All posts containing six sigma


How to Solve Your Problems With Lean Six Sigma (Free DMAIC Checklist)

lean six sigma

Elisabeth Swan is the co-author of “The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit” and co-host of “The Just-in-Time Cafe Podcast.” She’s been a process improvement consultant, speaker, and innovator for over 30 years. She’s the Chief Learning Experience Officer for GoLeanSixSigma.com, a former cast member of ImprovBoston, and – if asked – may still be able to ride a unicycle.

Surgeon Atul Gawande made headlines when he told the world that a simple checklist could drastically reduce unnecessary deaths in The Checklist Manifesto.

Yet, checklists conjure images of forklift drivers on loading docks with clipboards counting boxes. How could they transform healthcare?

He has… produced a 90-second checklist which reduced deaths and complications by more than one-third in eight hospitals around the world – at virtually no cost and for almost any operation.” – James Clarke, reviewing The Checklist Manifesto, Ulster Med J. 2011 Jan; 80(1): 54.

Aviation was transformed decades earlier when management and engineers at Boeing Corporation created the pre-flight checklist after the 1935 crash of the prototype Boeing B-17 at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Checklists have become so essential to the airline industry that most crashes can be traced to the misuse or failure to complete a checklist.

A New York Times reviewer noted, “no matter how expert you may be, well-designed checklists can improve outcomes”. Since the purpose of process improvement is improving outcomes, Lean Six Sigma and checklists are natural companions.

To prove that, this Process Street blog post will show the relationship between checklists and lean six sigma, and provide you with a free DMAIC Improvement Project Tollgate Checklist that you can use right now.

Use the links below to jump to that section of the post:

Or, if you just want the checklist, check it out below!

Let’s get started.

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The 7 Core Six Sigma Principles to Build Your Business Around

six sigma principles headerFinding ways to improve processes within your organization can be tough.

There always seems to be so many things to measure and so many variables to consider.

Where do you start? How do you determine what’s good? Who takes responsibility for improvement?

Fortunately, you don’t have to go in blind.

There are loads of approaches you can take to process improvement, but one of the key techniques used by some of the world’s top companies is Six Sigma.

The Six Sigma school of thought is all about finding the right focus and tightening up processes around that goal. The end result should be the reduction of defects from a process. This saves resources, time, effort, and most of all money!

In this Process Street article, we’re going to give you an intro into Six Sigma while linking off to resources for you to explore deeper.

We’ll investigate the key Six Sigma principles which can shape and direct process improvement in your business.

The core Six Sigma principles

The 7 key Six Sigma principles we’ll cover are:

  • Always focus on the customer
  • Understand how work really happens
  • Make your processes flow smoothly
  • Reduce waste and concentrate on value
  • Stop defects through removing variation
  • Get buy-in from the team through collaboration
  • Make your efforts systematic and scientific

You could categorize these as lean Six Sigma if you want to as well.

Given the evolving nature of the different schools of business process improvement, there will always likely be some disagreement over what the specific principles are.

For this reason, I feel it’s important to include the various competing principles even if some other lists might look at only 5 or 6 principles.

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DFSS: How Design For Six Sigma can Supercharge Your Business

dfss design for six sigmaAs we build businesses, we strive to make them successful in what they do and efficient in the way they carry that out.

Six Sigma is framework with dual American and Japanese origins which helps companies achieve both of these aims.

We want to take company processes and make them better, smoother, faster, easier – it’s what Process Street does. But having a complex process optimized to the highest degree, as Six Sigma advocates, is tough.

That’s why we’re going to look at Design for Six Sigma.

This will take the Six Sigma lessons and apply them to creating new processes or products. Importantly, it will help us set up these processes or products in a way which makes them ready from the start for further Six Sigma-inspired analysis.

According to Quality-One:

…[U]tilizing Design for Six Sigma methodologies, companies have reduced their time to market by 25 to 40 percent while providing a high quality product that meets the customer’s requirements.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • What is Six Sigma?
  • What is Design for Six Sigma?
  • What is DMADV?
  • What is the difference between DMAIC and DFSS

We’ll run through the best practices of creating new products and processes in a way that they can be improved and optimized from the very beginning.

Don’t waste your time with poor processes. Start right and continue properly.

Read on to see how it works!

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14 BPM & Six Sigma Courses You Can Take to Become a Systems Expert

Every business needs optimized processes. We’ve proven that again and again on the Process Street blog.

However, since business process management is taught formally in academies, the available material usually consists of dense technical documents and complex case studies.

When you’re just getting started, it’s easier to absorb information in the form of video than it is to pick through a lengthy paper full of cryptic diagrams.

With that in mind, we decided to collect the best video lectures and interactive courses on everything related to the inner workings of business: scaling, improving consistency, lean operations, Six Sigma, BPMN, process management, and more.

