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Posted: 1/1/2006 1:48:15 PM EDT
Does anyone work with Six Sigma principals of quality improvement? My New Years resolution is to pursue a Green Belt certification in the Six Sigma arena.

For those that don't know about Six Sigma it's a methodology where the goal is to reduce "defects" (be they broken widgets, re-work, or other profit sucking weakness) in you business processes. Most often these principals are used in manufacturing but I'm going to adapt it to my line of work (healthcare project management).

There are at least three certifications I'm currently aware of: Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt.

Does anyone work with this methodology? Has it been effective for your company? Any words of wisdom?

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:50:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 1:52:33 PM EDT by Zaphod]
Certified Black Belt here.

Yes, it does work if applied correctly, and if you concentrate more on the process you're looking to improve rather than the actual improvement process itself.

BTW, there is an entire branch that is specifically applicable to non-manufacturing processes. It's called Transactional Systems, and it's where I got my BB, in fact (not that the certs are divided, BTW).
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:50:57 PM EDT
i know someone who got their black belt certification, it proved very beneficial both in practical benefits and career advancement opportunities.

definitely worthwhile to pursue certification.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:52:10 PM EDT
i don't work with it, but would like to add a question, if you don't mind. Motorola created Six Sigma and it does not appear to have done anything for them, so why do so many other companies want to copy them? (seriously)
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:53:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 1:58:12 PM EDT by Zaphod]

Originally Posted By sigarkar:
i don't work with it, but would like to add a question, if you don't mind. Motorola created Six Sigma and it does not appear to have done anything for them, so why do so many other companies want to copy them? (seriously)



Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:11:34 PM EDT
Gateway tried to apply these principals and so thoroughly stepped on their dicks...they got sold to emachines.

The process cannot help bad management.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:11:43 PM EDT
My company (Raytheon) requires us to become a Six Sigma specialist nowadays.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:14:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rdblan2:
My company (Raytheon) requires us to become a Six Sigma specialist nowadays.



Well then! I know another place to send a resume!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:19:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rdblan2:
My company (Raytheon) requires us to become a Six Sigma specialist nowadays.



... Same here, and there's nothing wrong with it either. Great principles for running any healthy business.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:23:22 PM EDT
Got my Black Belt certification, it's very effective but in reality, not too different from TQM, lean, etc... with some slight changes. They come up with a new one every few years when one falls out of favor. Great to have on your resume though. I think these stupid gun writers need to take a course in 6 Sigma though the way they cite group sizes using uncontrolled experiments and small data samples, and I have yet to see one gauge R&R study for measuring group sizes.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:36:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By sigarkar:
i don't work with it, but would like to add a question, if you don't mind. Motorola created Six Sigma and it does not appear to have done anything for them, so why do so many other companies want to copy them? (seriously)



Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.



Perhaps that's the difference. My management program did not look favorably upon sixsigma and motorola was cited as having no great results from it. we ran over the theory, it sounded good, i could not understand why anyone would have difficulty w/it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:38:04 PM EDT
"Quotas and slogans are not the answer.

Competant management is the answer." - Dr. W. Edwards Deming

"Drive out fear in the workplace." - Dr. W. Edwards Deming
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:38:08 PM EDT
In my Org, Lean Six Sigma is mandated. I have personally seen some great things going on at Raytheon IDS in Andover. They use a variant called Raytheon Six Sigma.

Its good but like Zaphod said, it is not a cure for bad management. And it requires total involvement from Ground up.

Basically it is just a subset and distillation of what Dr. Edwards Demming preached.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:41:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bostonterrier97:
Its good but like Zaphod said, it is not a cure for bad management. And it requires total involvement from Ground up.




Quality Manager: "Dr. Deming, the CEO has sent me to learn about your 14 Points."

Dr. Deming: "Tell him if can't come, send no one."
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:45:27 PM EDT
Just send all manufacturing to China.

"Cheap" trumps "quality" every single time.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:57:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.



