Posts Tagged ‘Six Sigma Process’

The Pareto Chart: One of the Seven Basic Quality Tools

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012


 

Pareto Charts are a specialized Histogram of count data. It arranges the Bins or Cells in largest to smallest counts and gives you an accumulation line as seen below. It is one of the Seven Basic Quality Tools.

The Pareto Chart gets its name from the use of the Pareto Principle which states “ 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes”. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, originated this principle by determining that 80% of the land inItalyis owned by 20% of the population. Later it was found to hold true in many things and help us focus on the critical few. With a chart like this a team can decide where to place its priority and focus ( the big hitters). This is extremely helpful when time and money is limited as it is in most cases.

How to create a Pareto (Example in Bold)

Creating a Pareto chart is slightly more difficult than a histogram but is do able to build.

  1. Decide what the problem is that you want to chart. Damaged Fruit
  2. Collect the data on the problem over a good amount of time to insure a representative sample size.
  3. Determine the classification (categories) to group the data into.
  4. Group the data by category an determine the total for each category. Bruised 100; Undersized 87; Rotten 235; Under Ripe 9; Wrong Variety 7; Wormy 3
  5. Determine the total over all the categories. 100+87+235+9+7+3= 441
  6. Calculate the percentage for each category. Bruised 22.7%; Undersized 19.7%; Rotten 53.3%; Under Ripe 2.0%; Wrong Variety 1.6; Wormy .7%
  7. Rank order the categories from the largest to the smallest. Rotten; Bruised; Undersized; Under Ripe; Wrong Variety; Wormy
  8. Calculate the cumulative percentage at each category starting from the largest and going to the smallest. Rotten 53.3%; Bruised 76.0%; Undersized 95.7%; Under Ripe 97.7%; Wrong Variety 99.3%; Wormy100.0%
  9. Construct a chart
    1. With the left scale the count starting at 0 and going to the over all total count. Scale 0 – 441
    2. With the right scale the percentage starting a 0% and going to 100%
    3. The Horizontal axis will be labeled with the categories starting on the left with the largest and going to the smallest. Many times we will add up all the categories that have only 1 item in them and label it other. But you do not want this category to be the biggest. If it is you need to group some of them in to new categories. Rotten; Bruised; Undersized; Under Ripe; Wrong Variety; Wormy
    4. Draw the bars to show the count for each category listed.
    5. Draw a line to show the cumulative percentage for each bar. Start with the left most bar (the largest) and draw it to the right.

 Well there you have a short article on how to construct a Pareto Chart. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090

Scatter Plots for Visualization of Relationships.

Thursday, March 15th, 2012


Scatter plots are one of the Seven Basic QC Tools. They are a graph showing you the relationship between two factors or variables. It can show you if one variable effects another. This can be a very effective tool to find out if you change one thing in a process will it affect another. To see if there is a cause and effect relationship between two factors or variables.

Creating a Scatter Plot:

To create a scatter plot you follow the below steps:

  1. First you need to collect data. This data is called paired data because it will be values from both factors gathered so you can compare one with the other. You can and should collect this paired data with other information (data) that potentially could help understand what is going on.
  2. Next you need to determine which factor you want on the horizontal axis (x) and which to put on the vertical axis (y). This is your choice, but many put the potential cause on the horizontal axis (x) and the effect on the vertical (y) axis.
  3. After you have decided which goes on which axis you need to find the minimum and maximum value of each factor. These will be used to define the each axis scale.
  4. Now we setup the Vertical (y) and Horizontal (x) axis. Both should be the same length but necessarily the same scale. These axis will make the plot (graph) look like square fit the two are the same length.
  5. Mark are each axis scale by starting with the minimum value in the lower left corner for both and the maximum value at the other end. Make sure to divide and label the rest of the axis into equal segments so you will be able to easily plot your data.
  6. Now we plot all of the x, y paired data on the graph. Do this by finding the x value on the horizontal axis and plotting a point above that value that corresponds to the y value on the vertical axis. You continue doing that until all the points are plotted.
  7. Last, but never least, label your graph with a title and a label for the vertical and horizontal axis so everyone who looks at it will be able to under stand what they see.

