Category Archives: Six Sigma Tools

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

A failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a process  of  analysis of potential failure modes within a system. It is based on the determination of severity and the effect of failures on the system. It is widely used during the various phases of the product life cycle in manufacturing industries and is getting popular in the service industry.

Failure modes are any defects in a process, design, or item, especially those that affect the customer.  It can be potential or actual. The consequences of those failure modes are studied under effect analysis.

Usage of FMEA  is done in the development of system requirements which minimize the occurrences  of failures, in development methods for design and test system ensuring elimination of failures and in  evaluation of the needs of the customer  ensuring it does not give rise to potential failures.

Pareto chart

A Pareto chart is a special type of bar chart which depicts  the values being plotted in thegraph are arranged in descending order. The graph is accompanied by a line graph showing  the cumulative totals of each category from left to right. The chart was resulted due to the work of Vilfredo Pareto who concluded that 20% people controlled 80% of wealth leading to rise of Pareto Effect.

The Pareto effect also operates in area of quality improvement as well and suggests that  80% of problems usually stem from 20% of the causes. They are used for displaying the application of  the Pareto principle in action.

Project Charters

A project charter is the first step in the implementation of Six Sigma methodology. It is applied in the Define step of DMAIC and the charter is highly responsible for the success of the project. Necessary Project Charter Areas  are Project Title, Black Belt/Green Belt, Mentor/Master Black Belt, Project Start Date, Anticipated Project End Date, Cost of Poor Quality.

SIPOC Diagram

SIPOC is a six sigma tool which stands for Suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers. Supplies provides the inputs, value is added through our process and output is provided meeting or exceeding the customer’s requirements.

It is a tool used by a team for the identification of all relevant elements of a process improvement project before the beginning of the work. It helps in defining a complex project that may not be well scoped, and is typically applied the Measure phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology.

It is useful in determining inputs to the process, who are the customers and what are their requirement.

Root cause analysis

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a class of problem Solving methods directed at the identification of root causes of problems. It is based on the belief that best way of solving the problems is to eliminate root causes as compared to address the immediately obvious symptoms

It is a reactive method of problem detection and solving initially which means  that the analysis is done after the occurrence of  an event. Later on it becomes a pro-active method which suggests that  it is able to forecast the possibility of an event before its occurrence.


A histogram is a specialized bar chart which graphically summarize and display the distribution of a data set related to the process. It displays individual data points grouped together in classes. It helps to get an idea of how frequently data in each class occur in the data set.

High bars suggests more points while low bars indicate less points in a class. Histograms and control charts needs to be reviewed for consecutive process running over an extended time to obtain useful knowledge about a process.

It helps in finding the most common system response, type of distribution data , whether data is symmetric  or it contains outliers.

Six Sigma Projects

Defining Six Sigma Projects.

Six Sigma ProjectsThe success of a company depends on the strategic planning of the projects. Projects are the works assigned by a company, to meet the needs of the clients. For the successful implementation of the project, there should be a complete planning, adequate links between strategy and actions, and effective communication. Lacking of all these main factors, results in the poor performance of the production work and the customer’s dissatisfaction about the product. Six sigma accomplishes one project at a time. The stories of companies who have saved billions of dollars, have proved the effectiveness of the properly selecting and defining business issues. When the business issues are properly selected and defined, these issues can be assigned to Green Belts and Black Belts for solving it effectively. Six sigma projects are the perfect selection that a company or an organization can take to reach its strategic goals.

Six sigma projects uses the help of project charters, for evaluating and formalizing the issues which will allow you to prioritize for implementation. It is the first step developed by the six sigma methodology, through the define steps of DMAIC. The charter can make or brake a successful project. It can bring out the success through specifying necessary resources and boundaries. The braking up of the project is done through reducing team focus, effectiveness and motivation. some of the major area where there is the need of project charter are as follows:

Project Title:

The importance of naming the project with a properly descriptive title is that it will help the other people to view and select your projects quickly with the help of keywords and phrases.

Black Belt and Green Belts:

These are the personalities, to whom the process improvement project is given. This identification is that important for the identifying the project leader by the management. It also helps to know who is leading the efforts and the others can find out the leader for gathering further details about the work at a later date.