Six-Sigma also fails if mangament does not stand behind it.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:22:27 PM EDT
Green Belt here. Our training was the same as the black belt. Only difference is that in our Corp. green belts are not 100% dedicated to lean projects. I was part of the first wave, the division president, VP sales, CFO, Engineering manager, VP of production, I was the lowest man in the org.
Very intense lots of work, but very rewarding. Just for fun I use the statistics software for my shooting reloads Bad thing is that my partner in phase 1 was my boss, phase II and III it was the president.
Guess who got to do 99.999% of the work?

Gravity WORKS
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:30:56 PM EDT
My last company was big on Six Sigma. I never got certified, but I was involved in four projects. We concentrated mostly on process improvement, which in turn realized a sizeable cost savings, and increase in customer satisfaction. I came from the medical field (clinical laboratory), so quality, and error reduction were very important to us. Six Sigma does work, but it can get out of hand. Once the company saw improvements, they started branching out to other areas that really didn't need improvement. They got over-ambitious, and as a result employee satisfation ratings began to drop. Once the employees begin to lose faith in the system, it's just not effective anymore. Our employees began to think that the company was more interested in the profit margin than the customer, or the employees themselves, and things stagnated. Now, the company was already one of the most profitable labs in the country, so Six Sigma was not instituted as a way to save a sinking ship, it was a way to make a great company better, and I believe management took it too far and shot themselves in the foot.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:31:59 PM EDT
Is this like TQM?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:35:32 PM EDT
They make everyone at my company do at least one project a year, and if you don't it affects your raise.

Most people claim bogus amounts of savings that can never be proven.

I've known for years how to do my job right, and when left to my own devices, made a quality product on time and on budget.

The monumental problem I face is people more powerful than me instructing me to follow a complicated design. This changes on time on budget to 1-2 years late, and millions of dollars of taxpayer money wasted, with a resulting inferior product. But since anyone of these people could destroy my career with a single email or phone call, I do as they say, and bring a check home every week. In "Lessons Learned" meetings, I smile and keep my mouth shut.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:36:56 PM EDT
my company use it,i have been on one team it does help
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:57:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By stratsandaks:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.



Six-Sigma also fails if mangament does not stand behind it.




All quality improvement systems fail if management will not stand behind it. I've been in software QA for 20+ years and have seen most of the improvement systems. Motorola did quite a lot to further
quality improvement processes. Six Sigma, ZD, TQM, CMMI, etc all will work if properly instituted and supported. If not supported and institutionalized in a company, you will probably see dramatic short term improvement as the low hanging fruit is hit, then it will fall apart.

Certification will open doors for you, proof of quality improvement systems can help in more than in a QA field
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:58:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:15:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By stratsandaks:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.



Six-Sigma also fails if mangament does not stand behind it.




Deja Vu, or Deja Vu? I have seen several buzz word alphabet soup programs fail. The sellers of the programs made bank.

If you have inspired workers with high morale, good pay, and a comfortable workplace with quality management, you don't need to pay for the program du jour. Likewise, the (insert today's new buzzword filled ) program will not avert a trainwreck in progress where all the workers see is too many chiefs (top heavy management) padding their options and bonus packages while the ones getting the job done have pay freezes, lay offs, and out-sourcing.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:34:17 PM EDT
I have a professor who's favortie thing is lean six sigma. She was introducing it, and was telling us about the various gains that different corporations have made using it.

She explained that most companies are operating between 2 and 3 sigma right now. The goal of six sigma being to reduce defects to ouside of 6 sigma. I had to ask, why 6. it seems arbitrary, why not 5 or 7? She countered talking about pacemakers, and if I had a pacemaker, how many feects are acceptible. My problem was that if I have a pacemaker put into me, I want the company to be operating at zero defects. My luck is bad, if they were operating at 6 sigma I would most likely end up as one of the 4 people with defective pacemakers (3.4) out of the million implanted.

Am I wrong, or is the level chosen just arbitrary? I never got that part.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:41:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By sigarkar:
i don't work with it, but would like to add a question, if you don't mind. Motorola created Six Sigma and it does not appear to have done anything for them, so why do so many other companies want to copy them? (seriously)



Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.