Interpreting a Scatter Plot:

Now that we have a scatter plot how do we interpret what we see? Is there a relationship or not? Well how we do that is look for patterns. But first, are there any outliers? These are data point that are way out side the pattern of dots that you have plotted. What these point are cause from something other than the relationship of these two variables. Note them and if you can find out what happen that created them. Now let’s look for the patterns.

  • When seeing patterns remember that the tighter together the points are clustered, the stronger the correlation (the effect) between the variables (factors) you have plotted.
  • If you find a pattern that slopes from the lower left to the upper right. This tells you that as x (horizontal axis factor/variable) increases so does the  y (vertical axis factor/variable) increases. This means there is a “Positive” correlation between the two factors/variables.
  • If you find a pattern that slopes from the upper left to the lower right. This tells you that as x (horizontal axis factor/variable) increases, the  y (vertical axis factor/variable) decreases. This means there is a “Negative” correlation between the two factors/variables.

Below is a table of pattern to help you interpret your results:

 

Correlation and Causation

Now that you see a pattern and you have found or not found a correlation between the two factors or variables, please do not assume that one caused the other to happen. That may or may not be true. You see you may very well find a correlation between the number of people using public swimming pools and the number of cooler that break down, but I do not think one caused the other. What you have to do to verify the cause is to conduct a controlled experiment and see if I hold everything else steady will the change in one make the other change as predicted in the scatter plot.

 

But even though you do not have the cause true verified you now see that something is going on and that there is a good chance that one of these factor does effect the other.

Well there you have it. All you need to know about scatter plots. Or at least the basics on how to construct and interpret them. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090

How to build a good Check Sheet

Monday, March 5th, 2012


In an earlier article “The Check Sheet – Simple but Powerful” I talked about the power of a check sheet and how some use them. Here in this article I’m going to talk you through constructing one. Check Sheets are one of the Seven Basic QC Tools. You will usually construct a check sheet for one of two reasons. To collect information (data) about something, or to help you remember to do some thing. Lets look at both.

Collecting information:

When collecting information, check sheets are lists of items and the frequency that the item occurs. They can be made in so many different ways that many times, we don’t think of them as a list, but they are.

Simple Table Check Sheet

Figure 1: Simple Table Check Sheet

The most recognized check sheet is the simple table (Fig. 1). Here you create two columns, the first will be your categories and the second one the count or frequency it is detected. In the categories column you list in each row either an attribute or a range of values that you what to know information about. In figure 1 we have ranges of inches so we can capture different sizes (categories) of some measurement we are making.

The right column you label as frequency and put “tick” marks ever time you find a value in that measurement range. If you arrange the tick marks as seen in figure 1 (groups of five) you will see that your check sheet will look like a Histogram and you now can see the shape of the measurement distribution . With this information you can see the highest , lowest, middle and most frequent value that you collected easily from this table.

The same can be done for attributes or characteristics. For instance you could want to collect the number of each color car that drives by your house. In this case the left column would be a list of colors while the right tick marks for each car color that passed.

The Picture Check Sheet

Figure 2: Picture Check Sheet

Another very handy check sheet is what I call a “Picture” check sheet (Fig. 2). Here you take a picture of something you want to collect information about and you mark on the picture where something occurred. In figure 2 you can see a picture of a shoe. On it are red x’s  where defects were seen during an inspection. This type of check sheet is great for showing you were something occurred most frequently. Here on this shoe most of the defects are in the toe. So now we can work toe issue as it is the most frequent type of defect on this shoe. This could have been done in a table but find the correct description of where the defects are is sometimes difficult so using a picture make’s it real easy to see.

