DMAIC AND BASIC STATISTICS
In the first lesson, you’ll start off by investigating DMAIC, the most popular acronym within the Six Sigma body of knowledge. It stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. Then, to set the stage for the remaining lessons, you’ll explore basic statistics. Since many of the Six Sigma methods and tools that will be discussed require that you have a basic knowledge of statistics, you’ll need to be well-prepared. The lesson will show you how to apply the measures of location—median, mode, mean—and the measures of dispersion—range, mean absolute deviation (MAD), variance, and standard deviation (SD).
SIX SIGMA: THE BUSINESS CASE
In this lesson, you’ll take a look at the business side of Six Sigma. The lesson will start off by discussing strategic planning—a concept that looks at internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. You’ll move on to two methods of identifying customer requirements—the voice of the customer (VOC) and quality function deployment (QFD). Next, you’ll explore benchmarking, a technique that helps you determine how your company matches up to the competition and industry standards. Finally, you’ll look at a few financial methods to help you keep track of key objectives.
DEFINE: THE D OF DMAIC
You can’t improve something unless you first define it. To help identify what you’re dealing with, you’ll begin this lesson by reviewing the first element of the DMAIC model: define. You’ll move on and learn about the basic Six Sigma metrics—defects per unit (DPU), defects per million opportunities (DPMO), yield, and rolled throughput yield (RTY). Next, you’ll investigate a few team techniques to help define conditions and situations—brainstorming, brainwriting, nominal group technique (NGT), and affinity diagrams. You’ll finish up by seeing how Pareto charts and critical to quality (CTQ) relate to process and problem definition.
MEASURE PART I: THE M OF DMAIC
The next two lessons will tackle the measuring aspect of DMAIC. Along with defining a process, problem, or opportunity, you’ll need to measure things before you can improve them. You’ll learn about different types of data and gain an understanding of sampling by seeing how it’s used to analyze and observe populations. You’ll conclude the lesson by examining three graphical methods to measure a population: histograms, stem and leaf diagrams, and box and whisker plots.
MEASURE PART II: THE M OF DMAIC
As you continue to learn about the measure component of DMAIC, you’ll begin this lesson by looking at probability distributions, failure methods and effects analysis (FMEA), and physical measurement. The probability distributions that you’ll review (binomial, Poisson, and chi-square) are discrete. You’ll study their formulas and see how their distributions compare to the normal curve. FMEA is one of the most popular and effective Six Sigma tools. This lesson will help you learn about FMEA’s risk priority numbers (RPN) and also provide a form to help you use FMEA. You’ll wrap up the lesson by examining a few members of the physical measurement family—metrology, tensile strength, micrometers, and optical comparators.
ANALYZE PART I: THE A OF DMAIC
This lesson will present several tools that relate to the third component of DMAIC: analyze. The first order of business will be learning how to make sound decisions and assess risk. After that, you’ll look at tools to help you investigate the processes, problems, and opportunities you defined and measured in the earlier lessons. The lesson will teach you how to use regression analyses and cause and effect diagrams. You’ll also spend time on force field analysis, storyboards, decision trees, why-why diagrams, and finish up with checksheets and scatter diagrams.
ANALYZE PART II: THE A OF DMAIC
Are you familiar with the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Since you’re going to be spending a large portion of the lesson learning about flowcharting, this quotation is very relevant. Flowcharts are a fine tool to define processes and analyze what’s taking place. You’ll look at the ins and outs and the subtleties of creating and using flowcharts. After that, you’ll jump back into the world of statistics and examine hypothesis testing and analysis of variance (ANOVA).
PROJECT MANAGEMENT PHASES
This lesson and the next one will discuss project management as an essential vehicle to help you achieve your Six Sigma plans. The lesson will begin by discussing the different phases of the project life cycle. Then, you’ll move on and examine deliverables. Since they represent what customers expect, you need to know how to create and manage them. The lesson will also define stakeholders and talk about what they expect. It will put special emphasis on the words “customers” and “stakeholders” to represent those inside and outside your organization.
PROJECT DEFINITION AND SCHEDULING
Now that you have a good understanding of the different phases of a project and know all about deliverables, you’re ready to learn how to “scope” and schedule a project. Scoping refers to making sure that you set the original boundaries for your project. When you understand all the variables of your project and define the scope properly, your plan and the results that follow have a much better chance of meeting stakeholder expectations. This lesson will talk about what is arguably the most valuable item in your project management toolbox—a work breakdown structure (WBS). It will discuss two different versions of WBS and then you’ll look at ways to schedule your project.
IMPROVE: THE I OF DMAIC
If you like playing games and solving puzzles, you’ll enjoy this lesson. It will address the “I element” (improve) of DMAIC by introducing design of experiments (DOE). Although DOE has been around since the 1920s, it’s taken a while for organizations to accept it. The lesson will begin with an overview and discuss what a design and an experiment are. You’ll learn about the history of DOE and its nature. Afterwards, the lesson will identify the principles of sound experimental design and help you work on three DOE problems: one factor at a time (OFAT), full factorial, and fractional factorial DOE.
CONTROL: THE C OF DMAIC
This lesson will finish the examination of DMAIC by featuring the final letter—C for control. You’ll learn about three different tools to help you control your operations: run charts, control charts, and process capability. The lesson will discuss how to create run charts, give an overview of control charts, and show you how to create two different types of control charts. It will wrap things up by showing you how to use process capability.
You’ve just about completed all course requirements except for learning how to think lean—which is the topic of this lesson. Lean thinking means doing more with less. This is one way that companies succeed: providing more satisfaction and more quality with less effort and less frustration. Your focus on lean thinking will consist of eliminating waste, reducing lead time, and minimizing the impact of constraints.