Military

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Six Sigma Drives Growth in Savings at Covance, Inc.

Posted by: meikah | 24 January 2007 | 11:05 pm

Covance, Inc. closed its books in Dec 2006 with a big growth in earnings and savings. Being one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive pharmaceutical research, development and manufacturing services companies, Covance is looking forward for more in 2007.

Yahoo! Finance reports:

  • EPS was $2.24, including a $0.04 per share gain from the favorable resolution of several income tax matters during the third quarter.
  • Excluding the income tax gain, earnings were $2.20 per share, representing year-over-year EPS growth of 25.1%, with both periods including stock-based compensation expense and excluding the $0.07 per share repatriation-related income tax charge in 2005.
  • At least 25% earnings growth for our shareholders for six consecutive years.
  • Strong repeat work and 33% growth in our backlog to more than $2.2 billion.
  • In the fourth quarter, overall revenue growth was 6.4%.

Continue reading…

According to Joe Herring, Covance’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:

“Our focus on productivity enhancements and the expansion of Six Sigma programs continued to pay dividends as evidenced by the 120 basis point expansion in operating margin to 14.4% for the full year and culminating in a very strong 15% performance in the fourth quarter. In addition, Covance delivered strong free cash flow of $23.8 million in the fourth quarter, and we reduced our DSO to 49 days, the lowest level in three years. In 2007, we expect low- to mid-teens revenue growth and earnings of at least $2.63 per diluted share.”

Yahoo! Finance, “Covance Reports 4Q EPS of $0.59 & Sixth Consecutive Year of 25% EPS Growth” with link provided by iSixSigma.

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

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(Lean) Six Sigma News Round-up

Posted by: meikah | 23 January 2007 | 11:31 pm

Today, here’s what’s happening at Lean Six Sigma blogs.

Got Boondoggle? —a blog dedicated to the improvement of work through implementation of Lean Manufacturing principles, Six Sigma quality, and the elimination of waste—shares his initial Kaizen experience: from being a concrete head to being humbled by what he learned. It’s an interesting read about resistance to new ideas and ways of doing things and then accepting them to appreciate its merits.

The new Lean Six Sigma Academy Blog (shouted out by Got Boondoggle?), posts a blog poll:  Lean or Sigma or Both? Which is most effective for your company? Tell Ron Pereira about it.

Over at Lean Blog, it emphasizes the importance of savings on things that really matter. Mark Graban invited Lean manufacturing folks to work specially in healthcare, a sector that needs to be able to save on a lot of things so that, I guess, patients won’t be burdened with exhorbitant fees.

Filed under: Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma References, Tips


Six Sigma Blog Feature: Six Sigma Blog

Posted by: meikah | 22 January 2007 | 6:22 pm

Today, I feature another Six Sigma blog, which is aptly titled Six Sigma Blog.

The Six Sigma Blog challenges everyone to manage effectively with Six Sigma. Ever since I started this blog,, I would go to them for reference. They also feature the latest news, issues, and predictions of Six Sigma. They also give links to good sources of Six Sigma news.

Lately, however, they have not been updating the blog regularly. I also notice staff writers and contributors writing for the blog. I hope they continue to give relevant Six Sigma news. We need all the resources that we can get to spread the good news, that is Six Sigma.:)

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

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The Eight Basics of Lean Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 21 January 2007 | 9:43 pm

Competition in the market is here to stay. With technology, which innovates every second, running most of the show, competition is bound to become fiercer by the day. So, how do companies achieve and sustain profitable growth?

People in the know realize that for companies to grow and consistently exceed bottom line expectations, they need to get lean. Not only that, they need to combine lean with a methodology that works well in a lean environment.

Lean Six Sigma has been touted to be the strategy that drives most successful manufacturing companies today. William H. Gaw shares with iSixSigma, the importance of mastering the eight basics of Lean Six Sigma.

  1. Information Integrity: Let your systems be driven with accurate and relevant data.
  2. Performance Management: Have a balanced scorecard that emphasizes motivation and winning behavior.
  3. Sequential Production: Launch a sequential production system: continuous production lines that are supported by real-time, visual material supply chains.
  4. Point of Use Logistics: Reduce cost by ensuring that a quick movement of production parts and components from the stockroom to their production point of use.
  5. Cycle Time Management: Focus on the continuous reduction of all cycle times. This requires a focus on root cause and proactive problem solving.
  6. Production Linearity: Form teams of employees to pursue and achieve linear production to achieve speed, quality, and costs.
  7. Resource Planning: Have a reliable information that tells you when to downsize or upsize direct labor force in a timely manner.
  8. Customer Satisfaction: Plan and implement proactive projects that breakdown the communication barriers with customers.
  9. Continue reading…

iSixSigma, “Eight Basics of Lean Six Sigma for Manufacturing Firms” link provided by PROMAX Consulting.

Filed under: Deployment, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Six Sigma Organizations

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Six Sigma at Johnson & Johnson (Philippines)

Posted by: meikah | 18 January 2007 | 10:47 pm

Last Monday, Jan. 15, in The Philippine Star Business Section, I saw a whole page release of Johnson & Johnson (J&J)as recipient of the 2006 Philippine Quality Award (PQA).

The whole J&J organization has long been committed to quality. In fact, they started implementing Six Sigma back in 1997. Since then, they have been living with process excellence and have enjoyed big savings.

According to Rath & Strong Management Consultants of which J&J is a client, J&J has achieved the following:

  • 1997 Launch — Six Sigma methodology, deployment training, and support
  • 40 coached projects resulting in $250MM savings year 1; 60 coached projects resulting in $350MM savings year 2
  • 100,000 employees — virtually all businesses, functions, processes worldwide
  • Establishment of process-based dashboards and metrics
  • Full leadership team engaged in Six Sigma development and dashboard development and use
  • Improved reporting disciplines throughout entire business
  • Dramatic results in taking substantial costs out of the business and driving top-line growth

Back to J&J (Phils.), the company’s quality journey started in the 1980s with a purely product-focused quality mindset through the Quality Improvement Program. In the early 1990s, the program further evolved towards TQM through J&J’s own Signature of Quality.

J&J’s quality journey keeps evolving through these years by committing to Process Excellence, which all employees must undergo. According to the press release in The Philippines Start, a select few pursue advance training in Six Sigma. Right now, there are nine certified Six Sigma belts, out of a lean headcount of 173 employees. More are undergoing certification process. The belts lead and mentor company WIGS (wildly important goals) projects, provide technical coaching to other employees on improvement methodologies, and deploy the DMAIIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Implement-Control) process in addressing operational challenges.

To show that the company is really into Six Sigma, J&J (Phils.) launched Sally Sigma, a locally developed character tapped to teach concepts, demonstrate practical application of improvement tools and methodologies, do online coaching and mentoring, and communicate principles in bite-size portions. Sally Sigma has worked effectively for J&J (Phils.) that it has been adopted by other affiliates.

Rath & Strong Management Consultants, “Client Achievement—Johnson & Johnson and Six Sigma

The Philippine Star Business Section, “Johnson&Johnson (Philippines) Inc.: Journey to Quality Recipient of the PQA Recognition for Commitment to Quality Management.” January 15, 2007.

Filed under: Awards, Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Pharmaceuticals, Six Sigma Organizations

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