 

 

Help to Remember:

Figure3: Grocery List

Another type of check sheet we use a lot is a “Help me remember” sheet. It help us to remember what to do especially when we have complex task to perform and we do not what to forget anything. The one I know many use is a shopping list. Here you just have a list of thing to get and as you get them you check or cross them off the list. Assembly instructions can be a check sheet. Also think about restaurants where the waitress take your order she creates a check sheet to insure your order is completed as you ordered.

Another good check sheet at a restaurant that I frequent take the waitress out of the loop by making the menu a check sheet. Here you pickup the menu items you want by marking what you want to eat right on the menu it self. Then you hand it to the cashier they ring you up and the menu goes to the kitchen to be filled. Great idea, one less opportunity for a mistake on my order.

 

In  Summary

As you can see all of these answer such questions as:

  • Has all the work been done?
  • Has all the inspection been done?
  • How frequently a problem occurs?
  • What should I do next?
  • Have I done everything?

Well there you have how to build a good check sheet. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090

The Cause and Effect Diagram

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The Cause and Effect Diagram (C&E Diagram), sometimes called the Fishbone or Isjikawa Diagram, is one of the Seven Basic QC Tools. It is a simple but effective way to organize a group or persons knowledge about the potential causes of a problem or issue and display the information graphically. You might want to use this if you want to stimulate the thinking of a group around an issue. Or  so you can see the relationships between different potential cause of an issue or problem.

It was originally created and used by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa and is sometimes called an Ishikawa Diagram. Also, because of its shape it is called a Fishbone Diagram.

There are several easy steps to constructing a good C&E Diagram, they are as follows:

  1. Develop a team of people that are involved in the process area where this issue or problem occurs. Never try to do this alone because as a team each member brings to the discussion a different perspective of the issue or problem at hand.
  2. Have the team Brainstorm  to find all possible causes of the problem. Remember Brainstorming is a process of collecting ideas. You what as many as you can get even if some seem strange.
  3. Now have the team, using Affinity Diagramming, organize the results into rational categories and sub-categories. Many times getting these categories started or named is difficult so some start with a few basic one at the get go. The four “M’s” are commonly used ( Manpower, Machine, Material, Method) but other are just as good such as environment. As you can see by the diagram above they used Assembly, Process, Fabrication, Design. To them those worked.
  4. Now we start constructing the diagram by Drawing a box on the far right hand side of  a large sheet of paper and draw a horizontal arrow that points to the box.
  5. Inside the box, write the description of the problem or issue you are trying to solve.
  6. Next write the names of the categories above and below the horizontal line. Think of these as branches from the main trunk of a tree.
  7. Then draw arrows from those categories to the trunk ( the horizontal arrow drawn earlier).
  8. After that write in the next level of Sub-Categories and draw in arrow to their main categories. Think of these as limbs and twigs on the branches.
  9. Continue repeating step 8 until all of the sub-categories have been entered.

If you complete this exercise and find a lack of lower level branches and twigs this would suggest the team has a superficial understanding of the problem. In which case you will have to use GIMBA and gather more information.

Once you have this information you need to verify the information you have. Verify by going and collecting data to confirm which of these “potential” causes really do contribute to the issue. Your Diagram may be very large and doing this verification would take to long to do all, so for an alternative the team should prioritize the categories and look at the top few.

Once you have the big hitter then you can start trying to figure out why these occur and a good tool to start with is the 5 Whys.

