Minitab LLC’s picture

By: Minitab LLC

Kaj Ahlmann (right), owner of the Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards, and Winery, and vineyard manager, David Weiss, create great wines by applying old-world techniques and the rigor of proven quality improvement.

Some people take it easy when they retire. But Kaj Ahlmann, retired chairman, president, and CEO of General Electric’s Employers Reinsurance division, is just getting started. In 1999, he united two of his passions—wine and statistics—in a new venture: the Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards, and Winery. This pairing may seem unlikely.

Winemaking conjures images of pastoral fields of lush grapes, grown by experts who divine the ideal time to pick and ferment them. Six Sigma, on the other hand, is frequently associated with mass production, and massaging reams of data to wring maximum efficiency from the factory.

Matrox Imaging’s picture

By: Matrox Imaging

What about parking? It’s a question drivers must consider every time they turn the key in the ignition. Cities have struggled with parking issues since the preautomobile era, however, in those days the question was more likely to be: What about my horse?

Parking automobiles proved to be a very difficult challenge for cities, particularly by the 1910 when the number of cars in the United States reached 9 million. Although horses still outnumbered these modern machines, equestrian transport was eventually banned in cities. The curbside locales for horses and buggies were quickly designated for automobiles, and they were quickly filled. In fact, city workers began parking in those spots all day, leaving few parking spaces for shoppers or other patrons of the business district.

GKS Global Services’s picture

By: GKS Global Services

GKS Inspection Services has been a leading provider of dimensional inspection, 3-D laser scanning, terrestrial scanning, and CT scanning services for more than 25 years. The company’s metrologists and engineers are experienced in the automotive, defense, electronics, and many other manufacturing industries. One issue that has been common in reverse engineering scanning projects for all industries over the years is making sure that customers know exactly what type of computer-aided design (CAD) file deliverable they want from GKS based on what they will be doing with the data and their budget.

Hubert Lettenbauer, Ph. D.; Daniel Weiss, Ph. D.; and Bernd Georgi ’s default image

By: Hubert Lettenbauer, Ph. D.; Daniel Weiss, Ph. D.; and Bernd Georgi

 

Figure 1: Measuring 3D CT METROTOM 1500 from Carl Zeiss

There are still no generally applicable standards for industrial computed tomography (CT). Manufacturers and users still must agree on de facto standards for the specification and certification of CT measuring systems. With comprehensive inspections, Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology (Carl Zeiss IMT) provides customers with reliable data on the performance of CT measuring processes.

If cone-beam CT is to become a qualified measuring procedure, it must be qualified in the same manner as coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) that use contact and optical probing. Test piece

John David Kendrick’s picture

By: John David Kendrick

A common error of many Six Sigma and operations research professionals is not properly selecting the correct subgroup sampling technique when constructing a statistical process control (SPC) chart. Incorrect subgroup sampling technique selection has become worse in the modern computing age, perhaps because most practitioners try to “fit” their data into the graphical user interface template of the major statistical software packages. Consequently, many practitioners produce aesthetically appealing charts that are simply not effective at identifying out-of-control (OOC) conditions. This article will discuss proper SPC subgroup sampling techniques and illustrate the principles of proper subgroup sampling selection from a practitioner’s perspective.

The proper selection of an SPC sampling technique should be based on an analysis of historical data that is representative of the current process and the question that needs to be addressed. The importance of selecting the proper SPC subgroup sampling technique cannot be stressed enough—however, it is overlooked by most practitioners.

David Roberts’s default image

By: David Roberts

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--Editors

Sam Turner’s default image

By: Sam Turner

“The consumer’s concept of quality will no longer be measured by only the physical attributes of the product—it will extend to the process of how the product is made, including product safety, environmental compliance, and social responsibility compliance.”
—Victor Fang, chairman of Li and Fang

In the past, the utility industry could consider itself exempt from market drivers such as social responsibility and environmental and safety concerns. However, today’s utilities companies are immersed in a sea of change. Customers demand reliable power in unlimited supply, generated in environmentally friendly ways. and without increased cost. All the while regulators are telling consumers to “change the way they are using energy or be ready to pay more,” and the Department of Energy is calling for utilities to make significant reductions in usage by 20201.

Matrox Imaging’s default image

By: Matrox Imaging

Turbines that are housed in aircraft engines are subjected to pretty tough conditions. They must perform at speeds of 30,000 rpm in temperatures greater than 800ºC for hours at a time.

The engine manufacturers fully understand that even small surface defects can reduce performance, increase maintenance costs, and reduce the useful life of an aircraft engine. They need to inspect turbine blades very carefully to maintain the efficiency and reliability that the air transport industry requires.

One particular North American manufacturer inspected its blades by hand and human eye. The highly-trained inspectors measured hundreds of features and checked for surface defects that measured in thousandths of an inch. Manual inspection was not only costly in terms of time and labor, but subjective as well. Results were variable and even differed between inspectors. Because manual inspection was so time consuming, there was no systematic inspection of every blade, only samplings of blades were inspected. Clearly, the manufacturer required an approach that would allow systematic inspections of the blades, save time, and yield consistent and repeatable results.

Gallup’s picture

By: Gallup

Jim Clifton, Gallup’s chairman and CEO, says businesses have, in most cases, maximized every possible benefit from practices based on neoclassical economics, such as Six Sigma, reengineering, and total quality management (TQM). The significant competitive advantages from these practices have hit a point of diminishing returns, he adds. Most well-run companies have wrung almost every efficiency they can from their operations—and their competitors have, too. So have we reached the end? Are there no worlds left to conquer?

Hardly, Clifton says. There are vast new business frontiers left unexplored. Clifton points to revelations that behavioral economists are uncovering—starting with the discovery that human decision making is more emotional than rational. This upends a core assumption of neoclassical economic theory: That consumers can be counted on to always make rational decisions about the products and services they buy. It also opens up a vast new area for business to explore and exploit—and Clifton has staked his company on the fast-developing leadership science within behavioral economics.

Tripp Babbitt’s picture

By: Tripp Babbitt

I have identified myself as a “reformed” lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Some will see this as an affront to lean and Six Sigma. I want to assure you that there are many things to like about lean and Six Sigma. The issue at hand is that a better solution is available that can help organizations achieve more robust performance improvement.

Some issues with lean Six Sigma

A couple of issues to address are the tools-based approach and the lack of change in thinking in the management and design of work found in lean Six Sigma. Lean and Six Sigma programs tend to be tools-based, where the aim seems to be for vendors to make money on tools training and not focusing on the change in thinking that must accompany it. This is a missed opportunity for sustainable and profound change.

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