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Software options to help you establish your Six Sigma process: Featured Article

Data collection is one of the most important parts of Six Sigma implementation in process improvement for businesses.It is very difficult to improve a process that you don't know much about and it is sometimes very difficult to know much about a process unless you have had the chance to do research on the process itself.The most important parts and results of Six Sigma can't actually manifest themselves until there has been data collected and evaluated.It is also discouraged to move forward with the problem solving phase of the Six Sigma process until you have actually acquired accurate, reliable and useful data.You also need to have it all organized so you can make sense of all the numbers in context.This is why having a software program to collect and organize all the data you plan to use in your Six Sigma implementation is recommended.Here is some helpful info about different programs and features available to help you make the best decision for your business.

One thing about Six Sigma that lends itself very readily to the use of software programs is that it is very structured and organized from the very beginning stages.Most Six Sigma implementations focus on the DMAIC process which is generally used to improve processes that are already taking place and need improvement.This is a very organized and methodical approach that lends itself to the use of software programs designed specifically for it.It is very focused on analyzing known data, and identifying root causes.It also involves reviewing potential problems and collecting data.Some people may even suggest using this process for selecting the software program you plan to use while implementing Six Sigma, but some might say this is a little overkill.Software can be very useful throughout the whole process of Six Sigma and all the phases of the DMAIC methodology.

Helpful Resources:
1. Effective Software
The right software option can make a big difference in the successful implementation and maintenance of your six sigma process.This article describes in detail how you can determine whether or not the software that you have chosen is effective.

2. Common Software Tools
This question and answer page mentions some common software tools that are typically used both in the process of analyzing data and mapping data.They offer assistance in learning how to operate these programs.

3. Microsoft's Excel Options
Read about software option in Microsoft's Excel program that you can use to do everything from designing experiments to charting data and presenting that data in a professional format.

4. Free Six Sigma Software
This site offers a six sigma software program that is free to download and use.Also included on this site is a brief article tutorial introducing the features to be found on the software program.

5. Consultations
If you need more personal help to guide you through the six sigma implementation process and how you can use a piece of software to assist your efforts, these professionals are available for a consultation.

6. Crystal Ball
This site is promoting a software tool that they call "Crystal Ball."The emphasis of this specific software option is on the two main methodologies of six sigma that are aimed at increasing profits.

7. Six Sigma Process
Not all software for establishing your six sigma process is created equal.That is why professionals such as those mentioned here are asked to present at conferences where their respective industry's software options are analyzed.

8. Software Support
Implementing a new software program to help you establish your six sigma process is most likely going to come with some flaws, that is why having support provided by the creators of your software is so important.See an example of such a company by clicking here.

9. Software Development
This article contains helpful information for how you can "Build the right software development infrastructure for your business needs."Read what the people at IBM have to say.

10. Software Book
This is a link to a "book provides a new perspective on software quality and software testing. Starting with the base of traditional methods of building software, it moves into a discussion of the Product Delivery Process."

Selecting a software program to use while implementing Six Sigma can be a difficult process and can be approached in much the same way that the process is approached in the first place.It should be a little simpler than the implementation for the product or service being evaluated but the same principles apply.You need a software program that will allow you to keep track of all the information you will be collecting through the process and it needs to help guide you to the proper solution by doing statistical analyses and other related tasks.You should keep in mind that finding a software program isn't the main objective, so minimal time should be spent on it and only brief consideration should be given.There are some programs that work better than others and the functions that are included in the service may be more or less applicable to the particular field your business is in.You should make an effort to determine it is coming from a reliable and reputable source and that there is sufficient technical support and backup if you encounter problems while using it.As you discover new things about what your software needs really are, you may need to change your decisions or reevaluate them based on the results.

The first role that your software program needs to help you figure out is identifying the problem.If you are purchasing or using a software program, you may already know what the problem is or at least have some idea of where it might be coming from.The software should help you organize the known operational problems and the associated problems that may accompany these primary problems.It should also identify those stakeholders who may be involved in the process like shareholders in the business and customers that are supporting it.It should also be able to clarify primary objectives and goals and have this information available for access any time throughout the process.It can also help you to identify and document known constraints that will be placed on the process because of inherent conditions.

The program also needs to help you collect facts and measure the deficiencies that are found in the business.Project controls can be created or emphasized using the software program that you choose to use and you can continue to identify problems or areas of weakness and audit the compliance issues that may present themselves.This also helps you to organize the research that you do concerning the complaints of the customers and stakeholders.Having this information organized and in front of you at all times is very important in a successful Six Sigma implementation.Then you need to identify the root cause of the problem and analyze it thoroughly.The software should help you to prioritize the list of requirements and to prepare reports about this.It can also be used to score or record the score of particular vendors and the solutions they suggest for fixing the root problem.This also helps to compare the results of the propositions and finally select the best solution for the problem at hand.Improvement and corrective action can also make use of software programs by organizing an implementation team and organizing their schedule and timeline for the implementation of the plan.It should also be able to draft and keep track of an implementation budget that will keep the company on course to making profits rather than spending more on the Six Sigma than the effort is actually worth.Increased profits are really what Six Sigma is all about in the end anyway.Software should also create a plan for testing and then provide organization for the execution of the plan.Another very important aspect of a software program in this phase is the ability to train the implementation team and other people that will be involved in the project as well as help roll out the action itself.The last step in DMAIC is to have ongoing controls and procedures put in place.The steps that are used in Six Sigma need constant reevaluation and updating to make sure that they are achieving the goals that the company has set for the process.A software program can also be very useful for this part of the process.The program should also compare functionality and system outputs to the original requirements list to see what progress has actually been made and what areas still need more improvement.It can also help find discrepancies in compliance of procedures and test to see if differences in the production are a result of implementation errors or other statistical reasons.

There are many different options when if comes to choosing a software program for your Six Sigma process improvement.There are all kinds of platforms that they are based on and can range from very in depth to simple and basic.Depending on what your specific needs are you will need to choose the software that is the best fit for you.Some programs may have concepts and systems that are completely new for most people and will require a significant amount of training and exploration to get the most out of them.Others will require less study and training and may be more intuitive but also lack some of the high powered features that can be used in a very specialized program.One of the most successful types of program used for Six Sigma is an Excel based program that uses the power SPC analysis but is still simple enough to use in Excel.This program is fast, affordable, and easy compared with many other programs.It offers many different functions depending on the phase of DAMIC that you are in.It has prioritization matrices that help define projects and aligns them with the strategy of the company and customer objectives.It also provides the use of Tree diagrams to show the whole project in scope to understand the big picture to clarify and keep the main objective in focus.It also helps to gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility control charts for Measurement Systems Analysis as well as Process Capability Analysis as a baseline for the whole project.This Excel based program also helps to draft Cause and Effect diagrams of Fishbone charts to brainstorm potential solutions to the identified problem.It also helps users to employ Matrix Diagrams that are also used in QFD to determine what will satisfy customers.It also contains a wide assortment of Control Charts which are very important in verifying if the whole system has actually improved the output of the production line.It includes Individual X-Charts, XBar and Range/Sigma charts, Attirbute charts, Moving average charts, and many others.

Whatever decision you make about using software in your process improvement, you need to make sure that it fits your needs at the present time.Needs will change and vary depending on how well the system is implemented and from project to project and you need to assure that the software being used is the most effective for the current project.Something that worked for the last one may not necessarily be what you need this time around.You should also keep in mind that there may be different trainings and updates that need to be done with changes in the program to make sure you are always getting the most out of the features that are offered and that you use.

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