Using Six Sigma Principles in RFP

Posted by: meikah | 29 January 2008 | 9:48 pm

six sigma writingAm I talking about Six Sigma being applied to writing? Yes! I learned that Six Sigma principles can actually help you formulate your business proposals.

By definition an RFP, or a request for proposal, is a document that an organization posts to elicit bids from potential vendors for a product or service. For example, a new business or a business moving from a paper-based system to a computer-based system might request proposals for all the hardware, software, and user training required to establish and integrate the new system into the organization. Another business might draft an RFP for a custom-written computer application they wanted to outsource.
Where does Six Sigma come in?

The world of Six Sigma Quality Improvement provides some guidance for ideal RFP operation. The first three steps in Six Sigma are define, measure and analyze, and that is precisely what the RFP should do. The first step in RFP creation is to prioritize the objectives of the business and, by extension, the project. You then take the prioritized project criteria and determine how they may be best measured. Lastly, the RFP document provides a mechanism for analyzing the measured criteria.

Continue reading…

Filed under: Six Sigma, Six Sigma References, Writing

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SixSig News: The Six Sigma Way Study Guide

Posted by: meikah | 29 January 2008 | 9:06 pm

Finally, I was able to edit the chapters of The Six Sigma Way study guide. I apologize to those who have tried accessing the study guide and found the chapters all messed up.

The Six Sigma WayThe Six Sigma Way, authored by Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, and Roland R. Cavanagh, is a clear, simple implementation guide to use Six Sigma successfully in various situations. Go over the study guide and read the book. You will find more value and lessons from the book.

After reading the chapter guides, check out also the study guide, the Q&A portion of each chapter and find out if you have learned some basic thing or two. As I write, I’m also improving the layout of the Q&A; otherwise it’s good to go.

Here’s some advance info: I’ll be writing another study guide or book review—one or two—this year. So watch out for that, too.

Filed under: Six Sigma, Six Sigma References, Study Guide, Tools/Toolkits

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Reinvigorating Your Six Sigma Deployments

Posted by: meikah | 28 January 2008 | 9:49 pm

The biggest challenge in any Six Sigma initiative—or any other initiatives for that matter—is how to sustain the enthusiasm of everyone. Better yet, how to get them inspired every step of the way, especially when they are faced with one roadblock after another.

Isn’t it that in the DMAIC, the Control phase is probably the most difficult one to manage?

six sigma podcastIf you’re faced with a similar situation, you may learn from this podcast script courtesy of SBTI.

In that podcast titled, Six Sigma Reinvigoration, Bill Hertzing and Debby Sollenberger, Vice-President for SBTI, talk about how to overcome malaise in your Six Sigma deployment.

BH: What then IS reinvigoration.what does that mean?

DS: Well, reinvigoration means understanding where your deployment is at its current state and then making it better. Reinvigoration can take many forms.again depending upon where a Company is in their Lean Six Sigma journey. The first step, as with everything in Six Sigma, is to assess your deployment in its current other words conduct a critical analysis of your deployment. And, based on what you find, reinvigoration may mean going back to basics. Back to basics meaning understanding the known critical to quality deployment dimensions.and making sure they’re not overlooked. OR.Reinvigoration may not be a back to basics issue.reinvigoration may mean that it’s time to extend your great deployment.take your current deployment successing further across the organization.

Read more…

Listen to the podcast here.

*Photo from MorgueFile

Filed under: Deployment, DMAIC, SBTI, Six Sigma, Six Sigma References

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Roadblocks on Six Sigma Teams

Posted by: meikah | 27 January 2008 | 8:25 pm

six sigma teamsTeams drive your Six Sigma deployment. Good teams and brilliant teamwork move your Six Sigma initiative more efficiently.

There are however situations and circumstances that teams encounter problems. This happens for several reasons. Are you in that stage where you feel that your team is not going anywhere? And that you’re trying to see what’s stopping your team from moving forward?

You may be encountering the roadblocks below, and may have yet to discover the solution. Check each one out and its corresponding solution.

Pitfall No.1: Starting a team when you have no data (line graph and pareto chart minimum) indicates you have a problem that cannot be solved using Six Sigma. Without data to guide you, you don’t know who should be on the team, so you end up with different people trying to solve different problems.
Solution: Set the team up for success. (1) Work with data you already have; don’t start a team to collect a bunch of new data. (2) Refine your problem before you let a group of people get in a room to analyze root causes.

Pitfall No.2: Question data. To throw a team off its tracks, some member who doesn’t like the implications of the data will state in a congruent voice that the data is clearly wrong. If you let it, this will derail the team into further data analysis. I know from experience that all data is imperfect. It has been systematically distorted to make the key players look good and to manipulate the reward system, but it is the “systematic” distortion that allows you to use the data anyway.
Solution: Recognizing that this member is operating on gut feel, not data.

