Six Sigma Innovation and Design

Six Sigma Innovation and Design

Rick Edgeman (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5202-6.ch197
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Introduction

Six Sigma Innovation and Design theory, strategy and supporting methods have evolved along two primary pathways, A third path, referred to as Lean Six Sigma, has more recently emerged from integration of Six Sigma approaches with lean enterprise and manufacturing methods that leverage synergies between the two approaches (Bossert, 2003). The origin of Six Sigma theory and approaches at the end of the 1970s is ordinarily assigned to Motorola Corporation, but it is GE and its former CEO, Jack Welch, with which Six Sigma is most commonly associated. Its use in its many forms has proliferated due in large to its acknowledged contribution of multiple billions of dollars to the economic performance of many firms.

Six Sigma innovation applications typically seek to deliver significant stakeholder-driven improvements in key products, processes, systems or the enterprise itself using key levers of change that are referred to as critical to quality (CTQ) characteristics. The innovation algorithm applied in such applications is referred to as DMAIC and is a simple, yet logical scheme that demands the project in question to be carefully defined (D), with definition followed by measurement (M), analysis (A), improvement (I), and control (C) phases.

Six Sigma design projects may employ any from among a number of similar Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) algorithms with the most commonly applied one being DMADV, an acronym for Define-Measure-Analyze-Design-Verify (Edgeman, 2011a) and while there are many similarities between DMAIC and DMADV, there are also key differences, including in the specific definitions of Define, Measure and Analyze in the two algorithms (Cronemyr, 2007). DFSS applications differ from Six Sigma Innovation ones in that they are mostly commonly used in development of new products, processes or systems or in cases where existing ones are so seriously flawed, or so seriously disadvantaged in comparison to competing ones that “ground up” design provides the preferred path.

Lean Six Sigma methods derive from integration of Six Sigma with lean methods traceable to the Toyota Production System (TPS) that in their modern manifestation are commonly attributed to Taiichi Ohno (1988). Lean methodology fundamentally focuses on waste elimination so that the union of lean with Six Sigma takes simultaneous aim at both cost savings and value creation that contributes to organizational resilience and robustness (Edgeman, in press).

Whether a specific project is a Six Sigma Innovation one, calls for Design for Six Sigma, or requires application of Lean Six Sigma methodology, each project demands clear performance measure definition and expectations with performance measures representing either direct or surrogate CTQ indicators. Additionally, Six Sigma is ordinarily associated with “near perfect performance” that is often cited as “3.4 defects per million opportunities for a defect” (Montgomery & Woodall, 2008). Such performance levels are often aggressively and strategically pursued through use of response surface methodology (RSM), evolutionary operations (EVOP), or other optimization techniques (Myers, Montgomery, & Anderson-Cook, 2009) supported by such frequently used statistical software packages as Minitab or SAS.

Six Sigma Innovation, and Design for Six Sigma are discussed, with lesser attention dedicated to the related, but somewhat divergent topic of Lean Enterprise / Lean Six Sigma methods. Related topics addressed include distinctions between the COPIS approach to conception of business processes prior to their SIPOC implementation and execution (Edgeman, 2011b); commonly used supporting tools and techniques such as the Kano Needs Model and Quality Function Deployment or QFD (Tan & Shen, 2010); and product, process and system concept generation and selection.

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Background

Of many competing Six Sigma definitions, the following, adapted from Klefsjö, Bergquist and Edgeman (2006), is herein employed:

Six Sigma provides highly structured innovation, design, and lean enterprise strategies and methods for acquiring, assessing, and activating customer, competitor, and enterprise intelligence to deliver superior product, process, system, or enterprise performance leading to best and next best practices and sources of sustainable competitive advantage.

Key Terms in this Chapter

DMADV: The Define-Measure-Analyze-Design-Verify algorithm used in design for six sigma approaches to product, process, and system designs.

Lean Six Sigma: An approach to product, process and system improvement and design that integrates lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, and six sigma methods.

Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ): TRIZ is based on 40 inventive principles that may be applied in design, developing and deploying significant product and process improvements and innovation.

Critical to Quality (CTQ): Traits or factors that are critical to fulfillment of customer or other stakeholder needs are key levers in the delivery of value through process, product, system or enterprise designs or innovations are referred to as Critical to Quality characteristics, or CTQs.

Six Sigma: A set of highly structured innovation, design, and lean enterprise strategies and methods for acquiring, assessing, and activating customer, competitor, and enterprise intelligence to deliver superior product, process, system, or enterprise performance leading to best and next best practices and sources of sustainable competitive advantage.

Value Stream / Value Chain: A value stream is a sequence of activities needed to design, produce and provide a specific service and along which information, material and value flow. A value chain is a set of linked activities that transform inputs into outputs that in turn add to at least one of the ecological, societal or economic bottom lines and help create competitive advantages. Linked to six sigma and lean methodologies the goal is to create sustainable competitive advantages.

DMAIC: The Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control approach used in six sigma projects aimed at significant innovation in and improvement of existing processes, products and systems.

Kano Needs Model: Derivation of successful results from use of six sigma and lean methods relies on careful elaboration of stakeholder needs. The Kano model differentiates such needs into three categories: dissatisfiers, satisfiers, and delighters.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD): An enterprise culture characteristic wherein innovation is regular, systematic, and systemic to enterprise strategy, activities, and results.

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