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Relational Matrices October 7, 2007

Posted by Coolguy in Six Sigma.
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This tool can aid with the prioritisation of key process input variables.

  • Key process output variables are listed horizontally
  • Key process input variables are listed vertically.
  • For each output variable, assign a priority number
  • Within the matrix a number is entered for the effect that each input variable has on the output variable
  • Multiply the process output priority by effect value
  • Sum the results from above step

This shows which of the input variables have greatest effect on output variables.

SIPOC October 7, 2007

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It enables all team members to view the process in the same light.

Advantages are:

  1. Display of cross-functional activities in a single, simple diagram
  2. Big picture perspective with scope to add details
  3. Framework applicable to either large organizations or smaller processes

Steps for creating a SIPOC:

  1. Create a process map
  2. List outputs of process
  3. List customers of outputs
  4. List inputs of process
  5. List suppliers of process

FMEA Failure Mode and Effects Analysis October 4, 2007

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FMEA is a technique for elimination of any type of failure in products or services.

FMEA is defined as a group of activities to

  • Recognize and evaluate the potential failure of a product/process and effects of that failure
  • Identify the actions that eliminate or reduce the failure
  • Document the entire process

FMEA’s are used for new designs and technologies and modification for existing process or design. It can be used in conjunction with Pareto Analysis, which is used to prioritize potential failure modes.

Steps for FMEA are:

  • Decide on process
  • Study process
  • Identify potential failure modes
  • Rate severity, occurance and detection levels
  • Compute risk priority number and prioritize (RPN)
  • Implement corrective actions and re-evaluate RPN”s
  • Update the table


  1. Improved product/service functions
  2. Lowered warranty costs
  3. Reduced manufacturing problems
  4. Increased customer satisfaction

Types of FMEA:

  • System: Deals with systems, sub-systems and components
  • Design:  DFMEA will reduce risk of failures. Focus is on failures caused by design deficiencies.
  • Process: PFMEA focuses on manufacturing and assembly process.
  • Service FMEA: Investigate services before they reach customer. Covers financial, legal, health-care industries etc. Heath care has its own customized version.

QFD October 4, 2007

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QFD transforms customer needs (the voice of the customer) into engineering characteristics (and appropriate test methods) of a product or service, prioritizing each product/service characteristic while simultaneously setting development targets for product or service development

Also referred as “Voice of Customer” or “House of Quality”. Its a group decision making technique used in product or service development.
QFD Structure

Theory Of Constraints October 1, 2007

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Process of removing bottlenecks that limit production or throughput.

TOC Concepts

  1. Resources are bottlenecks
  2. Balance the flow thru a plant
  3. Bottleneck will restrain the entire throughput

Steps of TOC

  1. Identify System constraints
  2. Decide how to exploit systems constraints
  3. Looks for ways to reduce effects of constraints
  4. Elevate systems constraints
  5. Back to step 1

Kaizen October 1, 2007

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Stands for Kai ~ change and Zen ~ good. It accomplishes improvements at little or no expense without purchase of expensive equipment. It involves

  1. Management maintains and improves operating conditions
  2. Progress improvement is key
  3. PDCA  is used
  4. Quality is highest priority
  5. Problems are solved with hard data

TPM October 1, 2007

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Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) promotes group actives for greater euipment effectiveness with operators sharing responsibility for routine machine inspection, cleaning and maintenenace.

It aims to stem 6 big losses that contribute negatively to equipment effectiveness:

  1. Equipment Failure
  2. Setup and adjustments
  3. Idling and minor stoppages
  4. Reduced speed
  5. Process defects
  6. Reduced yields

Kanban October 1, 2007

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Kanban is “Sign” in Japaneese. It originates from Toyota. It provides for material control for the factory floor.

Kanban is intended to provide a product to customer with shortest possible lead time. Inventory and lead times are reduced thru leveling of production. Kanban’s are generally cards to provide some indication of parts, time of delivery etc. Cards control flow of production and inventory.

Kanban is not suited for one-of-a-kind production operations.

Balanced Scorecard October 1, 2007

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Balanced scorecard is a system that translates a company’s vision and strategy to meaningful measures. Balanced scorecard focuses company’s attention on four perspectives of vision and strategy:

  1. Financial : How will we appear to shareholders ? ~ ROI, Cash Flow, Sales backlog
  2. Internal Business Process: What business process should we excel at ? ~ Reduce Rework, Cycle time, Setup times
  3. Learning and growth: How will we sustain our ability to change and improve ? ~Employee surveys, Employee suggestions, training budgets.
  4. Customers: How should we appear to our customers ? ~ Customer surveys, complaints logged, Market Share.

Steps for building a balanced scorecard are:

  • Gather information for scorecard through interviews with senior management
  • Prepare a rough draft and refine with other levels of management
  • Develop vision, objectives and measures for the scorecard
  • Develop an implementation plan
  • Review balanced scorecard periodically

Root cause analysis techniques September 28, 2007

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5 Why Technique

Simplest technique to indentify the root cause of a problem. You ask “Why ?” for 5 times (can vary) to get to the bottom of a problem. When you have answer to a question, you can frame the answer into another “Why” Question. Its one of the most simplest techniques to identify a root for a problem. For this technique to work, questions should be concise and focussed. Its effective for solving problems involving human factors.

Fish Bone Analysis (Ishikawa Diagram)

Can be used when you have a complex problem having multiple causes and when you need to brainstorm to identify possible causes. First step is to frame a Why question stating the problem and place it at the head. Draw a horizontal line leading to the head and vertical lines leading to the main line. Label vertical lines with categories or departments where the problem may have originated.

Some standard categories for service industries are : Policies, procedures, people and strategies.

Three steps to complete a fishbone are:

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Prioritizing
  3. Action plans

4M version of the plan has Manpower, Material, Method, Machine. 5M and E has measurement and Environment exra.