six sigma methodologies

Six Sigma Improve, Six Sigma Design and Lean are all inspired by Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. It is important to note that both Six Sigma and Lean focus on improving quality results. In both methodologies, process practitioners never drive toward a specific solution and never have a financial goal to reach.

Theoretically, if we saved one penny and improved quality, we would have captured the intention of our work. The fact is that when we focus on quality from the customer’s perspective and internal bottlenecks (voice of the employee) we are essentially reducing non-value added activities which results in costs savings. A wise organization will take those savings and apply them appropriately.

Six Sigma Improve and Six Sigma Design both comprise five phases each, they universally bear the acronyms DMAIC and DMADV respectfully.[12] At Metaspire we like to ensure that we are always learning so we have added an “L” at the end of each of these phases.

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six sigma improve

Six Sigma Improve focuses on one metric (e.g. accuracy, cycle time, cost, etc.), fixes a process or fine tunes a product to reduce defects that impact the customer. This project methodology has the following phases:

  • Define project scope, project goals in accordance with overall business strategy
  •  Measure and clearly define a Defect and Opportunity and each type of Fulfillment (Classical, First Pass, Throughput, Rolled Throughput), and explain how each type is calculated
  • Analyze the data to identify the root cause and interrelationships
  • Improve or optimize the process with a pilot based upon data analysis using techniques like Design of experiments
  • Control to continually monitor the voice of the process and the voice of the customer and stop defects from (re-)occurring
  • Learn and share the project lessons learned, best practices and potential leverage opportunities with key stakeholders
six sigma design

Six Sigma Design gets the process “right from the start” or redesigns a fundamentally broken process. Multiple metrics are addressed simultaneously. It is typically used to design a new product, new service or a new technology.

This project methodology, also known as DFSS (“Design For Six Sigma”),[12] features the following phases:

  • Define clear accountability and goals that are aligned with the voice of the customer, the voice of the market and the overall company strategy
  • Measure detail voice of the customer fulfillment, accuracy, cycle time quality measures and metrics, benchmark competition and create a balanced scorecard
  • Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create a high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design
  • Design tools for verification, create a multi-generational plan and a risk mitigation plan
  • Verify the design, set up pilot runs, implement the production process and hand it over to the process owners, execute the rollout strategy
  • Learn and share the lessons learned, best practices and potential opportunities with key stakeholders

One of the complaints of Six Sigma is that it takes too long. Obtaining the data, cleaning the data, and analyzing the data is time consuming. Lean typically brings quick solutions, however, it may not bring a process under statistical control. We customize both Six Sigma and Lean tools to get the greatest value for our customers.

[12] De Feo, Joseph A.; Barnard, William (2005). JURAN Institute’s Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond – Quality Performance Breakthrough Methods. Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited. ISBN 0-07-059881-9.

Regardless of the Six Sigma and/or Lean Path you chose, Metaspire has:

  • Certified Six Sigma professionals
  • Certified Lean professionals and
  • Certified Six Sigma Lean professionals

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Organizational Development support for an extensive Capability Maturity Model Integration benchmarking project that identified $200 Million in technology savings by restructuring software development processes. We received assistance tying together leadership roles, and processes.

-- Daniel Bovarnick, Former Director Technology Global Reengineering American Express