I worked with Motorola as they developed the system. On paper it sounded great, but in the early stages if it got in the way of production schedules it was bypassed time and time again. Sometimes it's hard to teach a bunch of old dogs new tricks.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:55:48 PM EDT
Our company is all about it. To me, it stinks of "lookie what I read in this management book." We have many employees who are spending between 33% (green belts) and 100% (black belts) of their time on these "projects." So, if you spend 4-6 FTEs for 6 months ($300K in salary) on a project that saves $10K, was it worth it?

My problem is that instead of spending time on pissant projects, there needs to be a quickie way to see if the savings is worth the time. It seems like the go / no-go "gateways" are WAY too late in the process. Maybe this is just a problem with our implementation...

I'll suddenly become a GE employee on Thursday, so I guess that I'll be forced to drink that Kool-Aid.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:57:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KL2001:
I have a professor who's favortie thing is lean six sigma. She was introducing it, and was telling us about the various gains that different corporations have made using it.

She explained that most companies are operating between 2 and 3 sigma right now. The goal of six sigma being to reduce defects to ouside of 6 sigma. I had to ask, why 6. it seems arbitrary, why not 5 or 7? She countered talking about pacemakers, and if I had a pacemaker, how many feects are acceptible. My problem was that if I have a pacemaker put into me, I want the company to be operating at zero defects. My luck is bad, if they were operating at 6 sigma I would most likely end up as one of the 4 people with defective pacemakers (3.4) out of the million implanted.

Am I wrong, or is the level chosen just arbitrary? I never got that part.



The trouble with a Zero Defect(ZD) process is nobody believes it. Friends of mune worked in a company which had a ZD process. A huge reason it failed is because nobody believed ZD was possible and the term becaume a joke in the company. An attainable goal is needed. I'd have to look it up to be usre, but I think 6 Sigma was decided upon based on calculated reliability of a system if each of the components were built with a 6 Sigma reliability.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 5:03:39 PM EDT
White belt... it does seem that every decade brings about 1 or 2 quality programs into popularity. Six sigma is good as well as TQM and TQC. But just like the forerunners, six sigma only works for those that do quality work. Quality work cannot be taught in a class room, only quality techniques. Quality only comes from desire.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 5:19:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheCynic:
Our company is all about it. To me, it stinks of "lookie what I read in this management book." We have many employees who are spending between 33% (green belts) and 100% (black belts) of their time on these "projects." So, if you spend 4-6 FTEs for 6 months ($300K in salary) on a project that saves $10K, was it worth it?

My problem is that instead of spending time on pissant projects, there needs to be a quickie way to see if the savings is worth the time. It seems like the go / no-go "gateways" are WAY too late in the process. Maybe this is just a problem with our implementation...

I'll suddenly become a GE employee on Thursday, so I guess that I'll be forced to drink that Kool-Aid.



It may be your implementation, or it might be the wrong system for the company.
A well functioning system should identify problems early in the process, although it's impossible to eliminate all problems, we keep building better idiots.

It's also tough to evaluate the cost/benefit of the improvement system. The example you gave of spending $300,000 to save $10,000 could be cost effective if your customers are happy because of your effort. I worked for a software company which was in a cutthroat industry. Customers would withhold multi-million dollar checks if we didn't install a process improvement plan. The customers would actually have the requirement written in the contracts. We worked with major corporations on creating internal audits to satisfy them. Besides improving the quality of our product, the process improvement system was actually a selling point for our software.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 5:31:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wildearp:

Originally Posted By stratsandaks:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.



Six-Sigma also fails if mangament does not stand behind it.




Deja Vu, or Deja Vu? I have seen several buzz word alphabet soup programs fail. The sellers of the programs made bank.

If you have inspired workers with high morale, good pay, and a comfortable workplace with quality management, you don't need to pay for the program du jour. Likewise, the (insert today's new buzzword filled ) program will not avert a trainwreck in progress where all the workers see is too many chiefs (top heavy management) padding their options and bonus packages while the ones getting the job done have pay freezes, lay offs, and out-sourcing.





