All posts containing six sigma


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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How to Do VRIO Properly (With Our Free VRIO Analysis Checklist!)

VRIO Analysis

Cutthroat. Ruthless. Dog-eat-dog.

No, I’m not introducing this year’s hottest action movie – I’m talking about the world of business.

Nowadays, it’s quicker and easier than ever to get a business up and running. Hell, with the emergence of low code and no-code platforms, it’s not just quick and easy but downright simple.

But only 3 out of 4 companies featured in the S&P 500 list will still be relevant – and even exist – in 2027.

With this stark realization, how do startup hopefuls and the Fortune 500 alike know if they’ve got the resources and capabilities to not only stay in the game for the long-haul, but have an overall competitive advantage?

VRIO.

I last discussed VRIO in my post What is VRIO? The 4-Step Framework for Continuous Business Success, where I laid the foundation for understanding what VRIO is, where it came from, and how to navigate the framework.

However, in this post, I’ll be taking things one step further.

I’ll recap what VRIO is (handy for those who don’t already know!), discuss the specific benefits of VRIO analysis, and even provide you with a free VRIO analysis checklist – made by us here at Process Street!

Just read through the following sections to get started:

The clock’s ticking, so let’s jump in! ⏱

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8D Chess: How to Use The 8 Disciplines for Problem Solving

8d

Hospitals have developed something of a reputation for being rife with bad processes. When processes aren’t adequate, the result is an abundance of “workarounds”.

For example, when equipment or supplies are missing, a nurse might waste time running around searching for what is needed, and once the item is found, return to their previous duties.

One study indicates that nurses spend 33 minutes of a 7.5-hour shift completing workarounds that are not part of their job description.

This may well “put out the fire” so-to-speak, but really it is just a hastily applied band-aid that does nothing to treat the root cause of the problem.

More time is wasted and more problems will arise in the future because nothing has been done to prevent the initial problem from happening again.

Individual nurses are not at fault here; workplace culture often values expertise in the form of those who “get the job done”, which tends to pull against the notion of spending time building good processes (time in which the job is perhaps not “getting done”).

So how to approach the problem of problem solving?

In a lean context, problem solving can be distilled into two simple questions:

  • What is the problem and how did it happen?
  • How can we make sure that it doesn’t happen again?

The 8D, or eight disciplines methodology, is a problem solving process – most likely one of the most widely used problem solving processes out there. It is used by many different countries, in many different industries, and many different organizations.

8D is designed to help you put out those fires, and make sure they don’t happen again.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to the 8D problem solving methodology and provide you with an outline of the basic process that you can hopefully apply in your own business, plus how you can enhance 8D with other tools and methodologies like Six Sigma, FMEA, and Process Street.

Here’s what I hope you’ll take away after reading:

Let’s begin with the origins of 8D – what is it, and where did it come from? Continue Reading

Gap Analysis: How to Bridge the Gap Between Performance and Potential

Gap Analysis How to Bridge the Gap Between Performance and Potential

If you want to grow your business, you need to know how to allocate your resources to make it happen. How do you figure out the steps you need to take, or the processes you need to implement to make it happen?

You conduct a gap analysis.

Simply put, the gap analysis is a tool designed to help you understand where you are, and what you need to do in order to get to where you want to be.

In this article, I’ll be breaking down the basics and running through a process for getting started with performing your first gap analysis.

Here’s what this Process Street article has in store:

  • What is a gap analysis? In simple terms
  • Common use cases for gap analysis
  • Different types of gap analysis
  • The gap analysis process
  • Gap analysis tools
  • How to streamline the gap analysis process

Let’s get started.

What is a gap analysis?

gap analysis graph

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Business Process Optimization: What, How, Why? (Free Templates)

process optimizationAt Process Street, we’re all about processes: creating, implementing, analyzing, mapping, improving, and automating.

There are a lot of layers to processes and it’s easy to get caught up in the complexities.

But really, it’s quite simple.

You need to document your workflow and then follow it, making improvements where necessary over time; continuous improvement.

All of this can be summed up by the concept of process optimization.

In this Process Street article, we’ll give you a quick actionable overview of how to optimize your processes with some tips and tricks of what to look for and how to do it.

We’ll cover:

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Prioritization Matrix 101: What, How & Why? (Free Template)

priority matrix

As humans, we tend to focus more on the things we need to do than the things we’ve already done. This so-called “Zeigarnik effect”, named after Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, means our minds are often swimming with all of the tasks, responsibilities, and mental notes that we think we should be focusing on.

All of these tasks and projects that need doing, this mental to-do list, without a clear hierarchy of importance can make it difficult for us to stay focused and actually get things done.

One way to combat all of this Zeigarnik noise is to note down everything. Make an actual to-do list. Studies have been done, and it has been shown that the very act of noting down tasks can quite simply “make you more effective”.

But, even with a to-do list, before you actually get anything done it’s necessary to have a clear idea of your priorities.

Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, figuring out what to prioritize can be hard. It’s a complicated process that involves weighing up cost against value, effort against time, and for a lot of businesses, will likely involve many different stakeholders.

The solution is to work out a process for determining what to prioritize.

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What is Quality Management? The Definitive QMS Guide (Free ISO 9001 Template)

QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Deepwater Horizon – arguably one of the most catastrophic industrial disasters of human history, and the estimated largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

It also happens to be one of the most abysmal failures of quality management by any company, period.

On an otherwise unsuspecting evening of April, 2010, approximately 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, the first in a chain of quality management related failures became glaringly apparent as the emergency response protocols were enforced after an oil leak in the drilling well was discovered.

The oversights were as follows:

  • Lack of proper quality assessment resulted in weak, potentially contaminated cement or “drilling mud” used in the initial failsafe failing to properly block the leak.
  • Fluid pressure tests were not properly carried out and clear warnings were ignored.
  • Rising oil and gas levels were not properly monitored.
  • The final failsafe on the ocean floor, designed to close the leaking pipe shut, failed to close due to the conditions of the drill pipe.

The aftermath of this chain of negligence left 11 people dead, caused over 130 million gallons of oil to leak into the Atlantic Ocean, and cost over $62 billion in damages.

Not one point of failure, but four. Clearly not an anomaly, this disaster was the result of a series of systematic failures that uncover a dark truth about the reality of cost-cutting and disregard for quality control.

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