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Facilitating Service Applications Using the Prime Six Sigma Define Tools

For service applications, tools utilized in the Define phase assist in refining or confirming the scope and boundaries of a given project. The two common kinds are Sipoc diagrams and Multigenerational Plans.


SIPOC diagrams

Lean Six Sigma is based on the core principle that defects can touch on anything which the customer finds unappealing, such as high cost, long lead time, poor quality and variation in lead time, among other aspects.

The first step in addressing any of these problems is taking a process view relating to how the target company seeks to satisfy a specified customer requirement. A lot of organizations still work as functional silos of some sort, with no particular person owning the entire process. It means that only a few people if any would have evaluated the process from beginning to end, just steps into the process.

What is SIPOC? 

SIPOC, a tool utilized for creating a high-level process map is an acronym which refers to the following:

  • Suppliers – refers to the entities, whether a person, process or company that avails the information, forms or material which is worked on during the process. The supplier could be an external vendor or other division of coworker, such as the internal supplier.
  • Input – relates to the material or information provided
  • Process – refers to steps employed for transferring the elements which either do or do not add value
  • Output – means the information, product or service being forwarded to the client, preferably with emphasis on Critical-to-Quality features
  • Clients – the next step in the process, or final (external) clients

Understanding the Define Stage

Normally, a SIPOC diagram takes shape during the DMAIC Define stage. However, its impact also reverberates throughout the remainder of the improvement project. The team gets to measure lead times as well as quality levels wherever the process does not meet the customer’s Critical-to-Quality (CTQ) requirements.

The team, in the Analysis phase, gets to relate each CTQ along with each Time Trap (output/Y, in Six Sigma parlance) to several process parameters (Xs) whose change focuses on improving that Time Trap or CTQ.

During the Improve phase, the team carries out alterations to inputs and process steps affecting the critical output. Such improvements then become the target of Control measures which ensure that gains are retained. Team leaders stand to gain significantly by undertaking programs like Go Lean Six Sigma SIPOC training and certification.

Multigeneration plans

Reasons abound as to why someone would attempt to define varying generations of improvement relating to the process or service being studied. An early project may subject the process under control, succeeded by a second project which raises the level of performance.

Equally, you can divide your customer requirements into groups for sequential attack (e.g., first conduct a project to fill gaps in the minimum requirements that your product/service should meet, before doing a second phase for improving additional features.

Practicality is a tertiary factor, which deals with how much improvement one can hope to achieve reasonably, within the time-frame allotted to any single project.

In general, a multigenerational plan helps in capturing the notion by setting out current goals together with targets for posterity of the service or product.

For further information on how to apply SIPOC and attain Lean Sigma Six training & certification, you may log onto https://goleansixsigma.com/.

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