Link Posted: 1/1/2006 5:48:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2006 5:03:50 AM EDT by leroy]

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:17:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 6:30:18 PM EDT by patriotarmory223]
The company i work for uses it (tyco electronics) Although i am not directly in volved in it i think it's a bunch of bullshit. I have been in manufacturing for 24 yrs as a tool and die maker. Isee it like this, if you have a production problem or a quality problem ,go directly to the probable cause, get your hands dirty and fix it. Instead what is happening now is we have a conference room full of people, engineers, the plant manager etc. spending a good part of the day with coffee and dougnuts going back and forth, ''well bob what do you think the problem is ? i dont know bill, what do you think the problem is? And then to top it off they go back to their offices, write a report ,generate 20 lbs of paper work, all to find out a circuit breaker had tripped! And we wonder why are jobs are going off shore...WTF!!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:29:12 PM EDT
It's nothing more than the latest buzz phrase so the management bean counters can justify their 6-figure salaries and year-end bonuses.

In a few years, they will come up with another catchy phrase.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:51:55 PM EDT

The company i work for uses it (tyco electronics) Although i am not directly in volved in it i think it's a bunch of bullshit. I have been in manufacturing for 24 yrs as a tool and die maker. Isee it like this, if you have a production problem or a quality problem ,go directly to the probable cause, get your hands dirty and fix it. Instead what is happening now is we have a conference room full of people, engineers, the plant manager etc. spending a good part of the day with coffee and dougnuts going back and forth, ''well bob what do you think the problem is ? i dont know bill, what do you think the problem is? And then to top it off they go back to their offices, write a report ,generate 20 lbs of paper work, all to find out a circuit breaker had tripped! And we wonder why are jobs are going off shore...WTF!!


The way I understand 6 sigma is that it allows you to focus on making sure that you fix the right problem and don't wast time and $$ on what management thinks the problem is.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:02:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Texas_Sig:
It's nothing more than the latest buzz phrase so the management bean counters can justify their 6-figure salaries and year-end bonuses.

In a few years, they will come up with another catchy phrase.



Yep, most of these systems are basically repackaged versions of each other. The essense of all of these systems is to identify the problem and not a symptom, fix the problem once, and don't introduce new problems. Each system has its own terminology and roadmap to learn.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:12:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wildearp:

Originally Posted By stratsandaks:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Motorola did INCREDIBLE things with it, as did GE.

The thing is, Six-Sigma cannot remedy bad management. It is a set of tools and a problem-solving methodology, but NOT a Holy Grail. Too many times Management makes that mistake.



Six-Sigma also fails if mangament does not stand behind it.




Deja Vu, or Deja Vu? I have seen several buzz word alphabet soup programs fail. The sellers of the programs made bank.

If you have inspired workers with high morale, good pay, and a comfortable workplace with quality management, you don't need to pay for the program du jour. Likewise, the (insert today's new buzzword filled ) program will not avert a trainwreck in progress where all the workers see is too many chiefs (top heavy management) padding their options and bonus packages while the ones getting the job done have pay freezes, lay offs, and out-sourcing.



Common sense, whod'a thunk it? Every new "program" is just a way for the "creator" to make money. Almost all of them use about the same type of principles but change the phrasing.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:26:54 PM EDT
Many companies look at Six Sigma as a Holy Grail as other mentioned.

Also as others have mentioned, some people claim rediculous amounts of monetary savings and get certified for it. My experience has been to as someonw who had a project certified to seee their updated Control Plan with updated control charts etc........ Can we say looked like a deer with headlights in their eyes. Primary failure for the simplist of Six Sigma methodologies - itis not a one time hit process continue........

I think the worst and most simplistic oversight I saw as that a company had published that for each BB they hired it equated to $450,000 in net revenue. Maybe they should hire one Economist with the money to exaplain diminishing returns. Better yet study the actual monetary value of BB's
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:36:48 PM EDT
I was with GE aircraft engines when they swept in SS with much hullabaloo. Most of the early gains were due to simply expanding the tolerances --- whoo-hoo, less defects. I guess so if you change the definition of what is acceptable.