Mentor or Master Black Belt:

It is important to identify a project leader, who ensures a helping hand to everyone in need. A successful project should have a helping hand always ready. Mentor or master black belt is a resource for the project leaders to learn and understand if any project question or issues arises.

Project Start Date:

It not possible for a project to maintain momentum, because the field is mainly for documentation purposes. So the project leaders formally start the working of the project of the date fixed.

Anticipated Project End Date:

The business guidelines are set on the basis how long projects should take to complete the work. The duration of the project helps in providing the leader and the team to get the adequate time to complete the project, business conditions, work load, holiday schedules. It is the mentor, master black belt or quality leader who is anticipating the project end date.

Six sigma does the project selection ideas according to its function. The project selections according to the functional areas are:

Finance/ Accounting six sigma project ideas

Human Resources six sigma project ideas

Sales six sigma project ideas

Shipping or Receiving six sigma project ideas

Information Technology

Six Sigma ProjectsProduct or Service Design six sigma project ideas

Call Center six sigma project ideas

Under each functions, the implementation of six sigma project is used to solve different types of issues. for example:

Under the function product or service design, the six sigma project ideas are” reducing time required to design a product or service, reduce errors in design, reduce production time, reduce testing time”.

Six Sigma Calculation And Calculators

Six sigma calculator:

Six Sigma CalculationSix sigma metrics are the different types of measurements used in six sigma methodology, in order to measure the success of the company’s product quality. It doesn’t means, the simple collection and calculation of the data and defects are enough for the attainment of the success. In order to get the right measurement through the use of six sigma metrics, a successful business should apply these metrics in the right context in a innovative ways so as to solve the customer’s critics to the quality of the products. Therefore there are certain steps and six sigma metrics, in six sigma methodology to be applied for the defect-free products. six sigma calculator is the tool used for the measurement of the quality of the product in six sigma metrics. some of the areas in which the calculation is done are:

Defects Per Opportunity (DPO):

This is the calculation made in six sigma metrics for finding out the total number of possible defects that can be counted in a service. The formula of the defects per opportunity, uses the number of defects and the number of units times that is the defect opportunities.

The formula for the calculation of defects per opportunity go like this:

DPO = Number of defects divided by the Number of units X Number of opportunities

number of defects

DPO = —————————————————————

number of units X number of opportunities

Critical To Quality (CTQ):

The measurable character critical to quality is the key to measure the product or process, whose performance standards must be met in order to satisfy the customer needs. This procedure is done on the basis of the customer’s requirements. CTQ gives the result of the product and the services through the customer’s definition. These definition includes the upper and lower specification limits. All the factors related to the product or service are also included to customer’s demand. The CTQ is invited from a qualitative customer. The CTQ should be actionable, and quantitative business specification. in general it is said that CTQ is something that the customer is expecting from the product that is the basic need of the customer.

There are different types of calculators used for the calculation. Capacity calculator, process sigma calculator, sample size calculator and sigma level calculator are those among them.

Sample Size Calculator:

A spreadsheet used as a tool for the calculation is the sample size calculator in six sigma calculation. It is used to determine the number of data points or sample size. This is needed to eliminate the properties of population

Six Sigma Calculation And CalculatorsSigma Level Calculator:

There are three types of six sigma level calculator. They are as follows:

Sigma level form DPMO

Sigma level from Quality Yield

Sigma level for DPM for Non Centered Process

Process Sigma Calculator:

Used for the purpose of defining the unit, opportunity, defect, DPU, DPMO, defects(%), and yield (%)

Six Sigma Maps And Flowcharts

The use of Six Sigma Maps and Flowcharts

Six Sigma Maps And FlowchartsThe process according to six sigma is the total number of sequences, series and the arrangements of events, steps or measurements done repeatedly for the production of quality products or services. Changing a process is the first step in a six sigma improvement program in order to reduce the costs and improve quality. There are different types of graphical representation for a process or procedure to show its flow type style of all actions and conclusion taking place in a process. There are process maps, flow charts, and SIPOC diagrams used for the graphical representation of the process.

Process Maps:

The process maps are same as the flowchart but some elements are different form the flowchart. process maps are often more detailed than flowchart and also includes a timeline. Process mapping is a hierarchical method of illustrating how a product or transaction is processed. It contains all the activities that transforms a well organized and defined input or inputs into a pre defined set of outputs. The process mapping gives us a visual representation of the work flow with in a process.


