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Mar 19, 2011

Six Sigma Tools

For collecting and analyzing data, Six Sigma makes use of different types of data collection tools, as it would be quite impossible to carry out the task manually. Six Sigma data collection tools are employed in all processes where data is generated. Given below are some of the data collection tools and their uses.

Commonly Utilized Raw Data Collection Tools

1. Operational Definitions Sheet- by defining the metrics, this tool helps in maintaining the consistency of the data collection process.

2. Voice Of The Customer (VOC) Data Collection Tool- this tool is used for collecting data from organizational databases, surveys, interviews, listening posts and observations related to the VOC and for organizing the collected data in a systematic manner.

3. Worksheet For Customer Segmentation- this tool helps in identifying the requirements of the main and minor segments and classifying them into finer details.

4. Check Sheets- this tool is very handy and is used for collecting smaller sample data. It helps in defining problem areas and checking the validity of planned outcomes.

5. Data Sheets- this tool is similar to Check Sheets and is more or less used for the same purpose, i.e. defining problems and substantiating outcomes.

Commonly Utilized Data Assessment Tools

Although these tools are not classified as decision-making tools such as the Thought Map Relation Diagram or the Ishikawa Fishbone Chart, they do however aid the decision makers. Given below is the list of some of the most commonly utilized data assessment tools:

1. Customer Requirement Translation And Analysis Tool- this tool helps in converting vague customer requirements such as 'better quality' or 'low price' into more measurable terms. This helps the change agents to design and develop new products and services that are in line with customer requirements and needs.

2. Sipoc Diagram- this tool is utilized both as a presentation tool and as an analytical tool. It is very effective in providing an overview of the inputs and outputs of the various business processes related to the vendors and the customers as well.

3. Pareto Chart- this tool helps in identifying small problems related to the implementation that are often held responsible for causing around eighty percent of the troubles. Six Sigma teams utilize this tool for reducing or even eliminating both the wastage of efforts and scarce resources. This helps teams to allocate resources in the right manner for enabling continuous quality improvements.

4. Production Scheduling And Actual Scorecard- this tool is utilized for comparing the actual results with the planned results related to operations and sales. This helps Six Sigma teams in evaluating the status of the project and in defining the direction in which the project is currently headed.

5. QFD (Quality Function deployment) House Of Quality Chart- this tool is quite popular as it is an all in one tool. It performs varied functions such as identifying customer requirements in relation to products or services, developing effective blueprints, and formulating newer techniques for eliminating the faults inherent in a business process.

Proper knowledge about the correct use of all the above stated tools is necessary for ensuring the successful and timely implementation of any Six Sigma project.