Everything became a six sigma savings. Change to a cheaper toilet paper in the bathrooms: hey man thats a six sigma victory!.

There is nothing wrong about knowing what contributes to the quality/cost at every level of your manufacturing process, so that you know where to apply resources best to improve them. Six Sigma gives you the tools to accomplish this. There is a lot wrong with building a cult that seems to be more pre-occupied with making sure the powerpoints fit the proper format or else your green belt project is rejected, regardless of the cost savings.

My last green belt project, I declared that I would save $70,000 that year. Then I said "I resign".

Now my current employer is about to layer six sigma on top of ISO 9001. The kind of thing where you want to get your brother to come watch, because he has never seen a train wreck.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:42:02 PM EDT
Destroyed our company and we lost some really good people because of the "Blackbelts". Employee moral has never been worse and our bottomline looks horrible.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:54:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:00:16 PM EDT by _DR]
Seen Six Sigma come and go in two companies. My opinion is that if the you have big problems Six Sigma wil not fix them, just fool you into thinking you are. If you are just trying to get an edge, it might work if you don't take it too far as others have said, but it's no magic bullet.

We just certified ISO 9000. I believe that is a better methodology than Six Sigma, and also holds more prestige with stockholder, boards, S&P rating, etc. Six Sigma is a bit dated these days I believe, even though ISO has been around longer AFAIK. ISO 9000 is no magic bullet either. The corporate world is such a whore for these things.

Either way if your management doesn't care about the employees and the employees don't care about doing a good job, it's just a bunch of paperwork and catch phrases. I have seen more canned goals and evaluations, and BS paperwork, sometimes I swear it's all just a gimmick to keep middle management in a paycheck.

I remember the whole "Who moved the Cheese" thing was a real big deal about 5 years ago, now it's pretty much forgotten. QA/QC is important, but without good leadership it won't keep things afloat, just like without good leaders in combat, you are as good as dead.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:02:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:
"Drive out fear in the workplace." - Dr. W. Edwards Deming




To give you an idea of how messed up my former employer is, it now looks as if fear drove me from the workplace.

I'm so glad it happened. The more I think about it.....
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:06:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KL2001:
I have a professor who's favortie thing is lean six sigma. She was introducing it, and was telling us about the various gains that different corporations have made using it.

She explained that most companies are operating between 2 and 3 sigma right now. The goal of six sigma being to reduce defects to ouside of 6 sigma. I had to ask, why 6. it seems arbitrary, why not 5 or 7? She countered talking about pacemakers, and if I had a pacemaker, how many feects are acceptible. My problem was that if I have a pacemaker put into me, I want the company to be operating at zero defects. My luck is bad, if they were operating at 6 sigma I would most likely end up as one of the 4 people with defective pacemakers (3.4) out of the million implanted.

Am I wrong, or is the level chosen just arbitrary? I never got that part.



I'd be willing to bet that a) it's an even number, and b) it rolls off the tongue more easily.

There's also the fact that there comes a point where the costs to advance one more sigma level far outweigh the benefits. As such, it would seem that six is the boundary marker for most processes.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:09:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patriotarmory223:
Isee it like this, if you have a production problem or a quality problem ,go directly to the probable cause, get your hands dirty and fix it.




That's what Six Sigma is supposed to be.


Instead what is happening now is we have a conference room full of people, engineers, the plant manager etc. spending a good part of the day with coffee and dougnuts going back and forth, ''well bob what do you think the problem is ? i dont know bill, what do you think the problem is? And then to top it off they go back to their offices, write a report ,generate 20 lbs of paper work, all to find out a circuit breaker had tripped! And we wonder why are jobs are going off shore...WTF!!


That's bad management, not Six Sigma.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:12:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By _DR:
We just certified ISO 9000. I believe that is a better methodology than Six Sigma,



Apples and Oranges.

