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Discover 9 critical factors to help Six Sigma deliver the money.

Is all the money you are spending on Six Sigma really improving the bottom line? The consultants say yes. But the managers we’ve spoken to, see too many projects that fall short of that finish line, even though projections indicated otherwise.

1. Find the projects with the greatest overall return

One of the greatest complaints we hear from senior managers is “projects are successfully completed, but I’m not seeing a significant change to the bottom line.” That’s because in the define stage of DMAIC Six Sigma experts don’t have enough information to quantify the benefits with “this is the return that you will get out of this project.” They are predicting a bottom line financial benefit without truly understanding how the process behaves, let alone how it would behave after the change. Without seeing the big picture you may complete a successful six sigma project and see no impact in dollars to your company. There is a better way. With ProcessModel you create a simple simulated model of the process. You will visually see which projects will affect the total output and which will sub-optimize the system.

2. Overall interdependencies in processes

The standard Six Sigma toolbox has no way of showing the interdependencies between one area of the process and another. In complex processes there are interdependencies between when things happen that cause delays, bottlenecks, variability etc. If you can’t show the interdependencies, understanding the system is difficult. If you can’t understand the system, changing the system is risky. A simulated model shows those interdependencies, which allows you to uncover changes that will affect the overall system.

3. Risk free experimentation

Experiments in real life are costly and can have enormous negative impact on the system. If you are experimenting on a simulated model of the system, the only cost is setting up the experiment and reviewing the results. There are no negative impacts to system output or to the morale of the workforce in trying new process experiments. You try experiments and if it doesn’t work you will know why, all the while gathering more information about system behavior – without any disruption to the real system.

4. Reduced experimentation time

Run hundreds of experiments a day rather than hundreds of days per experiment. Many processes have a cycle time of weeks or even months. Running enough replications of an experiment to validate the results can be overwhelming. With a simulated model, you set up as many experiments as you want and the computer runs experiments while you do other tasks.

5. Optimize

Design of experiments was invented to quantify the relationship between factors (Xs) affecting a process and the output of that process (Y). Usually a high and low setting is determined for each parameter. The problem is that many business processes involve changing the number of people (not 1 or 2 but between 15 to 20) in several departments. Design of experiments wasn’t designed to handle large numbers of parameters that could change at many levels. ProcessModel has an optimization capability that allows you to specify a target. ProcessModel then hunts for the best settings of the parameters to meet that target output. ProcessModel has an evolutionary optimization algorithm that allows strong solutions to be built on, and weak solutions to die. No design of experiments, yet you get the optimal result and you can do something else while ProcessModel hunts for the best solution -- like eat dinner, and spend time with your family! Finally we can use the computer for what it was designed to do – crunch large volumes of numbers.

6. Impact of change on the existing process

Processes that achieve the goal of Six Sigma (or a high sigma level) fall out of spec if the volumes change. For example a 50% change to incoming leads may drive a customer oriented sales process to its knees. Plan for change in your system by using a simulated model of the process in order to understand the effects of volume change, product stream substitution, staffing policy or other changes.

7. Combined projects required to see the money

One of the great lessons learned from process change is that process behavior is complex, many times requiring two or more projects to be completed in conjunction before a change to the output of the system will be felt. Without the knowledge of the combination of projects that is needed to drive change to the bottom line, many changes will be made that produce no overall process improvement. With a simulated model of the system you can see which combination of changes will ultimately provide the greatest financial reward.

8. Close the gap between project inception and financial impact

In today’s world speed is the name of the game. If you can’t change quickly then your organization dies. Fast change can either be made by guessing or by developing a simulated model of the system so that you can see the potential impact of planned change

9. Communicate how a process will perform in understandable terms (even a manager can understand)

Yes it’s true. Senior management is tired of seeing all the graphs and charts used to explain the behavior of complex systems. It is not that senior managers don’t want to gain an in-depth understanding of how a complex system works. But it’s that they don’t have the time or energy when confronted with the same methods used the ancient Egyptians (hieroglyphics). We are relating complex concepts with static pictures. Graphs and pictograms are a great improvement over text descriptions, but a dynamic visualization of your process conveys vast knowledge with a minuscule time commitment. Management will be able to gain as deep an understanding as they want without devoting pyramid building effort to get that understanding. You see, no matter how good your idea, you have to be able to sell the concept to those that can authorize the project and before management is going to “buy” the concept they are going to have to understand the concept. A great idea that is not used is the same as a bad idea that is not used. An animated simulation of the proposed change will convey the right information to show how your project will impact the bottom line.

SixSigmaWell, there you have it. Now you know why we can tell Six Sigma where to go to achieve the greatest advantage and effectively impact the bottom line.

If you would like to help Six Sigma deliver more to the bottom line, get a trial copy of ProcessModel today





I recently used ProcessModel on a cost-savings project. Funding was requested for 1,000 shipping units, with little supporting documentation. I used Process Model to model the process, and through that I was able to show that only 300 or so units were necessary. The Cost Savings (or rather, Cost Avoidance) turned out to be about $147,000.
Clint W. - Cooper Tires
Since Nationwide Insurance began working with ProcessModel, Inc, our revenues have increased to $20.6 billion and we're now 99th on the list of Fortune 500 companies, advancing from 118th, where we were a year ago. Thanks for all the work that you and your colleagues have done to accelerate business process innovation at Nationwide.
John N - Nationwide


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