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  Statistical Techniques and 6 Sigma
  Six Sigma vs. SPC

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Author Topic:   Six Sigma vs. SPC
Greg Mack
Forum Contributor

Posts: 37
From:Sydney, NSW, Australia
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 09 February 2001 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greg Mack   Click Here to Email Greg Mack     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi everyone,
I have been reading and learning about six sigma all over the place. Many years ago, I learnt about SPC and the concepts and tools behind it and have used it extensively in my previous employment. Back then, we targeted a cpk of 1.33.
I know that a cpk of 2 is equal to 6 sigma, so therefore, using the "old" SPC approach, if I set goals in my company to achieve 6 sigma through this approach, how is that different from the "new" 6 Sigma methodologies?
This topic has been very frustrating to learn about, as everyone wants to talk about the two, but to me they seem one in the same. It is like "Six Sigma" is the new buzz word for some very old, tried and true methodologies. I would really appreciate someone explaining the difference to me, or providing their own opinions. Thanks for your time.

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Al Dyer
Forum Wizard

Posts: 622
From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 09 February 2001 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MHO,

I've been through the training, read the books and consider six sigma a new method for people (consultants/trainers etc...) to make (take) money. What will they think of next when they run out of six sigma customers?

If there is a well defined project management process (based on continuous improvement and preventive action) in place, with total management buy-in, there is no need allocate all those resources and change the direction of a company.

Let's stick to (and improve) the plan and keep it simple!

In my cynical opinion.

ASD...

Posted before

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Rick Goodson
Forum Wizard

Posts: 102
From:Wuakesha, Wisconsin, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12 February 2001 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Goodson   Click Here to Email Rick Goodson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al,

As usual you have a gift for understatement. Maybe the next 'thing' is the same customers at nine sigma. I wish it had been my luck to think up this money making scheme.

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Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 12 February 2001 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al,

Well said. Honestly, the principles that we follow aren't difficult to understand, just difficult to apply. It takes commitment!

Regards,

Kevin

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Al Dyer
Forum Wizard

Posts: 622
From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 12 February 2001 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kevin,

I agree, application is the hard part and goes along with determination. It does not only apply to work but to everyday life as well. (so much for my pontification)

ASD...

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Greg Mack
Forum Contributor

Posts: 37
From:Sydney, NSW, Australia
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 23 April 2001 01:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greg Mack   Click Here to Email Greg Mack     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What about others? What do you think?

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Ken K.
unregistered
posted 24 April 2001 08:47 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with most everything mentioned so far. The tools/methods are relatively simple. The execution and acceptance is hard.

Many tend to think of SPC as being primarily for control of industrial processes, but of course it can be applied to just about any process. Also some limit SPC to assessment and control of those processes - not the continous improvement of the processes.

The Six Sigma idea is one of continuous improvement, driven by top management, in ALL areas of your business, not just the product or process that make the product. The idea is to identify areas of the business that need improvement, and use the broad array of "Six Sigma" tools/methods to facilitate/ quantify/maintain those improvments.

If you're using the broadest definition of SPC, then by all means I agree that there is not much new in the land of Six Sigma.

Probably the biggest difference is the idea that SPC is typically a bottom up activity, whereas, Six Sigma tends to be a top down activity. Six Sigma tends to have the direct attention of top level management - SPC typically doesn't.

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AJLenarz
Forum Contributor

Posts: 25
From:Princeton, IN, USA
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 24 April 2001 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJLenarz   Click Here to Email AJLenarz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Al Dyer:
If there is a well defined project management process (based on continuous improvement and preventive action) in place, with total management buy-in, there is no need allocate all those resources and change the direction of a company.

Let's stick to (and improve) the plan and keep it simple!


Amen.

In my opinion, I view six sigma philosophy a „reactiveš quality measure. If it was done right the first time (ie well defined project management process), there would be no need for a six sigma improvement „task forceš.

I could only wish that companies would spend half the effort on implementing programs correctly to begin with as they do with spending time putting out fires (with six sigma) on poorly implemented programs.