Well there you have a short article on how to construct and interpret a Cause and Effect Diagrams. Stay in touch as I explain how to construct and interpret Histograms. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090

Reviews on training and coaching from students of the Pyzdek Institute

Friday, January 27th, 2012


If you are or were a student of mine in the Pyzdek Institute please feel free to write a review and send it to me at peter@bersbach.com and I will include it here:

I liked the format of this on-line course. The video “”lectures”” were great. Concise yet thorough. The assignments made a big difference. If I had not done the assignments, I would have left with an incomplete understanding of the subject matter. The fact that Peter also held me to a high standard was important. The mini lectures on various topics using Minitab and Excel, for example, were also very helpful. They saved me a lot time yet pointed me to the right location in the application. I did get stumped on the modules dealing with distributions. It took a couple of weeks (!) to feel comfortable with that subject. 1/26/12 Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Student

Pyzdek Institutes Training Best Quality Program

Monday, January 16th, 2012


The training we use at Bersbach Institute, at no additional cost to you, is found as the best quality program by World Class Manufacturing (WCM).

Plus when you add the coaching option Bersbach Consulting offers, especially with the Affiliate discount, you really have a great training program.

Six Sigma Certification Cost Comparison.

The Seven Basic Quality Control Tools

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Product or service quality is everyone’s responsibility, from a “Mom and Pop Shop” to an international corporation. So I thought I give those who don’t know how to look at the quality of what they do, a set of basic tools. Quality professional have all heard of “The Seven Basic Quality Control Tools” so here they are.

The Seven Basic QC (Quality Control) Tools are a given set of graphical techniques identified as being helpful in troubleshooting issues related to quality[1]. These seven are called basic because they can be used easily by anyone to solve the vast majority of quality-related issues. Many quality professional believe these were originated by Dr. Ishikawa, a world renowned quality professional.  But, he would tell you that he was inspired by the “Seven Famous Weapons of Benkei[2] . The designation as the “Seven Basic Tools of Quality” arose in postwarJapan.

The Tools

  1. 1.      Cause and Effect Diagrams: (Fishbone Diagrams, Ishikawa Diagrams)

These diagrams are tools that organize a group or persons knowledge about the causes of a problem or issue and display the information graphically.

 

It was originally created and used by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa and is sometimes called an Ishikawa Diagram. Also, because of its shape it is called a Fishbone Diagram. In general what you do is brainstorm ideas (causes) then group them in to categories. Those categories become the many branches of the Cause and Effect diagram.

  1. 2.      Check Sheets:

This is another simple but powerful tool. Check Sheets are lists of items and the frequency that the item occurs. They can be made in so many different ways that many times, we don’t think of them as a list, but they are. below are two, one that kind of looks like a list the other not so much. On the shoe the defects are marked with an “x” in the location it was found.

They are use to answer many important questions such as:

  • Has all the work been done?
  • Has all the inspection been done?
  • How frequently a problem occurs?

They are often used to remind individuals doing complex tasks of what to do and in what order. They are also used many times in conjunction with other tools to help quantify or validate information.

  1. 3.      Control Charts:

Control charts are the most difficult of the seven tools to use. They are seldom the method  of choice. When a process step is important, we would prefer that the step not vary at all. ONLY when this can not be accomplished in an economical way does one choose to use a control chart. Below is an “XBar-R Chart” also called an “Average and Range Control Chart”.

Control charts are only useful if the step (operation or function), over time, exhibits measurable random variation. Control charts display the data over time (Time is on the x axis above listed as sample). Control Limits (the red lines) are displayed on control charts, where data falling within the control limits are considered “normal” variation. Any point outside the control limits are considered “special caused” variation and need to be look at and corrected through an action plan. If you create a control chart, you must also have with it an action plan.

Besides control limits for control charts, there are several other type of trends (runs) that can indicate an out-of-control process.

What I have shown above is only one type a control chart and one of the simplest to use but there are several others (not so simple to use). Below is a Decision Tree Diagram of the different type and there use. Be sure you understand the application of each control chart or get help if you plan to use one of these.

  1. 4.      Histograms:

Histograms are a “picture” of a set of data (or information). It is created by grouping the data you collect in to “Cells” or “Bins” (Bars in the chart below).

Histograms take your data and give it a shape (Distribution). With this, you can see the data sets spread, central tendencies, and if it meets requirements. As you can see, it is a valuable troubleshooting tool. You can take it a compare differences between machines, people, suppliers etc. Never use a histogram alone always also plot it in a time ordered  plot (run chart).

