Six Sigma Tools
Six Sigma Tools are absolutely vital in these times of cut-throat competition where organizations are looking for newer ways of attracting and retaining customers, Six Sigma offers a complete mechanism of delivering the results your customers require as it focuses on continuous improvement of processes to minimize variation and reduce defects.
To achieve a near zero defect product or service using Six Sigma methodology, various Six Sigma tools are available. A thorough understanding of these Six Sigma tools will not only make your objectives easier to achieve, but you will also get a better perspective of how to successful implement Six Sigma projects.
There are a number of steps in Six Sigma methodology which offer a numerous tools which can be used in each stage of the DMAIC process. These are:
The key tools used in the Define phase are listed below:
This is an ideas generating technique in which the team members come up with a list of options for a task or a solution.
This is a structured method of narrowing down a list of options. The team members are required to vote in favor or against each option.
1.3 Pareto Chart
It is based on Pareto’s eighty-twenty rule. It is a kind of a bar chart in which bars are arranged in a descending order with the tallest bar depicting the opportunity to be addressed.
The key tools used in the Measure phase are listed below:
2.1 Cause and Effect Diagram
This is a brainstorming tool used to identify the causes of a problem. However, in the Measure phase, it is used to brainstorm the potential ‘x’ data.
2.2 Cause and Effect Matrix
This is specifically used in a project that has multiple Critical to Quality (CTQ) parameters. In this technique, potential causes for a problem are prioritized by examining their relationship with the CTQs.
The key tools used in the Analyze phase are listed below:
This is a type of bar chart in which the frequency of values is indicated. Histograms are used for analyzing the location, spread, and shape of the data.
3.2 Box Plot
This is an alternative to a histogram and is also used for analyzing the location, spread, and shape of data. However these are typically useful for comparing two or more groups.
3.3 Scatter Plot
This is a graphical representation to depict an association between two variables.
3.4 Run Chart
These are used to depict trends in data over a period of time. These depict shifts, patterns, and drifts in data over time.
3.5 The 5 Why’s
This tool is similar to the Cause and Effect diagram. Potential causes of a problem are further analyzed by asking ‘why’ five times with the goal of achieving an actionable.
3.6 Hypothesis Testing
This is a statistical analysis in which a hypothesis is stated, data is collected, and then a decision is made based on the data and the probability value.
3.7 Design of Experiments
This is a statistical method of determining the relationship between the different factors affecting a process and the output of the process.
The key tools used in the Improve phase are listed below:
4.1 Random Stimulation
This technique involves letting go of one’s usual thinking habits and letting the brain discover newer thoughts. This is a great way of coming up with unexpected and unusual ideas.
4.2 Mind Mapping
This technique involves encouraging team members to use left brain and right brain thinking to find associations with a variable and break the linear thinking pattern.
4.3 Challenge Assumptions
This is another way of encouraging creative thinking by challenging day-to-day assumptions made by the team members. The focus of this exercise is to make the people look at the situation with a newer perspective.
The key tools used in the Control phase are listed below:
5.1 Control Charts
This is a statistical tool for distinguishing between variation caused in a process due to common causes and those arising out of special causes.
5.2 Out-of-Control Action Plan
This tool helps in documenting a response plan for instabilities in the new process.
Six Sigma Tools - Tip
It is important to use the correct Six Sigma tool at specific stages of the DMAIC process. Picking up the right tool including Six Sigma storyboards for the right situation is an indicator of successful Six Sigma projects.
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