Kaizen with Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 20 December 2007 | 11:11 pm

Loosely translated from Japanese, Kaizen means “continual improvement.” Further, an iSixSigma article describes Kaizeon as a strategy that promotes learning, builds capability, and improve processes. It drives everyone to constantly seek, study and exploit opportunities for improvement.

Kaizen, therefore is particularly effective in business environments that seek to improve their value streams with an inexhaustible focus on more effectively delivering value to customers and society.

How then is Kaizen with Six Sigma. Look at the figure below.

kaizen and six sigma

Then click here for the discussion.

Filed under: Kaizen, Six Sigma


Wordless Wednesday: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Posted by: meikah | 19 December 2007 | 12:27 am

six sigma rainbow

Filed under: General, Wordless Wednesday

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Six Sigma Questions for the Holidays

Posted by: meikah | 18 December 2007 | 8:35 pm

I don’t know about other countries, but here in the Philippines, we prepare—anticipate may even be a better word—for Christmas about three months before the day itself.

six sigma holidaysPreparing means playing Christmas songs, putting on Christmas decors. Stores begin to sell Christmas stuff as early too, and I know some people start their Christmas shopping, too, that early.

Now, if we view it from a management standpoint, we would ask:

  • do those stores selling Christmas stuff early get good ROIs without battling with inventory issues?
  • do they avoid the holiday rush thus they don’t suffer from delays in delivery
  • is the early selling dictated by VOC?
  • do these stores have the data to support their action?
  • what metrics did they use to connect supply to ROI?
  • since I see this happening every year, do most customers really shop early?
  • do these stores try to improve the quality of their product and service every year?
  • have they set up a devise that will tell them that this is the way to go?
  • or are they just doing some agenda-setting, that is condition the mind of customers to shop early and prepare for Christmas early, to increase bottomline?

Holly Hawkins had similar questions more than a year ago. Check her post!

If you have the answers to these questions, do share them with us. :)

*Photo from pbhomepage

Filed under: Benefits and Savings, DMAIC, ROI, Six Sigma, VOC

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From the Practitioners’ Mouth Comes Lean News on Healthcare

Posted by: meikah | 17 December 2007 | 7:55 pm

lean six sigma in healthcareA couple of days ago, I stumbled upon a good resource on Lean, Lean Six Sigma, or Six Sigma being implemented in healthcare.

The blog titled Lean Healthcare Exchange is a forum for leaders in Lean Healthcare, Healthcare Quality, Lean Six Sigma. These people exchange ideas and share their lessons to everyone. What’s good about this site is that the posts are real-life issues besetting the healthcare industry.

It has run the whole gamut of taking the cudgels of leadership in healthcare, to the right tools for the job, to problem solving. It’s a wealth of information on the Web.

Check out the blog!

*Photo from MorgueFile

Filed under: Deployment, Healthcare, Lean Six Sigma, Quality, Six Sigma References

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Six Sigma Improving Processes at Procurement

Posted by: meikah | 17 December 2007 | 12:31 am

Are you handling the spending in your company well, yet not being able to make a few dollar savings at all?

Well, you could learn from Farley Blackman, the vice president of indirect procurement and Six Sigma at UK-based BP. Mr. Blackman manages the company’s $8 billion spend on facilities, travel, information technology, consulting, human resources, and financial services.

That’s a huge amount of money to handle on important, if not crucial, processes. Yet Blackman is still able to save a lot. How does he do it? He streamlines internal processes through Six Sigma, and what’s commendable is that he does this on top of all his other tasks. It’s not really part of his job.

His first step was to initiate a Six Sigma project in his own department. When others saw his progress, they decided they wanted to launch projects too, so Blackman detailed members of his own staff to help them. Among the projects: working with BP’s solar business to increase yields from manufacturing operations. Demand for solar modules is outstripping supply. Getting more product from the same amount of raw material is critical since silicon, the material required to make photovoltaic cells, is a constrained commodity, he says. The Six Sigma projects have reduced silicon-wafer breakage, increased power output from modules and reduced scrap. Results: $1.6 million in savings so far. He says the company is on target to deliver more than a 15X return on investment on the incremental costs.

Read more…


Filed under: BP, Deployment

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Using Six Sigma for Employee Promotion

Posted by: meikah | 17 December 2007 | 12:03 am

I have written quite a number of posts about the use of Six Sigma in human resource. Some of the posts touched on fast-tracking recruitment process, others on providing training for employees. Not one touched on promotion.

six sigma for IT managementIf Six Sigma can improve recruitment and training processes, I believe it can also be used for evaluating employees for leveling up.

Cummins is actually doing it. An article on Information Week narrates how the company will be using Six Sigma to determine of IT employees can be managers.

