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May 20, 2010

Six Sigma for Improving Production

Six Sigma is a methodology for eliminating product variation like decreasing production costs and increasing revenue. There are as many ways to approach application of this methodology as there are companies offering training and consulting. You can get your feet wet with an on online course for a couple hundred dollars or sink many thousands into a company-wide Six Sigma program.

Some companies espouse the philosophy that Six Sigma works best implemented from the top all the way down while others prefer e a modular approach. And, the range of services they offer varies greatly. Identifying your goals beforehand is critical to choosing the path that will give you the best return on investment, which is, after all, what Six Sigma is about. Six Sigma is an investment, so do your research and find the best fit for your company and your goals.

Here is a review of six Canadian companies that specialize in Six Sigma training.

At e-Zsigma, Six Sigma is "both a business philosophy and goal," and the company's comprehensive approach is reflected in its Web site, which is packed with details about its services plus products, resources, tools, news, and events. Here, the pursuit of perfection begins with the immersion of your whole business in the world of Six Sigma.

The Toronto-based company, started in 1980, offers certification in everything from White Belt to Black Belt and can provide consulting and ongoing management support. Its reach is worldwide and the company's partners are diverse, from banking to manufacturing.

Six Sigma Canada, which focuses on certifying Green Belts and Black Belts, offers an "Open Enrollment" program in addition to large-scale Six Sigma deployments. Open Enrollment gives individuals and small companies opportunities to get Six Sigma training and to learn alongside people from a variety of industries.

Founded in 1999, the company's philosophy is that while you can approach Six Sigma in different ways training must start at the top with executives. The Web site stresses that when individuals become Black Belts, they can affect, "a company-wide culture shift geared toward breakthrough change and the pursuit of perfection."

The Knowledge Management Group embraces statistics as the bedrock of quality, in-depth Six Sigma training and as the key to consulting services that can be applied to any kind of business. The Web site boasts, "We implement strategies that identify, reduce, and eliminate waste from every product, process and transaction"

In addition, TKMG offers services that can be claimed as part of Revenue Canada's Scientific Research & Experimental Development tax incentive program known as SR&ED. The program encourages businesses to invest in research and development and offers tax refunds of up to 35 percent with the proper documentation.

John Noguera was mentored by Motorola's Six Sigma originator, Bill Smith, and co-developed the company's Next Generation Six Sigma Green Belt Program.

At J.G. Noguera and Associates, the instructional model is called KISS - Keep It Simple Statistically. Statistics are not an end but are a means to collect the information needed to make good decisions. Students are required to learn and demonstrate the use of a variety of Six Sigma tools and techniques.

Ketch Consulting provides Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt training, consulting and sales training in Canada and the United States with a focus on long-term solutions regardless of scale. The Web site says, "We can help you solve an isolated business problem or provide support for an enterprise level continuous improvement initiative. It's your business and it's your choice."

What makes the company unique is its emphasis on Six Sigma as a methodology that workers can apply in their daily lives as well in a business environment. And, Ketch strives to balance the intensity of the training with an engaging curriculum.

In addition to Six Sigma, Quality Solutions offers ISO, JIT and Kaizen training and consulting. The company uses the DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) for Six Sigma but within that framework will tailor both training and consulting services for its clients. Its Six Sigma training emphasizes hands-on applications and techniques.