This list has both advanced and introductory courses. So, whether you just want to learn how to improve a process, or you want to dive into the statistical models behind business efficiency, it’s all here.

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DMAIC: The Complete Guide to Lean Six Sigma in 5 Key Steps

dmaic headerWe all like to know about the broader philosophies behind process improvements, but sometimes we need to knuckle down and look at some of the more technical details.

One of the core techniques behind any process improvement, particularly in Six Sigma, is DMAIC.

This handy approach, pronounced duh-may-ik, is the key to employing Six Sigma and beginning your journey to being a process hero. We’re going to cover each step in the process and detail how to effectively enact every section.

This guide will lead you through from start to finish and get you ready to start employing lean Six Sigma within your business!

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Visual Management: How to Communicate Effectively with Your Workforce

visual-management

Click here to visually map and improve your business processes now!

Did you know that visual information is processed 60,000 x faster than text?

This explains why the average person remembers only 20% of what they read but 40% of what they see. This also explains why most companies use a form of visual management to communicate with their employees.

Let’s do a little test to see if people, in general, respond better to visual cues than text.

Look at these two depictions of a traffic light below.

One is a sentence describing a traffic light, and one is an image of a traffic light. Both traffic lights are on different colors:

1. The traffic light is on red.

2.visual-management

At the end of this Process Street post, we’ll see which color traffic light you remember! No cheating mind!

In the meantime, I’ll take you through the following topics to explain what visual management is and how you can use it to effectively communicate with your employees:

Ready?
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Business Process Optimization: How to Improve Workflows Like a Pro (Free Templates!)

Business Process Optimization

In the fast-paced, full-throttle world of modern business, there’s an incentive to keep going, keep doing, keep pressing forward.

(Business. More like busyness, amirite? 😏)

But what if I told you that striving forward without robust, solid processes is a massive mistake?

While Łukasz Tartanus found from his sample that 69% of businesses have documented processes, only 4% manage and measure them. This means countless businesses are zealously pressing forward with depreciated, outdated processes for their recurring tasks. If only their processes were optimized, these businesses would be able to grow and achieve internal targets far quicker.

This is why business process optimization is important. And it’s why you’re about to read my post on it.

I’ll define business process optimization, its benefits, explain how to go about it, and show you how Process Street makes process optimization super easy.

Just read through the following sections to get clued up:

It’s time to learn about optimization! 🚀

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How to Use The Deming Cycle for Continuous Quality Improvement

deming cycle headerUnderstanding quality and seeking to improve it is arguably the core purpose behind undertaking process improvements.

But where did this philosophy of process improvement come from?

One key person is William Edwards Deming – sometimes referred to as Edward W. Deming. He’s principally a statistician, but one could even call him a philosopher of science.

Deming’s goal was to reapply the scientific method to business processes, and has left us with two main variants of his thinking: PDSA and PDCA.

In this article we’ll outline:

Deming’s approach is not just about improving processes, but about improving a whole business.

In a recent meta-study from the British Medical Journal, researchers found only 2 out of 73 studies had applied PDSA in a way which fully met criteria. Commenting:

To progress the development of the science of improvement, a greater understanding of the use of improvement methods, including PDSA, is essential to draw reliable conclusions about their effectiveness.

And that’s why we’re writing this article!

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What is SIPOC? How to Create a SIPOC Diagram (Free SIPOC Template)

What is SIPOC How to Create a SIPOC Diagram (Free SIPOC Template)

Do you know what SIPOC stands for?

Go on, have a guess…

To clarify, SIPOC is an acronym for Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, and Customers.

The SIPOC methodology acts as a tool to identify the inputs and outputs of target business processes, to determine the process owner, customers, suppliers, and to establish clear boundaries for the process.

Numerous case studies have shown the utilization of SIPOC to give substantial process improvements. For this reason, we at Process Street present you with this ultimate SIPOC guide, explaining the what, why, and how of SIPOC, with free templates to help 👊you👌 get started.

Click on the relevant subheaders below to jump to that section, alternatively scroll down to read all we at Process Street have to say regarding SIPOC.

Alternatively, if you want to skip all of the info and get straight to the free SIPOC Template, you can check it out below.

Let’s get started!
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How to Write a Procedure: 13 Steps to Eclipse Your Competition

how to write a procedure - header

Knowing how to write a procedure is a key skill for anyone looking to build a successful business. Procedures are vital to consistent success for many of the same reasons that processes are important – they let you reliably repeat your successes, isolate and correct your mistakes, and create a business model that lets you scale your operations.

If you don’t know how to write a procedure then you’re dead in the water. Get it right, and the resulting efficiency boosts can put you on track to eclipse your competitors.

This Process Street post will cover the following topics to help you write effective procedures:

Read on to learn the 13 steps to writing your business’ procedures effectively, in a way that they will actually be followed instead of getting read once and then forgotten.

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