A flowchart is a graphical representation of a process, used as a tool that shows the input, activities and output of the process. It represents the entire process from the start to the finishing point, and act as a serving instructional manual for facilitating detailed analysis and improving the workflow and service delivery. A flowchart helps in attaining an entire process at a detailed level of observation. Flowcharts help in the successful implementation of six sigma programs.

SIPOC Diagram:

“supplier inputs outputs and customer” diagram is created at the initial stage of the process, that is to define the phase of a six sigma project. It is to ensure that the supplier, inputs, process, outputs and the customer have identified and are agreed by all the members of the team.

Block Diagram- flowchart:

The graphical tool, that make use of the picture of any given process or procedure. It shows the design of the connection of its components or the elements and the logical flow of the process or the procedure. Different shapes are used to represent each item in the diagram. For example:

To indicate the process “rectangle” shape is used

To indicate the connector “circle” shape is used

To indicate the extract “triangle” shape is used

To indicate the decision “diamond” shape is used

Six Sigma Maps And FlowchartsThe elements contained in a graphs are the starting point to the process and its sub-processes, an ending points to the process and its sub-processes, inputs, outputs and other types of direction and decisions which leads to another potential direction.

Complex Block Diagram:

A mixture of the sequences of the processes or procedures and is also an analogy of the process of procedure.

Six Sigma System

What is Six Sigma System?

Six Sigma SystemSix sigma system is the specialized package of six sigma methodology, lean manufacturing programs and consulting services. Six sigma system rely on quality results of the products or services to meet the customer satisfaction, through better quality faster. The programs are set to meet the needs of the clients. The application of six sigma system depends on the business goals, opportunities and organizational landscape. It is on the basis of these three factors, six sigma system is designed and customized. Six sigma system always try to meet the industry standard through the practice of six sigma and lean manufacturing principals. According to six sigma system, the measurement of success is been measured on the client’s success and not on the number of clients or people trained, in six sigma system.

The implementation of six sigma system is mainly done in the area of business process improvement. the establishment of Kanban systems by the six sigma system has reorganized product flow at various manufacturers.

Six Sigma Methodology:

The purpose and the origin of the process six sigma is the result of need for business improvement through customer satisfaction, reduced costs, production of high quality products with less defects and increased profits. Hence the fundamental aim of the six sigma methodology is the implementation of a systematically based measurement strategy focusing the improvement process. Within this improvement aspects the six sigma methodology includes the responsibilities of the improving the team, helping the team in identifying the process, the defects and the corresponding measurements. It is because of this wide range of flexibility in quality improvement, six sigma methodology toolkit is the best existing software process implementation.

Six sigma implements the quality improvement process through the application of six sigma improvement projects. These projects are accomplished with the help of the use of two six sigma sub-methodologies: DMAIC & DMADV.

DMAIC method:   the six sigma methodology is consisted of five steps which includes Defining, Measuring, Analyzing, Improvement and Controlling. DMAIC involves in the improvement of an existing business process. Here the six sigma methodology deals with defining of the process improvement needed for setting the goals on the basis of customer demands and the enterprise strategy. Once the goal defining is done the project conductors are asked to measure the current strategy of the process or the work done and then to collect the data for the future comparisons. The third step is of analyzing the relationship between the cause (data) and with the result and defining it, making sure that all factors involved are taken into consideration. The fourth step follows the analysis report, by providing with sufficient improvements using the techniques like Design of Experiments. It should be ensured that all the variances are corrected before it result it defects. This is done through the controlling of the process, which is the final step in six sigma process of systematical improvement of the process.

DMAIC Six sigma leader roles are to establish the selection criteria of the project, approving the projects, selecting the project leaders, providing the resources and training, reviewing the Black Belt and Green Belt projects monthly, ensuring the communication process, reviewing the entire process every 3-6 months, establishing and linking the rewards with the performances, and finally being accountable for the success of the effort.

DMADV methods:  as in the DMAIC method, here also it has 5 steps like defining, measuring, analyzing, designing and verifying. DMADV method is used in creating a new product or process, setting designs for predicting and then ensuring defect-free performances. The method deals with the duties like defining the goals, which comes out form the designed activity which is related to the customer demands and enterprise strategy. Once the goals is defined out of the activity, measuring and identifying the quality, product capabilities, production process capability and risk assessments are done.