  1. 5.      Pareto Charts:

Pareto Charts are a specialized Histogram of count data. It arranges the Bins or Cells in largest to smallest counts and gives you an accumulation line as seen below.

The Pareto Chart gets its name from the use of the Pareto Principle which states “ 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes”. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, originated this principle by determining that 80% of the land inItalyis owned by 20% of the population. Later it was found to hold true in many things and help us focus on the critical few. With a chart like this a team can decide where to place its priority and focus ( the big hitters). This is extremely helpful when time and money is limited as it is in most cases.

  1. 6.      Scatter Diagrams:

Scatter plot are a very simple tool to use to see if there is a correlation between two things (i.e. does one thing lead to another). I always before going into any major analysis of data, plot the data in some way to get a “gut feel” of what is happening. This tool lets you create a simple picture showing how two or more variables change “together”.

As one can see in the chart above the fruit on the tree increase in weight the longer it is on the tree. In scatter charts we see if one thing relates (correlates) with another. Below is a set of chart that shows some of the relationships you might find with this tool.

  1. 7.      Stratification: (Flow Charts, Run Charts, etc.)

To me Stratification is a catch-all for summarizing, picturing, or applying some tool to data so you can understand what is happening. Stratification is the process of dividing members of a population into homogeneous subgroups before using it. The data (strata) should be mutually exclusive: every element in the population must be assigned to only one subgroup (stratum). The data should also be collectively exhaustive: no population element (data) can be excluded.

That’s a mouthful, but if you look at above six tools all of them do this stratification of the data. In many texts they list either flow charts or run charts under this seventh tool area. A run chart is just the “Individuals Chart” of the above control chart without control limits. A flow chart takes a group of steps in a process and summaries them into a map of the way the process works. They are sometimes called a Process Map or a Process Flow Map.

They are created to:

  • Create a common understanding of the process flow
  • Clarify steps in a process
  • Uncover problems and misunderstanding in a process
  • Reveal how a process operates (good and bad)
  • Helps you ID places for improvement.

Well there you have a short description of the Seven Basic Quality Tools. Stay in touch as I go into each tool with details of how to construct and interpret them. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090



[2] Ishikawa, Kaoru (1990), Introduction to Quality Control (1 ed.), Tokyo: 3A Corp, p. 98, ISBN 9784906224616, OCLC 23372992

 

The Ever Changing Voice of the Customer

Friday, July 15th, 2011


In Six Sigma, we are very focused on the Voice of the Customer and creating Value for the customer. But getting our arms around this thing value is not real easy. In fact, I believe that it is this constant changing of what is of value that keeps all Quality folks employed. You see, over time, customers change and what they think is of value changes as well.

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to send someone a message most of the time you would mail them a letter. If it was really important, you could fax or telegram them. But today we have Email, Twitter, and Face book. I am not sure anyone really writes letter today. So here, you see a change in what is of value to “customer” (at least customers of the post office). In today’s market, the Post office continues to raise rates to cover costs. There is a think called the Kano Model that explains this very well.

The Kano Model:

The Kano model is a chart with that has two axis and three levels of quality or characteristics.

The two axis are Customer Satisfaction (this is their perception of satisfaction) and Customer Expectation (this is the reality of how well the expectation was met [usually in a percentage]). Some have labeled Customer Satisfaction as Quality.

Customer Satisfaction – This axis runs vertical with the top end of the axis (scale) being extremely satisfied and the bottom of the axis being extremely dissatisfied.

Customer Expectation – This axis runs horizontal with the left end of the axis (scale) being 0% expectations met and the right end of the axis being 100% of the expectations being met.

Note: the two axis cross dead center of each line.

