Management Strategies

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Six Sigma Principle Four: Apply Leverage

In Six Sigma terms, leverage is the ability to apply effort toward the critical few Xs that have the greatest impact on your desired Y. You have to expend a little effort to find the leverage, but when [more…]

Six Sigma Principle Five: Manage Risk

In a perfect world, there is no error — the ε in the Six Sigma breakthrough equation. Unfortunately, Six Sigma managers are faced with managing risk. The input [more…]

Six Sigma’s Four Domains of Activity

The sole purpose of Six Sigma is to increase productivity and using the four domains of activity can help achieve better efficiency. You can apply Six Sigma to four areas, or [more…]

The Five Stages of a Six Sigma Initiative

You don’t start a Six Sigma program by launching right into a bunch of projects; you will need to follow the five stages. Six Sigma is strong stuff; you move deliberately and prescriptively through distinct [more…]

How to Break Down Process Flow for a Six Sigma Initiative

In Six Sigma, you want to define a process very precisely — down to the last detail of activity, resource, decision, dependency, and value. Sometimes, this level of definition is the only way you can sufficiently [more…]

How to Develop a SIPOC for a Six Sigma Initiative

A successful Six Sigma Initiative requires developing a SIPOC. SIPOC, pronounced sy-pok, is an acronym that stands for Suppliers-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Controls. The SIPOC is a powerful companion to a [more…]

How to Create a VSM for a Six Sigma Initiative

Originating from Japanese manufacturing, another format of process mapping has its advantages for a Six Sigma Initiative. It’s called a value stream map and often is abbreviated simply as VSM. A properly [more…]

When Paper and Pen Beats a Computer for Six Sigma Applications

Most people use computers to do their work, and Six Sigma is naturally computational and collaborative, so manual tools have limited use. But with all the computer programs available — and the need for [more…]

How to Apply General Purpose Computer Programs as Six Sigma Tools

The suite of general-purpose programs that come standard on most computers includes word-processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawing. These can be useful for Six Sigma purposes and generally come [more…]

Process Intelligence Tools for Six Sigma

Most of the time, your Six Sigma project is charged with improving an existing process. This is made much easier with process intelligence tools. You’re not beginning with a blank page; your work is based [more…]

Statistical Analysis Tools for Six Sigma

The number one tool in the Six Sigma practitioner’s belt is the statistical analysis package. It’s the single most-used tool, and it’s critical to advancing the Six Sigma project from the M [more…]

How to Effectively Manage Six Sigma Initiatives

A Six Sigma initiative is a continuous series of projects — managing projects of various sizes and shapes cascading together predictably to create an unending stream of breakthrough improvements in business [more…]

How to Use Project Management Tools for Six Sigma

Six Sigma benefits are derived from a series of projects that require managing: big projects, little projects, projects within a single department, projects that cross departments, projects inside companies [more…]

Six Things to Do for Successful Six Sigma Initiatives

A Six Sigma Initiative can be a complicated compilation of projects that may need your constant attention. Use these six tips as guidelines to keep your initiative on track for success! [more…]

Four Things NOT to Do for Successful Six Sigma Initiatives

Six Sigma initiatives always have a long list of things to do to achieve a successful project. However, there are a few things you shouldn’t do to help get you to that finish line. Keep the following tips [more…]

Ten Ways to Gain Synergies between Lean and Six Sigma

Six Sigma and Lean are different but closely related improvement methodologies. Using elements from both can help gain synergy for your project. Six Sigma is a rigorous project-driven approach to reducing [more…]

Ten Places to Find Help for Six Sigma

Six Sigma is big, and it can seem almost daunting at times. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Although you may be blazing new trails through your own life and organization, thousands of people have forged [more…]

How to Define Six Sigma Specifications

Specifications are an important element in Six Sigma approaches. Before the 1800s, all products were manufactured one at a time by craftsmen. A gunsmith, for example, would shape a single barrel of a gun [more…]

How to Calculate Six Sigma Quality

The term Six Sigma comes from the statistical basis of the approach and methodology used to address quality concerns: the roll-up of characteristic behaviors and the natural increase in variation in each [more…]

How to Use Six Sigma’s Breakthrough Equation: Y = f(X) + ε

All of Six Sigma can be summarized with what’s called the breakthrough equation — one general-purpose equation that shouldn’t intimidate even the least mathematically inclined: [more…]

Six Sigma Principle One: Recognize Determinism

A fundamental element of the Six Sigma approach is the ability to recognize determinism. If you’re like most people in Western society, you’re results-oriented. You ask questions such as “How did it turn [more…]

Six Sigma Principle Two: Reduce Variation

In general, when planning for Six Sigma, variation is undesirable because it creates uncertainty in your ability to produce a desired outcome. Professional results, in anything, demand consistency. In [more…]

How to Create Scatter Plots for a Six Sigma Initiative

Often, you need to explore the relationship between two characteristics in a Six Sigma initiative. To do so, you use a scatter plot. Scatter plots get their name from their appearance — a scattered cluster [more…]

How to Create and Interpret a Process Behavior Chart in Six Sigma

A behavior chart graphically shows how variation plays out over time in a Six Sigma initiative. Time/order can be a critical factor, especially when you’re trying to figure out the causes behind variation [more…]

How to Create a Cause and Effect Analysis for a Six Sigma Initiative

A cause-and-effect matrix — sometimes called a C&E matrix for short — helps you discover which factors affect the outcomes of your Six Sigma initiative. It provides a way of mapping out how value is transmitted [more…]

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