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Excelerated Six Sigma™ Training

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by David A. Lalain - President Omnex Quality Culture and Executive Vice President Omnex - Quality Solutions

Many organizations, especially Automotive, Electronics or companies that have practiced ISO/TS 16949 and QS-9000 quality management systems have gained knowledge and skills in techniques like SPC, MSA, and FMEA. Omnex Excelerated Six SigmaTM leverages these skills and knowledge in applying them to the DMAIC Breakthrough Strategy. Simply said, the Excelerated process reduces the class room time of the traditional Six Sigma training by 50% if Black Belt candidates possess some requisite skills.

Understanding the Six Sigma DMAIC Process Strategic

The Six Sigma process identifies large, strategic projects that are critical to company success. Typically, the corporate objectives are called the BIG Y, and the project success factors are called the small y. In this scheme, the BIG Y of organizations is typically comprised of Profitability, Sales, Quality, and Delivery. In parallel with the BIG Y, Project y's are then identified. See an example below.

BIG Y -

  • Profitability of 15%
  • Quality - PPM - 12
  • Delivery - 100%
  • Premium Freight - reduced by 50%
  • New Product Introductions - 4 in 2007
  • Customer Satisfaction ratings improved from 8 to 9 overall

Project y's

  • Reduce repeated runout failures in Product ABC
  • Reduce costs of Product X and Z
  • Improve the quality and performance of new products Xigo and Argo
  • and so on…..

other words, Six Sigma identifies projects that are strategic in nature and correlate with overall company success.

Project Selection

Projects are carefully selected not only on their correlation to the Big Y, but also on three factors: savings, time to achieve, and probability of success. Frequently, the project scope should be consistent with the goal of project completion in a four to six month time frame.

The small Project y correlates with the company's BIG Y:

Y = ya +yb+yc+ …..yz

(where a to z are the projects identified that correlate to company success)

Of course, the second part of Six Sigma is the execution of the projects. Most of the talk about Six Sigma revolves around projects and making those projects successful. Top management focus, push, and company resources will not be targeted on the projects unless the right projects important to top management (and business success) are identified. Without this, Six Sigma will not be successful.

Why Is Excelerated Six SigmaTM So Successful?

Excelerated Six SigmaTM is successful because of the design of the overall implementation process

1) Large money saving and mission critical projects important to company success are identified

2) The savings from the projects are tied to the strategy and budgets of the organization. Project success means business and budget success.

3) Top management Champions are selected, who are interested in the success of the projects and who have management authority and resources.

4) Black Belt Candidates that command respect from their peers, who are seen as "high potential" candidates, are selected for these mission critical projects.

5) Black Belts are given 60% to 80% of dedicated time to the projects for four to six months.

6) Cross-functional Six Sigma project teams are created and given four to eight hours per week to work on the projects.

7) Black Belts are trained in the DMAIC process that takes projects systematically from the Defining phase to the Improvement and Control phases with the assistance of an experienced, mature, and expert Master Black Belts.(MBBs)

8) MBBs are assigned time to work with the BBs on their project

9) Champions review the projects monthly in a set process called Toll Gate Review.

10) The Black Belt learning involves the application of tools and methods to projects. Omnex has reduced the training portion for BBs to 9 classroom days with additional project mentoring and assistance between the classes.

11) For certification, Black Belt candidates must meet specific criteria such as money savings and demonstrated competencies.

12) Black Belts are rotated back into the company after a few years for reassignment or promotion to higher positions.

In our opinion, the Excelerated Six SigmaTM process cannot fail if the above 12 points are followed.

The DMAIC Project Methodology

Black Belt projects are executed using the steps of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC). In the Define Phase project "y" is defined and ROI is calculated. In the Measure Phase the current state of the measurements surrounding the project is conducted. In the Analyze Phase, the relationship between the Project y (called the Key Output Variable or KOV) and the Key Input Variables (KIVs) are analyzed. In other words, what external variables affect the output variables? This is a key relationship often requiring advanced statistical tools and experimentation.

In the Improve Phase, more experiments are conducted to improve the KOV or the Project y. At this stage, a top management proposal for improvements is made and must achieve Champion buy-off. The team plans the implementation of the changes and starts implementing them. The project does not proceed into the Control Phase until the project is implemented. In this last phase, the project is handed off to the process owner.

KOV = KIVa + KIVb+KIVc

This is the key to Six Sigma project success!

Excelerated Six SigmaTM Black Belt Project Execution

When the organization has the prerequisite skills in place, then the Excelerated Six SigmaTM process works as follows:

  • Champion Training - 3 days - What is Six Sigma, Project Selection, and Toll Gate Review
  • Month 1 - Define and Measure - 3 days of training and 2 days of project work with Master Black Belt (MBB)
  • Toll gate review
  • Month 2 - Analyze - 3 days of training and 2 days of project work with MBB
  • Toll gate review
  • Month 3 - Project Work with MBB
  • Toll gate review
  • Month 4 - Improve and Control- 3 days of training and 2 days of project work with MBB
  • Toll gate review
  • Black Belt Project Presentation

Figure 1: Six Sigma Tools

Prerequisites

Although all the DMAIC tools will be reviewed, it is expected that Black Belt applicants will have had education and practical experience in the following:

  • Systems approach to Product Realization (e.g. QOS, MBNQA, etc.)
  • Project Management (e.g. Advance Product Quality Planning, or APQP)
  • Process Mapping/Flow Charts (including Value-added Mapping)
  • Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Control Plan development
  • Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
  • 7 Basic Tools of Quality
  • Basic Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Advanced Statistical Process Control (SPC)

Optional Training

Omnex offers training for Black Belt candidates who do not possess the requisite knowledge.

To achieve Excelerated Six SigmaTM Certification, Black Belt candidates will have to fulfill the following criteria:

1) Usage of Six Sigma tools between two Black Belt projects (see figure 1)

2) Savings of average of $150,000 in two projects

3) 4 hour exam

4) 4 hour interview on projects, tools, and methodology

Figure 2: Excelerated Six SigmaTM Roadmap

Linking Projects to Organizational Strategy and Finance

The key to Six Sigma integration is to link project successes to the business strategy of the organization. In this way, project success is translated to bottom line success. This reporting should not come from the Six Sigma deployment Champion, rather it should be from the Finance Department. This reporting brings legitimacy to the savings generated by the methodology.

In our opinion, the Excelerated Six SigmaTM methodology cannot fail, and companies today cannot succeed without implementing the twin methodologies of Excelerated Six SigmaTM and Breakway LeanTM in the specialized product called Unified Lean/Six SigmaTM. The case study below shows a worldwide organization's success using Excelerated Six SigmaTM

Company Embraces Excelerated Six SigmaTM Methodology

In November of last year Omnex began working with a worldwide electronics organization to kick off Excelerated Six SigmaTM in three continents–the USA, Asia, and Europe. We trained the 19 champions and ran 21 Black Belt projects. In the start of the project, we initially had identified $10 million in savings possible.

By August of this year, the projects had already yielded results. With only 5 projects completed, the corporate finance department reported savings of $13.5 million. We found that during the Define phase, both the Champions and Black Belts were conservative in estimating the bottom line benefit of the projects.