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6 Sigma

Blog posts and articles that pertain to the 6 Sigma quality improvement methodology.

by Lion "Ari" Ondiappan Arivazhagan, guest blogger In India, we've seen this story far too many times in recent years: Timmanna Hatti, a six-year old boy, was trapped in a 160-feet borewell for more than 5 days in Sulikeri village of Bagalkot district in Karnataka after falling into the well. Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of the situation was the decision of the Bagalkot district... Continue Reading
The 2014 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement is coming up in early May in Dallas, and this year’s International Team Excellence Award Process (ITEA) will also come to a close at the conference, as winners from the finalist teams will be chosen for ASQ gold, silver, or bronze-level statuses. What’s ITEA? The annual ASQ ITEA process celebrates the accomplishments of quality improvement... Continue Reading
I didn’t expect that our family trip to Florida would end with me driving a plane load of passengers nearly 200 miles to their homes, but it did. Yes, it was a long and strange journey home. A journey that started in the tropical warmth of southern Florida and ended the next morning in central Pennsylvania, which felt like the arctic wastelands thanks to the dreaded polar vortex. During this... Continue Reading
Using data analysis and statistics to improve business quality has a long history. But it often seems like most of that history involves huge operations. After all, Six Sigma originated with Motorola, and became adopted by thousands of other businesses after it was adopted by a little-known outfit called General Electric. There are many case studies and examples of how big companies used Six Sigma... Continue Reading
by Jeff Parks, guest blogger Being a Cincinnati Bengals fan is tough. It's true that Bengals fans don't have it as bad as, say, long-suffering Chicago Cubs fans...nevertheless, the Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since January 1991. That's currently the longest streak in the NFL. In the 1990s they were voted the worst sports franchise by ESPN. Not the worst football team, mind you, but the worst... Continue Reading
by Cory Heid, guest blogger A few months ago I posted a blog about Tootsie Pops and how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center. If you haven’t read the post, here's a quick summary. Recap of Initial Study I broke down my experiment into four parts where I would test: the force of a lick temperature of a person's mouth pH level of a person's saliva the solubility of a person's saliva After... Continue Reading
If you've got questions about quality improvement and statistics, I've got a resource for you: the Minitab Network on LinkedIn. I'm privileged to serve as the moderator of this group, which lets people who use Minitab products communicate and network with like-minded people from around the world. LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals, and the Minitab Network on LinkedIn... Continue Reading
by Bob Yoon, guest blogger Yesterday's post shared how an analysis of Bill Belichick's hoodie-wearing patterns found no statistically significant difference in New England Patriots wins if he wore sleeved or sleeveless hoodies, nor if the hoodie were from Reebok or Nike. Since these hypothesis tests failed to reject the null hypothesis, I combined these factors under “grey hoodie” and started a new... Continue Reading
by Alex Orlov, guest blogger While it has been called the "million-dollar methodology" for the significant investment sometimes required to deliver results, Six Sigma has a wealth of practices that can be adapted to small and medium industries, home businesses and even personal finances.  Organizations have used Six Sigma as a reliable part of the quality improvement process since 1986. And while a... Continue Reading
Unless you’re 3 years old, you probably can’t have things just the way you want them all the time.   You can’t always have peanut butter and ranch dressing on your toast. Or ketchup on your pineapple. Or sugar sprinkles on your peas. But there is one small arena in life over which you can still exert your control.  Tools > Options in Minitab's statistical softwareallows you to change selected default... Continue Reading
Control charts are used to monitor the stability of processes, and can turn time-ordered data for a particular characteristic—such as product weight or hold time at a call center—into a picture that is easy to understand. These charts indicate when there are points out of control or unusual shifts in a process. Statistically speaking, control charts help you detect nonrandom sources of variation in... Continue Reading
You know the drill…you’re in Six Sigma training and you’re learning how to conduct a design of experiment (DOE). Everything is making sense, and you’ve started thinking about how you’ll apply what you are learning to find the optimal settings of a machine on the factory floor. You’ve even got the DOE setup chosen and you know the factors you want to test … Then … BAM! … You’re on your own and you... Continue Reading
Here at the lightsaber factory, we've completed several steps in doing a capability analysis: We made sure our data was collected and entered correctly in Minitab We identified the distribution of the data We made sure all of our assumptions checked out We’re getting close to our deadline, and it’s finally time to carry out our Capability Analysis and see if we are manufacturing our lightsabers to... Continue Reading
I had the privilege of talking with Sue Schlegel, Lean Six Sigma black belt and quality improvement mentor at White Sands Missile Range, which is located just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Schlegel and an improvement team at White Sands recently conducted a Lean Six Sigma project to streamline surveillance processes and they used Minitab to analyze the data. We found Sue’s story... Continue Reading
In previous blog posts, I wrote about quality professional Bill Howell’s diabetes diagnosis and how he managed his disease with Lean Six Sigma. Bill wrote a book, called I Took Control: Effective Actions for a Diabetes Diagnosis, and later when I spoke with him personally, he mentioned the importance of Hemoglobin HbA1c in diagnosing diabetes and how informative this single blood component can be. W... Continue Reading
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how fantasy football scores of quarterbacks have been rising the last six years. This led to the conclusion that you should draft an elite QB early in your draft. But, much like how you need to carefully consider all aspects of a process during a Six Sigma project, we now have to consider everything else that the quarterbacks can affect. Specifically, wide receivers... Continue Reading
A few weeks ago, I used Minitab to calculate the odds of throwing a perfect game. The results were surprising. I found that the number of perfect games that have occurred since 1900 is vastly greater than the number we would have expected. And whether you're doing a six sigma project or a simple baseball data analysis, it's always good to go back and make sure you did everything correctly... Continue Reading
If you like baseball pitching statistics, then you've lovedthe month of June. On the first of the month, Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history. Then a week later, the Seattle Mariners used 6 different pitchers to do the same thing. That tied the MLB record for most pitchers used in a no-hitter. And finally, 5 days after that, Matt Cain pitched the 22nd perfect game in... Continue Reading
I think it’s neat to find examples of Lean Six Sigma techniques in restaurants and stores when I’m out to eat or shopping. What started as a philosophy in the manufacturing world seems to be transcending into our everyday shopping experiences, and even into the products we choose to add to our carts. Here’s a recap from my latest “Lean” shopping escapade: I was recently in a grocery store snack... Continue Reading
Like a lot of people who need to analyze data for their work, I am not an expert statistician. Over the years I've acquired a fair amount of knowledge and experience, but mainly enough to make me appreciate more than ever the value of statistical software in making data analysis an accessible tool.   And I've discovered over and over again how quickly specific statistics skills can get rusty if you... Continue Reading