Oriel Inc.’s Whitepaper: Using Enabling Technology to Maximize Returns from Your Six Sigma Program

Posted by: meikah | 31 May 2007 | 11:29 pm

Oriel Incorporated has just published its newest whitepaper titled, “Using Enabling Technology to Maximize Returns from Your Six Sigma Program.”

Most Six Sigma projects fail because of the failure of organizations to monitor the effectiveness of the program, and leverage their learning and experience to continually improve. This is true, especially when there is no wholistic approach to Six Sigma.

With this whitepaper, organizations will be guided on how to use enabling technology to allow all the key activities of Six Sigma or other process improvement initiative perform through a single integrated interface. Specifically, the following questions are answered:

  • What is fragmentation and what does it do to the effectiveness of Six Sigma programs?
  • How can enabling technology reduce the impacts of fragmentation?
  • What are the key features of enabling technology?
  • When should an organization consider implementing enabling technology?
  • What is the difference between enabling technologies and existing ERP or BPMS systems?

Check the whitepaper out!

Source: iSixSigma Library

*Photo from StockXchng

Filed under: Deployment, Oriel Inc., Six Sigma References, Software/Technology

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Lean, Six Sigma News Roundup

Posted by: meikah | 30 May 2007 | 9:03 pm

Today, let’s do the rounds of blogs that talk about Lean, Six Sigma, and other quality management strategies.

Let’s start with The Sixth Sigma, which I recently discovered. It features IBM and the company’s move to go lean has nothing to do with its streamlining of workforce. Well, that should be the case, for Lean is more than just laying off employees. The essence of lean is the continuous pursuit of waste elimination.

Over at Lean Six Sigma Academy, Ron is calling all bloggers or Six Sigma practitioners who want to share their insights on Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and other continuous improvements, to be guest bloggers at LSSA. Good idea, Ron!

Rob Thompson of Lean Sigma, which is now Learn Sigma emphasizing on the lean + six sigma formula, shares how Sony has screwed up lean methods: “God help you if you need a new screw for your Sony stuff: Sony charges 61 Euros (more than $82) for a replacement.”

Then Mike Wroblewski of Got Boondoggle? shared an amusing yet informative incident during their Kaizen event. Kaizen is yet another interesting quality strategy.

These are interesting insights that could help your continuous improvements now. Check out the blogs!

Filed under: Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma, Mike Wroblewski, Robert Thompson, Ron Pereira

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Six Sigma Reference Feature: International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage (IJSSCA)

Posted by: meikah | 29 May 2007 | 8:56 pm

I used to visit Inderscience Publishers regularly, but because I’ve been busy the past months, it was only today that I visited the site again. Good thing, I did for I saw there a call for papers for an interesting journal.Published quarterly, the International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage (IJSSCA), will publish non-published papers on the following subjects:

  • Six Sigma for new product development processes (Design for Six Sigma)
  • Six Sigma and its link to other quality improvement initiatives
  • Six Sigma and its link to quality engineering issues
  • Integration of lean production and Six Sigma strategies
  • Case studies of Six Sigma (manufacturing/service/transactional processes)
  • Tools and techniques of Six Sigma and design for Six Sigma
  • Project selection in Six Sigma
  • Critical success factors of Six Sigma and design for Six Sigma
  • Performance measurement for Six Sigma and design for Six Sigma
  • Six Sigma and its role in IT
  • Customer focused Six Sigma
  • Problem solving using Six Sigma methodology
  • Strategic aspects of Six Sigma
  • Role of leadership in Six Sigma
  • Six Sigma for SMEs
  • Six Sigma in supply chain management
  • Six Sigma and lean thinking
  • Best practice of Six Sigma
  • Click here for more details.

Filed under: General, InderScience Publishers, Six Sigma References

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Six Sigma Improving Processes at BayCare Health System

Posted by: meikah | 28 May 2007 | 8:40 pm

I have always been concerned about how hospitals run their business, especially how they respond to emergencies or life-threatening situations. So when I read about Six Sigma or Lean being used to improve processes in hospitals or healthcare, I am happy.

BayCare Health System is a case in point. When Baycare started Six Sigma, it was Black Belt Angi Jennings’s first project. The goal was to reduce patients’ ventilator days and length of stay in ICUs. Using DMAIC, SIPOC, ANOVA, and other tools, Baycare was able to achieve its goals.

