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Six Sigma Project Example

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six sigma project examples.

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Six Sigma project description and details are very brief for two reasons. First confidentiality agreements with all of our clients and second these are intended only for concept  not all of the details of a six sigma project.  All six sigma projects were major strategic business issues for the organizations involved.

six sigma project

 Using Six Sigma in Safety Metrics at Motorola.
Article by Patricia O'Rourke  

six sigma project rail car cycle time.

Define: Eliminate paying extra demurrage charges on rail cars.
Measure: Paying over four days demurrage on some rail cars. Any demurrage charge over allowed is a defect.
Analyze: Rail car traffic, switch engine schedule, rail company operating rules, operating company procedures, spotting procedures.
Improve: Changed sequences of handling empty and full cars. Modified loading times by less than 2 hrs. Result is essentially no demurrage, over the allowed, for the entire site.
Control: Rail company changed procedures and operating company changed scheduling practices.

six sigma project chemical plant bottleneck.

Define: Distillation tower has internal damage limiting production rates. Next outage is scheduled in one year. If outage taken now to repair damage we will still have to take outage in one year because of parts delivery for other essential projects.
Measure: At anything over 85% of capacity the distillation tower will not perform. With six months of effort, Operations Engineers and Process Engineering could find no solution other than to take an early outage. Anything less than 100% capacity is considered a defect.
Analyze: Identified key operating variables, established allowable ranges for each, and conducted a Designed Experiment. 
Improve: A single set of conditions allowed operations at 102% of capacity without problems. At that level another part of the plant became the bottleneck. Increased capacity until scheduled outage worth $6million.
Control: All shift operators were trained for new conditions and the operations procedures were modified.

six sigma project retail display. 

Define: Marketing has designed a "fancy" display unit that they think will outperform the "standard" display unit and they want to put one in every store. "Fancy" display is 10X cost of a "standard" display and all stores already have "standard" units. Should the new displays be purchased.
Measures: Have data for each store on sales of this product for every day. 
Analyze: The stores identified at least three other factors besides display type that could impact sales. Range for each factor was identified. Design of Experiments was conducted.
Improve: "Fancy" display had no significant impact on sales. The "fancy" displays were not ordered for any more stores, with considerable cost savings.
Control: Future changes will be tested and evaluated using statistical techniques.

six sigma project water treating.

Define: Water treating unit in 15 years had never been able to handle the nameplate capacity. Treatment chemical costs were higher than other types of treatment units.
Measure: Confirmed flow rate through the system vs. nameplate.
Analyze: Measure system evaluation and found many measurements that were off by over 100%. Hourly operations identified key variables in the operation of the unit and the acceptable range of each. Conducted three different Designed Experiments.
Improve: Corrected the measurement problems. Found set of operating variables that produced 107% of nameplate capacity at higher quality with lower chemical use. Chemical use reduced by $180K per year.
Control: Hourly operations trained, procedures modified, process to check measurement instituted. Model for changes in inlet water conditions.

six sigma project power distribution reliability.

Define: Large chemical site had significant losses due to power outages.
Measure: Dollar value determined for each failure and the total. Each failure was assigned to a major component.
Analyze: Mapped the entire system by major component and identified failure rates for each major component. Found areas with projects scheduled that were very unlikely to fail and would add nothing to overall reliability. Other components were being ignored and had a highly likelihood of causing an outage.
Improve: Developed plan for each component depending upon failure mode and frequency for that component. Made a 10X reduction in the dollar losses due to power failures on site.
Control: Track each major component and modify action plan based on failure mode if needed. System shared with other locations.

six sigma project redundant analysis.