CIO Gail Farnsley shares how she will apply process improvement method, particularly Six Sigma, to identify and develop the manufacturer’s IT management talent. Right now, she’s looking into the following:

  • starting with the VOC survey, asking business-unit heads about the strengths and weaknesses of the IT division
  • ranking and prioritizing the qualities of a future IT leader
  • looking into IT management candidates’ experience in non-IT roles
  • tracking how many of them actually make it to leadership positions

Read more…Source:
InformationWeek.com, a Six Sigma Zone featured link

*Photo from MorgueFile

Filed under: CIO, Deployment, Human Resource, IT, Software/Technology

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Santa Claus Uses Six Sigma for the Christmas Rush

Posted by: meikah | 13 December 2007 | 8:48 pm

It’s that time of year again when Santa Claus, the famous CEO of Polar Enterprises, Inc., is on top of what he likes doing best: producing toys and giving them to every child in the world.

six sigma christmasWith a worldwide customer base, which is increasing by the second, you would wonder how Santa does it without a snag.

I stumbled upon an interesting interview with Santa Claus by e-Zsigma newsletter’s Six Sigma Spotlight. Below are the highlights of the interview:

  1. Incorporating Six Sigma with Lean Manufacturing, and leveraging Senior Santa’s Helpers (aka Black Belts), toy production efficiencies at Santa’s company were up by 5%.
  2. Deployment and practice of Six Sigma – the entire system of toy production is dynamic and so they used modeling and experimental design and ended up with an optimized routing and delivery process. This has saved us a considerable amount of time… “I am home quicker for Mrs. Claus, and I even get to stop for my favorite post-delivery beverage… A Grandé Hot Chocolate at Starbucks… with lots of whipped cream!”
  3. Despite the magnitude of toy deliveries that needed to be done, at Santa’s Workshop, the so-called “last minute” rush is nonexistent. “Our deployment strategy for Six Sigma included a comprehensive assessment of our core business processes, using such tools as SIPOC, Process and Value Stream Mapping, Root Cause Analysis, and much more to identify the key processes and more importantly, the key variables affecting the capabilities and outcomes of each of these processes. Statistical analysis played an important role at the task level of the processes, so we could really analyze variation and capability. We then tied the outputs of these processes directly to our 6 billion plus customers, and using something I think they called Quality Function Deployment and House of Quality, we were able to align and quantify all of what we were doing with those outputs or deliverables. Our Senior Santa’s Helpers were trained in basic as well as advanced tools, including statistics, and were assigned specific projects aligned with our deployment and business strategy that would maximize the benefits to operations and solve many of the recurring problems we had been struggling with.”

Click here to read the interview.

*Photo from MorgueFile

Filed under: Christmas, Events/Announcements, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing, Services, Six Sigma

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Wordless Wednesday

Posted by: meikah | 12 December 2007 | 8:02 pm

wordless wednesday

*Photo from Team SMI

Filed under: Six Sigma, Wordless Wednesday


The Latest on Six Sigma at First Sumiden Circuits Inc.

Posted by: meikah | 11 December 2007 | 10:29 am

Early last year, I wrote about my plan to feature First Sumident Circuits Inc. or FSCI, but my tight schedule had not allowed it. But interviewing Dan Lachica, the president and COO of FSCI and a Six Sigma Black Belt, will be on top of my list for next year.

six sigma at FSCIAt any rate, more than a year after, FSCI is still making waves because of Six Sigma. The company is the country’s pioneer in manufacturing flexible printed circuits (FPCs). FPCs are thin and lightweight wiring components with electronic circuits printed on flexible substrate. These are found in consumer electronic productsm and this has been a Japanese dominated field. But FSCI is competing well because of the sound business practices, technology transfer and the sales and marketing network.

On top of these and with Dan Lachica at the helm, FSCI has embedded the Six Sigma psyche into its culture. As a result, it has received recognition (Platinum Award from the Safety Organization of the Philippines; 2nd Place in the 2006 European Six Sigma Summit Excellence Awards; and a similar award in the 2007 Asian Six Sigma Excellence Awards, and is enjoying significant savings pegged at $3.2M. Read more…

It’s always heartwarming to know that a Filipino-based company is doing well because of Six Sigma.

Lopez Link

Filed under: First Sumiden Circuits, Inc., Manufacturing, Six Sigma

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Herman Hurwitz, Your Friendly Neighborhood Six Sigma Physician

Posted by: meikah | 10 December 2007 | 9:33 pm

Wouldn’t it be music to your ears if you knew that you had a friendly neighborhood Six Sigma Physician? You bet!

Well, if you are near any one of those Quest Diagnostics Inc. labs, then you can sleep well at night because you have actually a Six Sigma physician in the person of Herman Hurwitz. What does he do?

Dr. Hurwitz makes sure that you get your laboratory results fast and reliable. His goal is for the 300 technicians and 17 physicians on his staff to turn around routine lab work overnight and have results back to doctors by 6:30 a.m. They process about 25,000 test orders a day.

Quest Diagnostics has been following Six Sigma management doctrine for seven years to reduce errors and improve efficiency. “Do we make errors? Yes, of course we do,” Hurwitz said. “But when we do, we find out why and we fix it.”

On the efficiency side, the lab questions every step its technicians take to accomplish a task – literally. “We look at something as simple as a technologist walking around the counter,” he said. “Do they really have to walk around the counter?”

Continue reading…

This is the value of incorporating Six Sigma into your processes. You know exactly what to do and how to achieve results.

Philly.com a Six Sigma Zone featured link

Filed under: Deployment, Healthcare, Services, Six Sigma

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