Pitfall No.3: Whalebone diagrams. When searching for root causes, if your fishbone diagram turns into a “whalebone” diagram that covers several walls, then your original focus was too broad.
Solution: Go back to your pareto chart. Take the biggest bar down a level to get more specific. Write a new problem statement. Then go back to root cause analysis.

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ExpressComputer, a Six Sigma Zone featured link

*Photo from Stock.Xchng

Filed under: Deployment, Six Sigma, Six Sigma References, Six Sigma Zone, Team Dynamics

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The SixSig Roundup

Posted by: meikah | 24 January 2008 | 10:32 pm

sixThe link roundup is back and I’m giving it another name, The SixSig Roundup. Why the new name? I will now be linking to other equally relevant quality news aside from Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma.

So, join me as I go ’round the blogosphere!

In my previous post, I shared the interview of Executive Suite with Textron CEO Lewis Campbell. Michael Marx of also shared the interview in his blog. He put emphasis on doing better or continuous improvement.

Recently, we have been hearing about layoffs left and right. In situations like these, who can we blame? Curious Cat Management reacts to Lean Insider’s question: Do Lean Companies Create Fewer Jobs? Same with John of Curious Cat, I’m on Deming’s side when he says: improve quality, lower costs, gain market share, provide more and more jobs…

Just when we think that a lean company is almost achieving perfection, Boeing’s lean supply chain stumbles. Gemba Research Blog takes a look at the situation in Boeing and recommends not copying Boeing’s 787 supply chain strategy. As the blog talks about supply chain and parts, and inventory, I am reminded by The Goal.

Filed under: iSixSigma, John Hunter, Lean, Six Sigma, Six Sigma References

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Textron CEO Lewis Campbell Talks About Six Sigma

Posted by: meikah | 22 January 2008 | 8:57 pm

If you’re company or group is on the verge of giving up on Six Sigma, here’s one interview that I’m sure will inspire you again to vigorously go for Six Sigma.

six sigma at TextronYes, the lessons I learned from the interview are persistence, dedication, and focus. Your organization must decide to go for Six Sigma and commit to seeing it till the end. That’s what Textron is doing and look where the company is now and going.

In Lewis Campbell words:

I’m bullish on our long-term success for a variety of reasons. The transformation of our company is very broad. It entails a variety of things all supported by Six Sigma. If earnings per share needs to improve year over year, eventually you run out of gas if you don’t have a strategy of transformation.

Further down:

Six Sigma is not enough. Implementing it at Textron was absolutely necessary, but there are other things that must be done to drive continuous improvement. It’s bodacious, but we said we’re going to become known and recognized as the premier multi-industry company. Not a premier company, but the premier company, which means establishing a track record of years and years of performance. Somebody out there has to be the premier company. Why can’t we? Once you make that statement, you have the license to walk in and ask what are we doing to create a premier legal department, or finance department or production line. If you get enough premiers, pretty soon you’ll be known as the premier company.

Read the interview.

I guess all we need is some imagination to make Six Sigma work for us, too. Remember, Six Sigma is more than just data, waste reduction, it’s a way of life.

USAToday, a Six Sigma Zone featured link

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

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Six Sigma and Tennis

Posted by: meikah | 21 January 2008 | 11:50 pm

If there’s one sport that I wanted to learn, it’s tennis. It’s not that there was never an opportunity to learn the sport because for one, my childhood friend’s family was then running a tennis court business. We would often go to their house and play, but not tennis though. Like most little girls, we were addicted to dolls.

six sigma and tennisI know it’s not too late to learn it. Meanwhile, I content myself with watching tennis live or on TV and see my favorite players execute their almost perfect moves and frustrating unforced errors.

Speaking of unforced errors, I stumbled upon an article on that somehow links Six Sigma with unforced errors in tennis. Of course, we all know that errors of any kind is really detrimental to any kind o f endeavor.

The article, written in 2004, narrates that during a tennis tournament, when players reach the finals, their unforced errors diminish. The winners are those who have the least unforced errors.

Relating tennis to business, any unforced error in transaction is bad for business. This is where Six Sigma comes. After all, Six Sigma is a methodology that help companies examine every little detail in how things are done in order to figure out how to reduce errors to near zero.

Read the article.

I’m enjoying right now the Australian Open, and rooting for Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova.

Roger Federer gave way to Tennis’s rising star Novak Dyokovic, and Maria Sharapova went on to win her first Australian Open. :)

*Photo from MorgueFile

Filed under: Data Analysis, Six Sigma, Sports, Zero Defects

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10 Reasons for a Six Sigma Certification

Posted by: meikah | 20 January 2008 | 9:33 pm

Time and again, we hear companies saying that Six Sigma works for them. Other companies however do not and cannot claim benefits from their Six Sigma deployments.