I don‚t deny that six sigma works and is effective. In the same token, six sigma isn‚t new. It is the same old quality practices neatly presented in a new wrapper that says „NEW AND IMPROVEDš. But in my observations, most companies that are choosing to jump on the in six sigma bandwagon need to put out fires, improve quality and raise the bottom line. In my opinion, six sigma is only part of the solution, the quality systems that allowed the company get into that position to begin with needs to go under the spotlight.

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Steven Truchon
Forum Contributor

Posts: 89
From:Fort Lauderdale, FL USA
Registered: Jul 2000

posted 25 April 2001 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steven Truchon   Click Here to Email Steven Truchon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a slightly different perspective here.

I agree with all that you all have stated in this thread. Six Sigma is yet another name on the same box of cereal.
Our company was "forced" into the Six Sigma arena because one of our primary customers demanded certain cost reductions from all of their suppliers. The statistical tools they provided in the training they supplied has enabled us to isolate production inefficiencies in our processes which when improved has led to cost reductions. They got their percentage cut, and we ended up making more profit. We didnt approach this from a reaction to quality angle, although our PPM's dropped as a result too. Our quality was acceptable by our customers and our standards, but the process efficiency improvements were something I have never read or heard about in any conversation related to Six Sigma or any other "package name".

Regards,
Steve

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David5657
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 2
From:Ashland
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 27 April 2001 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David5657   Click Here to Email David5657     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I beleive 6 Sigma is SPC with a Project Management structure applied to it. (Some companies add a large Hammer) I attended one 6 Sigma conference and came away with the opinion that the consultants are feeding at the trough. Each presenter had their own acronym for the same process. We have been trying to change the culture in our company with Deming 'consultants'that gave us little more than a cheer and a big bill. We've started using Jay Arthur's Six Sigma simplified and QI Macros. So far the responce is great and the people love the QI macros. For $800 we got what would have cost us $35,000 to $140,000. If we empower each employee with the manual and software it will total out at $62,500.

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GaryC
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 6
From:Homestead, FL, USA
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 30 April 2001 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GaryC   Click Here to Email GaryC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Keep kidding yourselves guys.

Why don't you tell us about the lack of waste in your places of work when you tell us your philosophies. A good Black Belt will take care of issues you are blind to.

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KAM
unregistered
posted 02 May 2001 05:17 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm involved in a Six Sigma program within my company and have a pretty good knowledge of SPC, so here are my $0.02...

The two main differences in a the *application* of Six Sigma versus the *application* of SPC are, as I see them:

1). $$$$$ - Six Sigma programs usually teach you to put some cost of poor quality behind your problem. I've seen this make an enormous difference when getting resources, involvement, commitment, and/or attention form management. This may sound shallow, but attaching dollars to a problem and its solution will enable you to get things done with statistical methods than not using this metric. Previously, I felt like getting people to use data to solve problems was a crusade. Now they tend to listen better.

2). Yes, it's absolutely true that every tool in Six Sigma has originated somewhere else. However, the difference is a having a roadmap to solving problems. The Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control sequence will succeed for many cases where jumping in and „fixing thingsš will not. For example, we always understood Gage R&R studies, but now we really understand the need for them before gathering data and making decisions. Also, mapping the process was always overlooked here. Now, it weeds out the easy problems. It sounds stupid, but sometimes people need guidance on the big picture.

#2 is why I emphasized application previously. I see Six Sigma as more than a collection of methods we‚ve already heard about.

My analogy is to baseball. You can know how to hit or catch, but you won‚t get far without strategy.

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Al Dyer
Forum Wizard

Posts: 622
From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02 May 2001 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GaryC:
Keep kidding yourselves guys.

Why don't you tell us about the lack of waste in your places of work when you tell us your philosophies. A good Black Belt will take care of issues you are blind to.


GaryC,

Sorry I left that info out of my post.

In our case:

We have been in business for 1 Year, we supply one of the big three, we have a good management structure that buys in to project management and prevention activities, are profitable, and have given back costs of 4.5% to our customer.

External PPM = 0
Internal Scrap = 0.068%, mostly set-up scrap. (Benchmarked Standard is 5-6%)
External Corrective Action Requests = 0

All without 6 sigma.

ASD...

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