The third step of the method involves in the analyzing process for developing the designing alternatives, creating high level design, evaluating designs and selecting the best design. Then comes the step, where detailing about the design selected, optimizing the design, and setting plans for the verification of the designs. This step is required simulations. At the final step the design set is verified and the pilots are run. There by the production process is implemented and the process is hand over to the process owners.

Apart from the above said six sigma methods there are other designs for six sigma methodologies. They are:

CDOC –        conceptualize, design, optimize, control

DCCDI –       define, customer concept, design and implement

DCDOV-       define, concept, design, optimize, verify

D-IDOV-M –   define, identify, design, optimize, verify, monitor

DMADOV –   define, measure, analyze, design, optimize and verify

DMAI C –      define, measure, analyze, improve, implement, control

DMEDI –       define, measure, explore, develop and implement

IDOV –          identify, design, optimize and validate

I2DOV –         invent, innovate, develop, optimize, validate

MEDIC –     map and measure, explore and evaluate, define and describe, implement and improve, control and conform

VCPCIA –    visualize, commit, prioritize, characterize, improve, achieve

Lean Manufacturing Programs:

Lean ManufacturingThe philosophy of lean manufacturing is derived from the “Toyota Production System”. Lean manufacturing is a generic process of management, for the production of goods through the removal of waste and implementing the flow. The operational strategy in lean manufacturing gives importance in the achievement of better production of goods that meet the customer’s satisfaction, through the process of shortest possible cycle time by eliminating waste and reducing incidental work. Lean manufacturing is a technique which helps in decreasing the time between the customer need and the shipment. It is designed in a way that there is a rapid improvement in the profit, gaining the customer satisfaction, reducing the production of time and sustaining the employee emotions. In general it is said that lean manufacturing is considered as a company’s “half human effort, the half manufacturing space, the half investment in tools and the half engineering hours for the development of a new product with in the half time scheduled”. It is clear that the benefits gained through the implementation of lean manufacturing is the lower costs, higher quality and shorter lead time for the production.

The characteristics of lean processes are:

-Single-piece production

-Repetitive order characteristics

-Just-in-time materials or pull scheduling

-Short cycle times

-Quick changeover

-Continuous flow work cells

-Collocated machines, equipment, tools and people

-Compressed space

Lean manufacturing approaches:

Six Sigma SystemLean manufacturing is used under two approaches. The first approach is used for the identification and the continuous elimination of the waste. It is clear that as the waste is being eliminated, the quality of the product improves, while the production time and cost is reduced. The second approach to lean manufacturing, is focusing on improving the “flow” of the work. By the word flow means, the smoothness of the work. in the second approach the focus is given in the smoothening of the work, through the system and not the waste reduction. The second approach was promoted by Toyota.

The difference between the two approaches lies not on the attainment of the goal, but achieving the goal at the first time itself. In the second approach, the smooth flow of the work helps in exposing the defects or the quality problems which is there in the work already. This exposing of the defects leads to  the reduction of the waste naturally.

Consulting or Customer Service:

Six sigma system gives importance to customer service and customer satisfaction. The aim of six sigma system is to provide better quality products to make sure the customer satisfaction and services.

Six Sigma Tools

What is six sigma tools?

Six Sigma ToolsSix sigma tools are the techniques and approaches used by six sigma methodology, in the every day development process, of an organization. Implementation of these tools in a justified manner, lead to an amazing result. This investment tools and techniques act as a good place to start a new process. There are several tools and techniques to be used, but it has to be used in an appropriate way to get the better quality results. The brief description of some of the major tools and techniques are as follows.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: The main thing to be kept in the mind is that it is necessary to learn things beyond the current situations and knowledge. Learning objective is the matrix, helping the project managers in identifying, planning and documenting the current knowledge and experiences whenever starting a new projects. This is done at the starting stage of the new project. This is done by the project manager in order to prevent the users, jumping to solution based on the current statistics. This helps the project managers in avoiding reworks in planning and deliverables, which causes disruption in the project at the time of production. the matrix deals with the aspects like ” What is the need of the company? From where the company get the needed information? And how will the company get the information?” Attaining solutions for these questions will prevent the managers from drawing conclusions before the correct time.