ISO 9000 is a quality system standard that you implement procedures to comply to and get certified in. Six Sigma is a methodology to identify potential improvements and make them happen. ISO is a goal. Six Sigma is a toolbox.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:23:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 8:27:09 PM EDT by ElCamino]
I'll be perfectly honest. I don't understand any of this shit.

Sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me, really. The domain of paper-pushers that managed a B or C average to get their MBA.

ETA: Not to say it isn't effective somewhere but I have a very hard time believing that because somebody got a certification, hiring them makes you X amount of money. WTF? Nobody would believe that if you replaced that certification with a certain college degree. None of this shit is based in reality, just statistics and projections. Seems to me somebody can be a Six Sigma Black Belt and still drive a company right into the ground.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:33:02 PM EDT
The problems I have seen with TQM, and then Six Sigma implementation, is that the management only wants to incorporate part of the program, picking and choosing the parts they want, ignoring the distasteful parts (such lack of leadership and management incompetent in the specialty) and the heavy lifting and expense required for large projects, instead, applying it to pissant "pilot" projects to get the companies "feet wet" and sweeping the whole mess under the rug if that starter project falls on its face.

ISO is a paperwork exercise that still hasn't built one single part. I refuse to participate, and if one of the ISO inspectors asks me, I'll tell them straight out that it's bullshit and no one at the company pays one iota of attention to ISO except to play the game with coached answers when the inspectors are in town. The tinfoil hat version is that it's also a ploy by Europe to disable US manufacturing with onerous work rules similar to those their companies work under.

In the end, it comes down to pride of workmanship, craftsmanship, training, experience, and knowledge of the ways your decisions, or more often, lack of decision and action, affects the rest of the chain. There is no way around this and writing down ISO process rules for hugely complex, dynamic design and manufacturing problems in the hope that they will overcome deficiencies in the craftsmen, engineers, or vendors and other parts of the supply chain, is a foolish exercise destined for failure.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 8:46:22 PM EDT
I've got a Bachelor's degree in Quality Management Systems, and have been in the Aerospace Quality business for nearly 20 years. There have been a lot of "flavor of the months" schemes to improve quality. Nearly all of these are based on the same principles, and "can" show improvements, but only if everyone is onboard 100% from the CEO to the guy who cleans the toilers. Unfortunately, human nature prevents this from happening.

In today's world certifications are worth as much as a degree, so they are worth persuing. My boss thinks I should get a CQA (Certified Qualitu Auditor) certification, even though I am the only one in the group (including him) with a degree.

Only 20 more years until retirement! Woo Hooo!!!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:14:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 9:15:37 PM EDT by sigarkar]

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By KL2001:

Am I wrong, or is the level chosen just arbitrary? I never got that part.




There's also the fact that there comes a point where the costs to advance one more sigma level far outweigh the benefits. As such, it would seem that six is the boundary marker for most processes.



I believe that is exactly the reason.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:22:42 PM EDT
Its the current flavor of the month in the corporate world for some people to justify their existence in finding a complex and expensive solution to a simple problem. Instead of asking the people in the trenches companies hire overpaid analysts to give them a solution, it looks good on paper and makes for great fill in on your annual report to shareholders/board members........so basically it looks good on you resume and will help you move up until the next fad comes along.....go for it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 9:33:28 PM EDT
Six Sigma is essentialy using convoluted common sense to reduce the idiocy designed into the process by engineers. Often the same people do both.

If you want to know how to make your process flow, find a crew of the LAZIEST bastards you can get your hands on*, give them a set goal of production, a set time to accomplish the goal, and a tangible reward. Observe how they streamline any unnecessary bullshit, and set your procedures accordingly.

And beat the piss out of anyone who ever uses the phrase "Well, according to my calculations, it'll work just fine--just like on paper." in reference to new processes.

*By laziest I mean the people who know how everything works. They will often be the more surly employees. Do not confuse them with the most stupid employees who have NO idea how anything works, and are pissed at you for asking.
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