Define: Analysis is being conducted at two and three locations for the same product with different results from each location. Capital requests from multiple area for the same analysis for the same material.
Measure: For each analysis collected the corresponding results from each location. Totaled the capital request for analysis where they were already being done or duplicate requests for the same analysis.
Analyze: In some cases the methods were the same and the brand of instrument the same, some had the same type of instrument but different brand and different procedures, in others different types of instruments were being used. Found over calibration of most instruments. Sources of variation for each type of analysis were investigated using nested Design of Experiments.
Improve: Real time telemetry of data eliminated some redundancy. For other analysis correlation curves had to be developed to show the equivalent values for different methods and agreement was reached to use one analysis and share the results. Totally eliminated the significant capital request for analysis.
Control: Modified capital authorization request procedure. Control charts for each analysis to determine when to calibrate.

six sigma project new capacity justified.

Define: Contract to deliver product at a minimum rate on a daily basis. Severe penalties if rate missed by even a small amount. Customer "good will" also an issue.
Measure: Capacity of units in the system more than the minimum rates. Collected failure rate data for each unit and time to repair.
Analyze: Failure rate data combined with the time to repair data indicated that there were significant periods of time when the minimum contract rates could not be met and penalties would be paid.
Improve: Capital approved for an additional unit. Within the first year the new unit was required at least four separate times for several weeks each time to meet the contract minimums. Any one of the four times returned enough cash to pay for all of the capital expended.
Control: System to tract and monitor failure data and repair time data.


six sigma project people selection.

Define: Why is there such a difference is the sales performance of people?
Measure: Top people have 10X volume of the bottom 25%. Failure to meet sales quotas is a defect.
Analyze: Education, training, time in job, product line, sales area, profiles.
Improve: Able to identify by profile 72% of the top sales people. Use this tool to select new people into this function.
Control: Use profiles for new hires and continue to monitor performance levels.

six sigma project parts failing after final machines.

Define: Inspection is rejecting a high number of parts after final machines.
Measure: Product yield was determined and number of defects in total to establish defect yield and sigma value.
Analyze: Machine operators, engineers and vendor identified variables that could impact the production of defects. Range of acceptable levels determined for each variable. Five different Designed Experiments were conducted.
Improve: Operating instructions changed to the conditions with the lowest defect production consistent with capacity limits. Final product yield increased 13%.
Control: Control charts installed for each machine. Decision tree corrective action plan provided for known defects and known corrective actions. 

six sigma project out of spec product.

Define: Amount of product out of spec and being automatically removed is high. No recycle or salvage value.
Measure: Quantified the amount of out of spec product for each product grade.
Analyze: Operations and Engineers identified the variables that impact the production of out of spec material. Several of these are preventive actions performed by operations. Ranges for the levels and frequencies for the variables were determined. Designed Experiments were run and acceptable levels and frequencies determined.
Improve: Levels for the variables and frequencies for operator preventive actions established. Out of spec material dropped by 50%.
Control: Operating procedures were modified, schedules for operator corrective actions instituted, and control charts for the amount of out spec material are being kept.

six sigma project engineering changes.

Define: Large number of changes from client after approving engineering design. Schedule slipping. 
Measure: Number of changes, time involved in changes, compliance to critical path schedule.
Analyze:  No clear authority on client team to establish scope, any of client team could make changes, verbal communication of changes, conflicting changes by client team members. Language issues between client and engineers.
Improve: Regular engineering/client meetings where topics included: scope for each section and desired objective, known limitations defined, unclear requirements were questioned and options discussed. Written plan signed by client representative and engineering lead. Change requests in writing and signed by client representative. Changes decrease by factor of 4.7 and schedule met.
Control: Change requests all in writing. Shared approach with other disciplines on project.


six sigma project web design.

Define: Design a web site that ranks in the top  ten (10) on all major search engines and directories.
Measure: Enter "six sigma" and check ranking in search engines.
Analyze: URL name, title of pages, and other factors are major ranking criteria. Reciprocal links and other routine activities aid in search engine ranking.
Improve: Purchase URL with six sigma included, optimize each page, develop reciprocal links, and perform other regular activities required to maintain traffic and ranking.
Control: Monitor ranking on search engines weekly.  You can check on the success of this project by entering "six sigma" in the search field of your favorite search engine. Success is a link to in the top ten (10) listings. The titles and descriptions may vary , the URL link is the performance measure.



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