Six Sigma Tools

A number of tools are available to help run a successful Six Sigma project. Many of them have been around for a while and pre-date the ‘invention’ of Six Sigma. They can be used on the own, as well as part of a Six-Sigma project (and often are). These tools include:

  • Process Mapping
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • SIPOC Analysis
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Cause and Effect Analysis
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Pareto Analysis
  • Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Control Plans

Process Mapping

The process map or flowchart is a graphical tool for understanding an existing process or representing a new process. It represents the steps or tasks in a process, their logical relationships and the inputs and outputs for each step or task.

Value Stream Mapping

A value stream map is similar to a process map, but it tends to be done at a higher level, i.e. fewer steps and also show the information flow. It enables one to see at a glance where there are delays in the process, any restraints and excessive inventory. Therefore it is a lean tool for helping to identify waste.

Cost Benefit Analysis

This analyses the costs of something, e.g. doing a project and the likely benefits and compares the two to determine if the project is worth doing.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis is a technique you can use to identify and assess the key people, groups, or organizations that may significantly influence your project either positively or negatively and plan strategies to win them over.

SIPOC Analysis

SIPOC is an acronym for Suppliers-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Customers. SIPOC represents the “Suppliers” of a system that provide “Input” into the “Process” which produces “Output” to “Customers.” The SIPOC Diagram is used to describe and bound the process under investigation and improvement.

Statistical Process Control (SPC)

SPC is a method of determining whether a process is under control or not. It uses a statistical analysis based on control charts to do this. It is particularly used in mass production manufacturing processes.

Cause and Effects Analysis

The cause and effect or ‘fishbone’ diagram invented by Kaoru Ishikawa (hence also called an Ishikawa diagram) illustrates the main causes and sub-causes that are believed to lead to the effect (symptom) being studied.

Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a structured step by step technique for finding the underlying or “root” cause of a problem or undesirable outcome so that the root cause can be solved or prevented rather than continuing to deal with the symptoms. The goal of a Root Cause Analysis is to find out:

  • What happened
  • Why did it happen
  • How can it be prevented from happening again

Pareto Analysis

Pareto analysis is an analysis/diagramming technique that uses frequency of occurrence to identify and display results generated by each identified cause. This analysis is commonly used to decide where to apply initial effort for maximum effect.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

QFD is a way of determining what is important to the customer and then turning this information into engineering specifications and following through into the manufacturing steps . See more here.

Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA)

An FMEA is a form of risk analysis. It identifies potential failures in a design or a process and assesses the severity of the effect, the likelihood of occurrence and the possibility of detecting the failure before it can do harm. See more here.

Control Plans

Control plans are part of a quality control regime. They show how a particular aspect of a process is controlled and the steps to take if a problem arises.

For further information, please contact us, and we will do our best to help.