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Three Rules for Data Analysis: Plot the Data, Plot the Data, Plot the Data

The job of purchasing is obviously to source for reliable suppliers who deliver products conforming to specification on time within a certain price range. The more data is available about potential suppliers the better the decision will be. However, how shall the data be analysed?
FridgeMaker used to get supplies of a very crucial part, the Spacer, from Supplier X. Unfortunately, over the last months Supplier X has been struggling with waves of reorganisation resulting in unreliable deliveries and hence line stoppages for FridgeMaker.

Table 1: Supplier Qualification Data for Spacer (USL=10.8, LSL=10.2)

FridgeMaker is looking for new suppliers for all parts coming from Supplier X. Purchasing has already started the supplier qualification process for the Spacer (10.5 +/-0.3) and has received parts from suppliers A, B and C. The data are shown here. Following this data purchasing can make their decision on price. All of the suppliers meet the requirements set out in the tender document.   

What to Do With Special Causes?

“Don’t use Six Sigma to tackle special cause variation!”

is one of the common phrases being repeated by Lean Six Sigma coaches and a very important recommendation for the management, too.
The Six Sigma methodology is indeed targeting variation that is an inherent part of the process – common cause variation that has been expected and tolerated due to its unknown and supposedly complex root causes. Understanding this variation and analysing the real root causes before implementing improvements is a fundamental pillar of the methodology and driver for its success.

Take Care of Your Talent – Develop your Belt

Against the common belief, statistical knowledge is not a criterion for selecting your Belts. However, the capability to acquire new technical skills, to apply these skills successfully is an important prerequisite. More important is the aptitude to involve, motivate, coach and train people, to lead and manage teams towards delivering results and to communicate effectively with different levels in the organisation.
A study by iSixSigma Magazine about the importance of different skills and characteristics for a successful Black Belt (“The Hard Truth About Soft Skills,” January/February 2008) was showing that Communication Skills is by far the most important requirement. Leadership Skills came in second and Technical Skills third. The question for the importance of Soft Skills for different roles in the Six Sigma deployment was answered by 72% for Green Belts and 99% for Black Belts with important or very important (5-point scale). Soft Skills include Communication, Collaboration, Team Leadership, Change Management, Time Management as most important to the success of the Belt.   Continue reading →

Leaders in The Driver’s Seat

In times like this, every penny counts. So, how do we ensure we get the most out of our learning & development dollars spent? Many studies prove what practitioners have known for long: formal training programmes do not deliver the promised ROI – especially when the so-called ‘soft skills’ are concerned. We must find a way to craft a learning experience for our leaders that will really make a change.
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BPR Case Study: Preparation for ERP Purchase & Implementation

An Australian construction equipment rental & leasing firm had decided to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning system in 12 months. During this 12 month period there was an expectation that all front-end services including Sales, Customer Service, Receivables, Payables, would be re-designed to achieve streamlining and simplification prior to ERP implementation.

Operations spanned 18 cities across Australia with many more small ‘re-sellers’ located in the Australian interior or ‘outback’ as it is locally known. Compounding a normal organisational and operational setup was the fact that this firm grew a substantial portion of its business through the acquisition route thus effectively incorporating myriad systems and practices. There were 5 Receivables systems, 4 Payables systems and a decentralized customer service database (more than 200 input platforms) which needed to be tied together to make the ERP implementation work.
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SMED Case Study: Steel Tools Manufacturer

After a Lean programme for inventory was instituted the production facility struggled with getting a good product mix out to the finished goods inventory due to relatively long change-over times for cutting dies. Steel tool (final product) cutting dies need to be replaced after every 4 Kanban batch runs of 225 pieces each.

