Six Sigma Driver Program

Published: 16th November 2006
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1.1 Six Sigma Driver Program

Six Sigma (a registered service mark and trademark of Motorola) is a methodology to manage quality losses from business process variations that cause an unacceptable deviation from the target and a resultant defect; and to systematically drive improvements towards managing variation to eliminate those defects.

The objective of Six Sigma is to minimize the loss-to-society by delivering high target performance, high reliability and value-add to the customer.

The word sigma is a statistical term that denotes how far a given process metric deviates from the target. This distance measures how many "defects" there can be in the process. The larger sigma gets, the lesser the number of defects. Thus, by knowing the current sigma, effort can be directed to reduce this deviation to get as close to "zero defects" as possible. While it may not be possible to achieve zero defects, to achieve Six Sigma Quality, a process must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (dpmo). An "opportunity" is defined as a chance for nonconformance or not meeting the required specifications. This means a process must be nearly flawless in executing our key processes.

Six Sigma focuses on the improvement of business processes so that implementers achieve extraordinary ongoing benefits of tens and hundreds of millions of dollars per annum. These financial benefits are achieved by increasing quality, reducing variation, reducing cycle times, eliminating waste, encouraging innovation, tightening customer relationships, and strengthening corporate cultures.

Businesses embarking Six Sigma projects have ?Champions? who are responsible for supporting, aligning and integrating the Six Sigma activities in their organization. Champions are trained in the essentials of the Six Sigma methodology, especially focusing on how to select projects that are aligned with business goals. Champions in turn select and mentor Six Sigma project leaders who are called ?Belts? and ensure the Belts have the training and resources they need to successfully lead Six Sigma projects. Belts can be Green Belt, Black Belt or Master Black Belt.

Six Sigma programs are implemented through the DMAIC process consisting of:

Define What is important?

Measure How are we doing?

Analyze What is wrong?

Improve What needs to be done?

Control How do we maintain performance?

1.1.1 Define

The Six Sigma DMAIC method is about solving a problem (Big Y) defined in measurable terms with many variables (Xi) each with weighting a, b, c, ?, n, etc. So

Y = Sum (a.X1, b.X2, c.X3, ?, n.Xn).

In the Define phase, the Six Sigma project team identifies a project based on business objectives and the customers of the process and their needs and requirements. The team identifies CTQ (Critical To Quality) characteristics that have the most impact on the business and creates a process map for improvement.

1.1.2 Measure

The Belt leading the project determines the viability (capability and stability) of the project Y and how well it can be measured. If the project has a clear definition and metric, the Key Process Steps are studied and the Key Inputs identified for each process. Key Inputs are sorted to prioritize a short list for further study. An important aspect of Measure is to identify the gap between the current process performance and the desired process performance.

1.1.3 Analyze

In this phase, the team evaluates on how to reduce the gap between the current process performance and the desired process performance. This is often done through the careful analysis of process data. Six Sigma analysis techniques are very important.

1.1.4 Improve

Problem causes identified in the Analyze phase are overcome with creative improvements.

1.1.5 Control

In the Control phase, mechanisms are put in place to ensure that the key variables are maintained within acceptable operating ranges over time. Thus, maintaining the gains. A project hand off process, reaction plans, and training materials are developed to ensure performance and long-term project savings are realized.

1.1.6 Real-life implementation

The real-life implementation requires application of many process improvement tools to identify, execute and close projects. In modern businesses, these tools are nearly always computer aided and much excellent software exists to complement practitioners without the fear of intricate statistical training.

With the Six Sigma storyboard, Belts can conduct several studies under a project and open each project element as a dynamic applet.

Consider a team working on Reducing Forming Defects. There are many tools and techniques which are required in this problem solving process. These activity tools can be organized as follows.