Here’s a summary:

Business Problem: High number of ventilator days for ICU patients

Methodology: DMAIC

Solution: Interdisciplinary rounding and standard weaning protocols


  • Savings of $650,000 annually
  • Ventilator days reduced by 38%
  • ICU LOS reduced by 23% for vented patients
  • Reduction in ventilator related complications
  • Improved teamwork and communication among care providers

Read the rest of the case study here.

BMG: Breakthrough Management Group

Filed under: Baycare Health System, Benefits and Savings, Deployment, DMAIC, Healthcare, Lean Six Sigma, Processes, Services, Statistics, Tools/Toolkits

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Innovation of the Week: Take this Innovation Challenge

Posted by: meikah | 25 May 2007 | 1:34 am

In April last year, BusinessWeek Online came up with a list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies in the 21st century.

These companies are recognized for their being able to:

  • reinvent business processes
  • build entirely new markets that meet untapped customer needs
  • consolidate, select, and execute the right ideas, and bring them to market in record time

Do you have what it takes to be like Apple, IBM, Procter & Gamble, BMW, GE, Nokia, 3M, to name only a few?

Take this Innovation Challenge and find out. :)

Filed under: Innovation Update, R&D, Tips


Six Sigma and Online Banking

Posted by: meikah | 23 May 2007 | 8:54 pm

What does a typical Black Belt project look like?

Do you have the same question? I do. Then we have iSixSigma Q&A to thank.

The project was online banking. The case study reviews how a Black Belt entered a dot-com transactional business, reviewed a process, and came to his own conclusions about process performance.

Check out the case study here.

Using DMAIC, the project was able to uncover and solve issues such as online deposits through post mailing checks and deposit slips, transfers of deposits from the local bank to the central office, and cycle time, and in so doing it helps the online bank gain credibility among depositors.

*Photo from Stock.Xchng

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, Data Analysis, Deployment, DMAIC, Finance, iSixSigma, Online Banking, Services


How Six Sigma Can Better Assess Performance Evaluation

Posted by: meikah | 22 May 2007 | 10:54 pm

Without a clear measurement to evaluate performance, management could only focus on conformance and nonconformance minus the common cause. And according to Forrest Breyfogle III, this method of evaluating performance can drive the wrong behaviors among employees.

Breyfogle wrote an article for BPM Mag, and discussed there how Six Sigma can drive better management reports by having good metrics to evaluate performance. He suggests an approach, which he calls Smarter Six Sigma Solutions (S4) or “Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE).” It can open managers’ eyes to ways in which the metrics they’ve chosen are driving the wrong employee behaviors, and can help them focus improvement efforts on actions that can truly impact performance. He gives interesting real-life examples, from which we can really learn from.

This part here in the article pretty sums up Breyfogle’s ideas:

Generally speaking, though, organizations can achieve more gains by continuously working to mitigate common-cause problems by improving their basic processes. Effective, long-lasting improvements to processes are not made by firefighting. They require the examination of process data over a period of stability to determine what should be done differently in the long term.

Presenting performance data in traditional management reports, with simple year-to-year comparisons of metrics, may identify results that are out of line with targets, but it does little to help executives determine how to respond to those results. How can a company fix poor performance when it doesn’t know what caused that performance?

Process improvement projects in Six Sigma utilize a define-measure-analyze-improve-control (DMAIC) road map to investigate the causes behind nonconforming processes using both statistical and nonstatistical techniques. Such an analysis can lead to long-lasting, sustainable improvement, and taking an S4/IEE approach to reporting on the analysis expands the positive impact that companies see in their top-level performance metrics.

BPM Mag, “Common Cause: How Six Sigma Can Drive Better Management Reports”

*Photo from MorgueFile

Filed under: BPM, Data Analysis, DMAIC, Forrest W. Breyfogle III, Processes, Tools/Toolkits

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Six Sigma Reference: Sanofi-Aventis Pharma, A Case Study

Posted by: meikah | 21 May 2007 | 8:21 pm

sanofi-aventis and six sigmaWestern pharmaceuticals companies are now being challenged by Asian—particularly, India and China—pharmaceuticals that are making significant headway in the field. The Asian companies have an edge in terms of low labor cost and minimal environmental requirements. Thus, the Western companies have to rethink their strategies. Many of them are now using Six Sigma to accomplish their new corporate strategies and face head on among other things, the Asian challenge.