PLAN POPULATION USING COUSTOMER MATRIX: This is a graphical representation of matrix which makes the users easier to find out the holes in the planned interviews and to make sufficient corrections. The usage of customer matrix helps in planning and assuring that the representatives included in the requirements gathering activities are correct. The requirement gathering activity includes interviews and observations. This also includes the segmentation of the populations into specific areas, and finding out of types of participants to each areas or work. The different types of participants are expert users, new users and difficult-to-satisfy users.

CONTEXT AND NEEDS DATA ANALYSIS:   With in a business there is a need for the reevaluation to ensure the requirements accuracy. The six sigma community looks for new requirements. Requirement volatility is the metric used for this purpose.

Six Sigma ToolsPRIORITIZE REQUIREMENTS: When a new project is done it is important to categorize the requirements according to its importance. Commonly people act as if it is not necessary to do this at the bottom level and gives importance in doing everything. Until the delivery date, prioritizing the requirements are not done, and then the importance will be given to the product to be released instead of the requirements needed for the production of the products. The use age of six sigma tools will help in prioritizing the requirements from simple to the analytical hierarchy process. This ensures the quality functional deployment.

VALUE STREAM AND PROCESS MAPPING: Flow charts or maps are used to identify the flow of transactions through a system or module. Value stream maps are used to draw the flowchart of the value-added, non value added and wait time.

USER STORIES AND SCENARIOS:  The identifying of  possible situations can help in solidify the requirements and design needed. This is possible through the investigation of what the system should do rather than looking at general functional requirements.

IDENTIFYING Y-TO-x RELATIONSHIP: It is inevitable to know the factors that will drive the success or the cause of failure, for all projects in a company. Identifying all these factors earlier in the process will help the final product to meet the better satisfaction of the customer.

DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTS:  Monte Carlo modeling and the design is used for the experiments to validate the potential design factors and the drivers identified by the project managers.

FAILURE MODE AND EFFECTS ANALYSIS: This is an important analysis to be done with in a project and it is done twice during the development of the life cycle. As soon as the design plans have been completed this analysis can be done first. This analysis helps in the identification of potential failure modes in the current design. Once these issues are identified at a project’s starting stage, it helps the managers to find out the option of modifying the design to soften or eliminate the issues. On the second hand the analysis is done just before the release of the product. At this time the analysis shows the severity, occurrence and detection weakness remaining in the system. The obtained information should be passed to the help desk and customer service which allows them to respond to the customers when these failures happens.

Six Sigma ToolsPROCESS CAPABILITY EVALUATION (Cp): The performance measures of the projects must be tracked and measured as a part of control plan. Data like online response times, reliability numbers, restore cycle times etc can be used as the process capability numbers to validate these measurements.

CONTROL CHARTS FOR MONITORING: Control charts provide a simple approach to the customers and customer service personnel at the time of monitor after the implementation of new work. When a new system is developed, the project managers must describe the measures that is to be implemented. For this the company should already track the Cp numbers for online response times.

Six Sigma Courses And Books

The list of some of six sigma courses and six sigma books for references

The list of six sigma courses:

Implementing six sigma- II edition1)     Six sigma methodology

2)     Six sigma analysis tools and reference information

3)     Green belt and black belt certification requirements

4)     Master black belt certification

5)     Quality engineering analysis: A six sigma belt course

6)     Six sigma- Executive training course

7)     Six sigma report and presentation templates

8)     Six sigma management analysis

The list of six sigma books for references:

1)     Implementing six sigma- II edition

2)     Design for six sigma in technology and product development

3)     Design for six sigma

4)     Six sigma for dummies

5)     Statistical methods for six sigma

6)     Managing six sigma

7)     The six sigma book for healthcare

8)     Transactional six sigma and lean servicing

9)     Six sigma software development

10)  Rath and Strong’s six sigma leadership handbook

11)  The ultimate six sigma

12)  Customer centered six sigma

13)  Six sigma tool navigator

14)  Integrating lean six sigma and high performance organizations

15)  Profit signals

16)  The six sigma basic training kit

17)  Six Sigma for financial professionals

18)  Design for six sigma

19)  Six Sigma

20)  Six sigma and beyond

21)  Six sigma for medical device design

22)  Six sigma quality for business and management

23)  Blending lean and six sigma workbooks

24)  Achieve lasting process improvement

25)  The vision of six sigma