The three levels of quality or characteristics are Must (Basic Quality), Wants (Expected Quality) and WOW (Exciting Quality)

Must (Basic Quality; Dissatisfiers) – These are characteristics do not sale a product but the customer assumes they are there. These are things like brakes, windows and tires on a car. Customers expect them to be there and will walk if they are not. But they are not on the list of things (specifications) customer walk in looking for in a product. You will note that in the Kano Model (fig. 1 below) the MUST curve lies totally below the Customer Expectation axis line representing dissatisfaction. This means providing must characteristics alone will not satisfy the customer.

Wants (Expected Quality; Satisfiers) – These characteristics are what the customer wants to see. Here the customer has come in specifically looking for these. With items that are more complex the customer has a list, specification, or drawing that includes all of these characteristics. Examples of these are a particular color, and multi-year warranty, or a short wait time. Customer usually will use these to decide to buy or not. In the Kano Model, these characteristics (Wants) are a straight line. Where it shows the customer is dissatisfied if there Wants are not met. But their satisfaction increases as more of these characteristics are met.

WOW (Exciting Quality; Delighters) – These characteristics are sale the product if all the others are met. These are characteristics that are above and beyond the customers expectations. Here the customer receives more than they expected. Examples of these characteristics are: collision avoidance systems, life time warranties, and free upgrades for life.  In the Kano Model, the curve for the WOW characteristics is completed above the customer expectation axis.

 

Figure 1: Kano Model

You will notice another line in this model in the upper right hand corner labeled “Competitive Push”.  This is what represents the “ever changing customer voice”.  You see things that WOW, delight and are unexpected today will be wanted and expected tomorrow (in the near future) and become must have and basic requirements further into the future. Things never stand still. Having a Desktop Computer instead of a mainframe terminal was a WOW in the eighties. In the nineties Desktops were wanted/expected and the Laptop was a WOW. Now Desktops are Musts with Laptops a Want and the IPAD the WOW. Who no’s what is next, but I can bet someone is coming up with that next WOW that will push the Desktop off the chart just like the wire dialup phone and the pay phone booth.

This model gives us an idea of how customer’s expectation (value) is constantly changing. One they see something they like most likely someone will make it affordable for that customer and soon. Who know some day we will all have a spacecraft in our garages and there will no longer be a need for streets. What a confusing airspace we will have. Oh well expectations will keep changing and those in the quality profession will constantly be watching for those shifts in customer expectations.

Well there you have my thoughts on the ever changing voice of the customer and the Kano Model. I hope this helps you with your projects’ focus on customer value and where it might have moved.

Oh, think what would happen if where you worked moved its product focus to a different industry, group or customer set. What happens to the model now?? Most likely, all the characteristics would still exist, but the customers expectation of each may change dramatically. Wow’s, What’s and Must’s could be totally reshuffled.

If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090

 

The NFL Talks Missing some Six Sigma Rigor

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

As practitioners of Six Sigma you may have caught this, but there are two important elements that the NFL talks have missed and I feel will lead to poor results or none at all. These two important elements are the concept of Customer Value, or some may say “stakeholder” value. Second is the concept of Teamwork. This second one I would think they would get since Football is a “Team” sport, but maybe not.

Customer Value

Customer or stakeholder value in solving an issue, involves insuring we know who the customer and or stakeholders are. Generally speaking you look at where the money comes from, Customers (fans). This is why in most places we talk about “customer Value”.  I also like to expand the “customer” to be all stakeholders because without all stakeholders a product can not be produced. So I define Stakeholders in three. Those three groups are:

1.      Customers – Where the income (money) comes from.

2.      Stockholders/owners – Who’s money is invested in the business and that investment is being spent to produce the value for the customer. Yon this group because in all businesses you have to spend money to make money. Customer pay for product at delivery usually not in advance.

3.      Employees/ Players – Who perform the “manufacturing of the product” for the customer.

Both the Stockholders/owners and the Employees/Players are investing time and/or money to create a value for the customer.