Sanofi-Aventis, one of the world’s leading pharmaceuticals, is one of the Western companies that have embraced the Six Sigma methodology and have run their processes using DMAIC. Through Six Sigma, Sanofi-Aventis sped up run times and increased cost savings.

Dr. Ingolf Stückrath, who joined Sanofi_Aventis in 2000 as assistant plant manager, became Six Sigma Black Belt in 2002, headed the Six Sigma deployment at the Frankfurt Biotechnology site, and went on to become Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Dr. Stückrath shares their Six Sigma deployment in a case study. In a nutshell, this is how the Six Sigma implementation goes:

  1. Training, facilitated by Motorola, of employees to be Six Sigma Black Belts.
  2. Broadening of Six Sigma activities by incorporating Lean Six Sigma Tools.
  3. Boost of the morale of employees when they saw Six Sigma as part of their job to continuously improve processes. Six Sigma has pervaded the whole organization as employees took ownership of the initiative and got rewarded by their efforts.
  4. The result: Sanofi-Aventis’ Frankfurt Biotechnology site is always ready to conquer all future business challenges.


Over at PharmaManufacturing.com, there’s a good discussion on the pathway to continuous improvement. It tells about how continuous improvement initiatives, such as Six Sigma, are increasing efficiency and productivity, and reducing cycle and setup times in manufacturing at pharmaceuticals.

Filed under: Deployment, DMAIC, Healthcare, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi-Aventis, Team Dynamics, Training

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Six Sigma Realizing Benefits and Savings for Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc.

Posted by: meikah | 20 May 2007 | 7:36 pm

hexionlogo.gifHexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. is the world leader in thermoset resins. For years, it has been providing the right technology and material that help customers bind, bond, and coat thousands of products.

Last week, Hexion reported strong first quarter results that ended March 31, 2007. The following are the highlights:

  • Revenues of $1.44 billion in 2007 compared to $1.23 billion during the prior year period, an increase of 17 percent.
  • Operating income of $104 million for the first quarter 2007 compared with first quarter 2006 operating income of $110 million. Last year’s operating income, however, included a gain of $37 million from the sale of non-core assets, net of which earnings were up 42 percent.
  • Net income of $4 million for the 2007 quarter versus net income of $35 million in the prior year period. The prior year period included the gain from the sale of non-core assets, which increased net income in the first quarter 2006 by $31 million.
  • Quarterly Segment EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) increased 29 percent to $170 million in first quarter 2007 compared to $132 million during the prior year period. (Note: Segment EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure and is defined and reconciled to Net Income later in this release).
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $679 million for the Last Twelve Month (LTM) period ended March 31, 2007. (Note: Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure and is defined and reconciled to Net Income later in this release).

Read more…

Being a Six Sigma organization, this should not come as a surprise. According to Craig O. Morrison, Hexion’s Chairman, President, and CEO, “We maintained our emphasis on pricing pass through to recover the rapid rise in raw materials that occurred throughout 2006. With the leveling off of raw materials in the first quarter 2007, the impact of our synergies, Six Sigma projects and other initiatives were reflected in our bottom line.”

BusinessWire, “Hexion Specialty Chemicals Reports Strong First Quarter 2007 Results” with a link from iSixSigma

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, Deployment, Hexion, iSixSigma, Services, Six Sigma Organizations

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Innovation of the Week: Enertia House – A Home That Heats and Cools Itself

Posted by: meikah | 18 May 2007 | 1:41 am

Preserving our natural resources and keeping our environment clean is the current order of the day. Leading auto manufacturers are now launching environment friendly cars and several groups are pushing for alternative sources of energy. It’s good that people are now joining forces to address major environmental concerns.

Over at Pogue’s Posts, David Pogue featured the winner of the Modern Marvels/Invent Now annual contest run by the History Channel and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The winning invention is called Enertia House.

According to the inventor, Michael Sykes, an engineer and former log-home architect:

It’s a design for a home that heats and cools itself, with benefits both the homeowner and the environment.

Two factors contribute to this effect. First, the entire house is made of southern yellow pine. According to Mr. Sykes, this wood is especially efficient at maintaining a constant temperature; it absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night.

Second, air circulates in a convection cycle from top to bottom of the house, constantly redistributing the heat.

Continue reading…

Filed under: David Pogue, Innovation Update, Sustainable Business

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