6 Sigma

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

In 2007, the Crayola crayon company encountered a problem. Labels were coming off of their crayons. Up to that point, Crayola had done little to implement data-driven methodology into the process of manufacturing their crayons. But that was about to change. An elementary data analysis showed that the adhesive didn’t consistently set properly when the labels were dry. Misting crayons as they went... Continue Reading
By Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.   Many statistical tests assume the data being tested came from a normal distribution. Violating the assumption of normality can result in incorrect conclusions. For example, a Z test may indicate a new process is more efficient than an older process when this is not true. This could result in a capital investment for equipment that actually results in higher... Continue Reading
Before I joined Minitab, I worked for many years in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences as a writer and editor. I frequently wrote about food science and particularly food safety, as I regularly needed to report on the research being conducted by Penn State's food safety experts, and also edited course materials and bulletins for professionals and consumers about ensuring they had safe... Continue Reading
In previous posts, I discussed the results of a recycling project done by Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology last spring. (If you’re playing catch up, you can read Part I and Part II.) The students did an awesome job reducing the amount of recycling that was thrown into the normal trash cans across all of the institution’s academic buildings. At the end of the spring... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.  The old saying “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it must be a duck” may be appropriate in bird watching; however, the same idea can’t be applied when observing a statistical distribution. The dedicated ornithologist is often armed with binoculars and a field guide to the local birds and this should be sufficient. A... Continue Reading
It’s usually not a good idea to rely solely on a single statistic to draw conclusions about your process. Do that, and you could fall into the clutches of the “duck-rabbit” illusion shown here: If you fix your eyes solely on the duck, you’ll miss the rabbit—and vice-versa. If you're using Minitab Statistical Software for capability analysis, the capability indices Cp and Cpk are good examples of... Continue Reading
by Lion "Ari" Ondiappan Arivazhagan, guest blogger.   Predicting project completion times is one of the major challenges project managers face. Project schedule overruns are quite common due to the high uncertainty in estimating the amount of time activities require, a lack of historical data about project completion, organizational culture, inadequate skills, the complex and elaborative nature of... Continue Reading
by Lion "Ari" Ondiappan Arivazhagan, guest blogger.  An alarming number of borewell accidents, especially involving little children, have occurred across India in the recent past. This is the second of a series of articles on Borewell accidents in India. In the first installment of the series, I used the G-chart in Minitab Statistical Software to predict the probabilities of innocent children... Continue Reading
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