Six Sigma - Outputs in the Measure Phase

A large amount of work needs to be done in the measure phase. This work also has a large impact on the performance of the subsequent phases, hence it is essential that the tollgate deliverables be understood and applied. The activities done in this module set the tone for how the rest of the process will unfold. Hence utmost attention must be paid to it. The common deliverables to a successful measure module are as follows:

Commonly Agreed Indicators: A successful Six Sigma project needs to keep track of a large number of variables. These variables include inputs, outputs and process parameters. To ensure that these variables are maintained at the optimum level, the way to measure them must be agreed upon. This entails breaking down the inputs into their smallest unit. It also includes developing composite metrics where more than one variable create the metric based on a weighted average. The decision variables and the weighted averages must be carefully considered to ensure correct reporting and correct action.

Operational Definition of Indicators: The Six Sigma philosophy always relies on objective facts rather than tacit knowledge. It is for this reason that not only should the variables and composite variables be decided, the way to calculate them must be explicitly mentioned in a document. There is a possibility of ambiguity and confusion at a later stage, in case the definitions can be interpreted in more than one way.

Data Collection Plan: A data collection plan corresponding to the variables selected must be created. This plan entails assigning explicit responsibilities about collecting data. If the data collection process has been mechanized, in that case the person who is supposed to oversee the accuracy and precision of the process must also be explicitly stated.

Sampling Plan: Collecting population data for a Six Sigma project makes it expensive and unviable. There are different sampling techniques available which closely approximate the population data. The Six Sigma methodology provides a guide which states which sampling technique must be used when. However, the decision must be taken and sampling information must be included in the Data collection plan for ready reference should ambiguity arise at a later stage.

Validated Measurement System: Last but not the least, measure module includes Measurement Systems Analysis which validates the fact that the data collected from the process is indeed reliable and can be used for further analysis.

A successful measure phase requires the close co-ordination between various departments of the organization, statisticians and the Six Sigma team. The fact that software may be required at this stage also makes it important to train the relevant personnel for such usage.


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