This frequent changeover, occurring once every hour of work is necessary to maintain and re-sharpen the cutting die’s cutting edges. Current changeover time for the cutting die was approximately 60 minutes and included the use of a single 10 ton forklift though the die weight was 5 tons. Nearly 50% of a working day was ‘wasted’ on changeovers not including the impact of the ‘inability’ to achieve a high vol-ume of product mix for agility to meet with product demand requirements of a Lean pro-gramme.
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Leadership Development Case Study

Our client, a leading world authority in microelectronics development and research, appointed a senior research fellow to head its entire research and development division. Could the company’s top scientist and academic researcher, who had never managed a staff of more than twenty, make the transition to effectively manage hundreds of people in his division?
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Team Effectiveness Development Case Study

Our client, a US-based IT manufacturing MNC, needed to align the efforts of its seven separate IT divisions and help division leaders think of themselves as part of one culture – one body – one department. Until this point, each leader and unit had been functioning as a separate department. The firm called on COE to help with team effectiveness development.
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People Development – The Smart Way

A couple of years ago, I was meeting the President of an Asian multi-national mid-sized service company for a Six Sigma Training on Saipan, a nice sunny pacific island south-east of Japan. Together with a colleague we were sitting at the beach, wearing swimming suits and preparing the next days session whilst getting sun-tanned. When the President arrived – he was in shorts and ugly slippers! – we had a casual briefing for the Leadership Team session and the Staff Awareness Sessions we were about to run during that week.

Measure The Success of Your Journey – A Lean Six Sigma Meter

Some well-known companies have been “doing Six Sigma” for years. They keep doing improvement projects in all kinds of business and support processes, rolling it out in Sales and R&D. They are extending the application of Six Sigma to the entire value chain – suppliers and customers – in their drive for sustained performance improvement. They are successful in building the Six Sigma principles into their daily business life and using this powerful approach as a vehicle to drive cultural change.

Other companies pilot improvement initiatives like Six Sigma by running a couple of improvement projects, then recognise that the journey toward improved business results will be a long and difficult one that requires a turn-around in the mindset of managers. A post-mortem analysis of a failed Six Sigma effort usually points to the lack of management commitment and lack of attention to the business and cultural investment needed to reach and sustain new levels of performance. What practical steps can be taken to maintain the focus and drive needed to reap the full benefits that Six Sigma offers?

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Six Sigma – Show Me The Money

Globalisation and instant access to information, products and services continue to change the way our customers conduct business.
Today’s competitive environment leaves no room for error. We must delight our customers and relentlessly look for new ways to exceed their expectations. This is why Six Sigma Quality has become a part of our culture. Jack Welch, GE

What is Six Sigma?

First, what it is not. It is not a secret society, a slogan or a cliche. Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps all kinds of companies focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

Managing Conflict in Team Meetings

In the course of meetings, be it Six Sigma project team meetings or management meetings, conflict is inevitable; it is cited as one of the main reasons people dislike working in teams. Team players should find a way to manage conflict since teamwork is a key to success. Team leaders must understand that when two or more people meet, the stage is set for a potential conflict. As such, preparation is essential. Problems can be solved if these are anticipated. If a problem does happen, the result may be positive or negative depending on our approach.
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Six Sigma in Financial Services

Background

OurBank is an American international bank with 50 branches in Germany and approximately 300 employees working either in the headquarter office or in one of the branches.
In 2003, the senior management of OurBank decided to adopt and implement Six Sigma as their business management tool across all business units in the Europe region.
According to the OurBank business strategy, the car loan business was identified as one of the business priorities in the next 12 months. The strategy was to significantly grow the car loan business market share within the region in two years time, by 100% in the first year, and by another 70% in the second year.

HR Optimisation and Re-Engineering

Today, organisations must change their priorities from a traditional focus on planning and control to emphasising speed, innovation, flexibility, quality, service and cost. The HR team has to demonstrate their commitment to meet these key business drivers.

A major problem confronting HR managers today is to increase line management and employee productivity, provide higher more value-adding levels of HR service and internal customer responsiveness and at the same time reduce costs. What is needed is an HR team that is customer-focused and market-driven in its external relations with customer and process-focused and team-oriented in its internal operations.

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