So where is the customer in the NFL talks? In businesses that are working similar issue this point and input would not be left out of the discussion, where clearly it is in the NFL talks. Businesses include them because the solution may not even be focus on increasing value to the customer. Which means insuring that the change will increase customer value thus increase profits.  When customers are left out ( even though they don’t know they are) they go some where else. That is what happened in the steel industry. That is also what was and may still be going on in the automotive industry.

By the way value can be defined (Seen) by asking three simple questions and you are creating value IF and only IF you answer yes to all three. They are:

  1. Does the Customer Care ( Is the customer willing to pay for this change)
  2. Did the “thing” in the process change. (With all the step you go through in changing a Flat tire ONLY removing the flat and placing the new tire on the car are value added.
  3. Last was it done right the first time. Customer do not like to pay for repairs or rework.

Teamwork

Teamwork in not decision making by concession or compromise it is decision making by consensus  or accord. To do that you have to pick you team members carefully. They need to come from all three stakeholder groups and each member needs to have the following qualities:

  1. Wants to make a difference by improving the process creating a better working place.
  2. Is willing to work on and support the team “project”.
  3. Is willing to take the risk of offering “Wild” ideas
  4. Is willing to withhold judgment
  5. Can “Piggyback off other’s ideas
  6. Is willing to LISTEN (no side talks)

 

As you can see not all the stakeholders are on the team and those that are there do not or will not agree with the 6 items above. In the six sigma world of problem solving this will only lead to disaster.

Well there you have my thoughts on the NFL talks. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

 

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090

Picking the Right Solution

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

In Six Sigma we use a five step process (DMAIC) based on facts and data focused on our customer value to grow the business. The idea is to improve the process; make things better; make step function improvements. But as I say that I have seen perfectly run projects get to the end of analyze and are killed when they start to make the improvements. Killed by management. What has happened? To understand that let’s look at the objectives of the Analyze step and the Improve step.

Analyze: Analyze the current state data and determine the Root Causes (opportunities to improve).

Improve: Develop and implement the best plan for improvement of the opportunities (Root Causes) identified in the Analyze Step.

The problem I have found is that teams focus is on one root cause and what they perceive as the best solution to that root cause. That does meet the objectives but the team is made up  of experts and others involved in the process at hand. They do not see the bigger picture from the total company or corporation view point. What usually kills the project is the solution is not acceptable to upper management and it is upper management that are the experts of the top level company/ corporate view of things. The L1 (level 1) Map of an organization. The team is usually working (and are the experts) at a L3 or 4 of the company. So how do you solve this problem. By doing two things.

1.) Make sure that your top level management sponsor is constantly up-to-date on all the teams activities. That they are PART of the team where they will see these problems coming. They are part of that management expertise that can see issues that will cause a solution, that looks obvious, to not work for the company as a whole. This is one reason why in Define you want a top level manager that has “scheduled” their time to work with the team. They have to be committed not just supportive of the team.

2.) Every problem I have seen has had more that on Root Cause. Each root cause also has more than one solution. Make sure you have multiple ways (options) to solve your problem. Yes, one of the causes will be the biggest and to solve it there will be one way that gives you the best return on investment, but you need to propose several ways to solve the problem, some better than others but all make an improvement.

Now when you pitch your solution to management you give them several options that your top level manager/sponsor has seen and supports. Management can look at what you propose and select the best way from their expert view point. Yes, I would push the teams solution but management should be able to tell you why they would not go with that one and as such your can propose a alternative that you have already developed that avoids the issue they see.

When a team does this they never seem to fail at this point in the project and they tend to go on to success.

Well there you have my thoughts on picking the right solution. It more like picking the right solutions. I hope this help you with your project and brings you to success. If, you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, emailing me, calling me, or leaving a comment on my website.

Bersbach Consulting
Peter Bersbach
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
http://sixsigmatrainingconsulting.com
peter@bersbach.com
1.520.829.0090