In fact, Six Sigma requires employees and managers to tackle a large number of applets including the following:

7QCT: Seven Quality Control Tools

Process Flow Chart, Check List, Cause-Effect Diagram, Pareto Analysis, Histogram, Scatter Plot, SPC

NQCT: New Quality Control Tools

Advanced Flow Chart, Affinity Diagram, Characteristics Matrix, Organization Chart, Tree Diagram, Force Field Diagram, Before After Graph, Pareto Comparison, Simple Gantt Chart, Gantt Chart

AQCT: Advanced Quality Control Techniques

5S Housekeeping, Benchmarking, Innovative Creative Circles

VOC: Voice of Customer

Things Gone Right, Things Gone Wrong, Voice of Customer, Kano Analysis

QFD: Quality Function Deployment

Quality Matrix, Function Matrix, Quality-Function Matrix, Production Matrix, Concept Selection, Service Matrix

FMEA: Failure Mode Effects Analysis

Product, Process, Product & Process, Production

SPC: Statistical Process Control

Machine Capability, Pre-Control Chart, XBar-Sigma Chart, XBar-Range Chart, XInd-RMov Chart, XMov-RMov Chart, Median Chart, d Chart, p Chart, c Chart, u Chart

AST: Advanced Statistical Techniques

Frequency Chart, Sampling by Code, Single Sampling Plan, Double Sampling Plan, Acceptance Sampling, Online Quality Control, Weilbull Curves, Constant-Wear, Wear-Out, Failure Pattern, Accelerated Tests, Product Reliability Studies

MSA: Measurement Systems Analysis

Bias, Linearity, Stability, GRR (Short Term), GRR (Long Term), GRR (Anova), GRR (Attribute), Measurement System Evaluation

HYP: Hypothesis Testing

z-Test, t-Test 1 Sample, t-Test 2 Sample, t-Test Paired, One Proportion, Two Proportion, Anova 1 Factor, Anova 2 Factor, Chi-Squared Goodness Of Fit, Chi-Squared Test Of Independence

DOE: Design of Experiments

Variable, Idle Column, Nested Factor, Operating Window, Combination Column, Attribute

CP: Control Plan

Prototype Control Plan, Pre-launch Control Plan, Production Control Plan

DCP: Dynamic Control Plan

Proto-type Dynamic Control Plan, Pre-launch Dynamic Control Plan, Production Dynamic Control Plan

PPAP: Product Part Approval Process

APQP Checklist, FER Checklist, Retent-Submit, Part Submission Warrant, Appearance Approval Report, Dimensional Results, Material Test Results, Performance Test Results, PPAP

1.1.7 Imagine

Imagine working on a Six Sigma project. Imagine your Voice of Customer (VOC). Imagine the outputs of VOC being imported into Quality Function Deployment (QFD). Imagine, high priorities from QFD being imported into Failure Mode Effects Analysis. Imagine high risk priority numbers (rpn) being imported into a Dynamic Control Plan (DCP).

Now imagine why you measure the curing Temperature in the shop floor. Because the DCP requires it. But why? Because Temperature has a high rpn in FMEA. But why? Because the Temperature parent identity has a high priority in the QFD. But why? Because the parent identity was required by the customer!!!

For the first time, trace all your VOC -> QFD -> FMEA -> DCP. Then justify every shopfloor action you do by tracing it all the way from DCP -> FMEA -> QFD -> VOC !!

1.1.8 Printing Reports

Senior Management requires Six Sigma project reports and presentations. We need a unique approach to generate Six Sigma reports. As every applet is completed, it can be printed. When a print of a project consisting of several applets is needed, each applet can be printed in any sequence required (Arrange Application Order) as shown below and the print is available in PDF format.

1.1.9 About the Author

Dr. Nicolo Belavendram is the author of Quality by Design: Taguchi Techniques for Industrial Experimentation published by Prentice Hall May 1995.and the Chief Domain Knowledge Expert Consultant in iCT-M software. He won the 1992 UK Granjon Nomination for the best research paper awarded by the International Institute of Welding (IIW), UK. As an active proponent of TQM, he received the i) Babcock UK Award for Quality in 1989 awarded by Babcock Energy, UK and ii) The Best Envoy of Quality Engineering in 1989 awarded by University of Paisley, Scotland. Visit the web site at for more information on Six Sigma / APQP / TQM. Email him at


This article should not be reproduced in any format without prior permission from the author. It is available for academic reprinting with due recognition to the author Dr. Nicolo Belavendram ( and iCT-M (

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