If you throw these issues to quality practitioners, even Six Sigma proponents, they would say that the Six Sigma of Six Sigma depends on many factors. It’s true.

six sigma certificationHowever, just in case you really think Six Sigma can add value to your company, let me share with you 10 reasons why you need a Six Sigma certification.

    1. To save money - These programs are designed to reduce the amount of waste that is created when you are manufacturing your products. What these processes will do is look at you entire manufacturing process, one step at a time and see where you can make any changes or improvements that will increase your productivity. These programs increase your productivity because they get rid of waste and poor quality, which means you are producing more quality products and you are not wasting time or energy on production costs.
    2. To make quality your companies priority – make your products and services worth your customers’ money, and that your products add value to your customers’ organization.
    3. To reduce operational costs – focuse on reducing the number of defects that are produced, reducing the cycle time, and cost savings.
    4. To make your manufacturing plant more efficient and help improve safety, meaning less accidents will occur at your manufacturing plant.
    5. To train everybody in the company from upper management on down – everybody in the company is on the same page and being on the same page ensures that everybody is doing things the same way.
    6. To teach people how to problem solve – with the training mentioned in #5, everyone in the organization is going to learn how to approach a variety of situations and figure out how to solve the problems they face.
    7. To increase your floor space – you will be more organized, which means there will be less clutter in places so you can actually see what is going on. This makes sense because if you can’t see what is going on there is no way to figure out what needs to get improved.
    8. To take a narrower focus on what needs to be improved, rather than a broad focuses – this helps boost employee morale and show people that it is going to work.
    9. To take a look at one section at a time and to actually look at your quality standards to see if they need to be improved
    10. To focus on cost cutting measures that can reduce the value and quality – basically six sigma focuses on getting rid of costs that have no value to the customer.

    Source:, a featured link of Six Sigma Zone

    *Photo from Stock.Xchng

    Filed under: Certification, Six Sigma, Six Sigma Zone

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    4 Tips for Leveraging Lean Six Sigma for Compliance

    Posted by: meikah | 17 January 2008 | 7:28 pm

    Many companies sell their organizations by boasting about their licenses or accreditation from quality regulatory bodies or compliance systems. In turn, customers tend to believe that accredited companies are better than those that are not.

    There are good and bad sides to this. The good side is that companies that aim for accreditation—from SOX or ISO—are more conscious about their getting their processes working well. The bad side is that companies just do it for the sake of getting the accreditation without really going through the real motion.

    There is also the danger of being too compliant, which could subject organizations to unnecessary processes. Examples of these are multiple approvals at every level, more measurements and metrics than anyone can reasonably look at (and whose purpose is unclear), report after report produced that no one has time to read, and many more.

    Nevertheless, Lean Six Sigma techniques can help companies address compliance issues.

    1. Evaluate and Understand Gaps – understand where the biggest risks and gaps exist. Then launch several phases of Lean Six Sigma projects, beginning with the highest risk gaps, to streamline the processes with the right controls.
    2. Apply Basic Process Map Analysis – determine what parts of which process are necessary to accomplish their purpose, and which add cost and time but no value. Or measure and analyze how time is spent in a process, focusing on the time spent on value-added (VA) versus non-value-added (NVA) activities.
    3. Use Data Tools to Identify Risks – to focus in on the highest areas of compliance risks use the Pareto chart and cause-and-effect diagram.
    4. Use QFD to Select Appropriate ControlsQFD can help in selecting appropriate controls and process features to accomplish business objectives. and can be used to evaluate the importance of existing controls and to select effective new controls against business objectives.

    Read more…

    iSixSigma, Are You Too Compliant? Reduce Waste with Lean Six Sigma

    Filed under: Deployment, iSixSigma, Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma

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    Innovation + Six Sigma = The Balanced Innovator Book

    Posted by: meikah | 15 January 2008 | 9:41 pm

    Probably like most of us, Robert Carter also wondered why some products succeed and others fail. In the same manner that some companies are successful and others are not. The only difference between him and us is that he is discerning enough to know and find out the balance among the what, how, and why questions, and actually sit down and right his insights.

    six sigma and innovationThe book, The Balanced Innovator shows readers how to understand the importance of achieving the What, How, Why Balance, but also how to measure it and what to do to achieve it.

    Carter will challenge us to think beyond world class performance, and describes how to render competitors efforts irrelevant. He also explains the strategies for listening to the ‘chorus of the customer’, and his approach makes it clear just how everybody in an organization is responsible for business growth.

    Read more…

    The book is a result of Carter’s experiences in innovation and Six Sigma. Check it out!

    MacroWorld Investor, a Six Sigma Zone featured link

    Filed under: Innovation, Six Sigma, Six Sigma References, Six Sigma Zone

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