Six Sigma Case Studies

Suppliers, supplier management

Q: I would like to browse through detailed Six Sigma Case Studies. I do not mind making a payment for detailed case studies in the fields of manufacturing, services and software.
Kindly direct me to the requisite links please.

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ and the Quality Information Center.  I received your request for case studies on Six Sigma in the fields of manufacturing, services, and software.

“Six Sigma is an organization-wide approach used to achieve breakthrough improvements tied to significant bottom-line results. Unlike previous TQM approaches, Six Sigma specifies exactly how the organization’s managers s hould set up and lead the effort. Key features are the use of data and statistical analysis, highly trained project leaders known as Black Belts and Green Belts, project selection based on estimated bottom-line results, and the dramatic goal of reducing errors to about three per million opportunities” (taken from The Quality Toolbox, 2nd ed. by Nancy R. Tague)

ASQ has over 100 case studies on Six Sigma in our Knowledge Center.  I have listed some case studies below that fit with the fields you are interested in.  I have also made a note of which case studies are open access.

Software case studies:

Optimizing Software Inspections with Statistical Quality Techniques“, Software Quality Professional, Dec. 2003 (open access)

Integrating Improvement Initiatives: Connecting Six Sigma for Software, CMMI, Personal Software Process (PSP), and Team Software Process (TSP)“, Software Quality Professional, Sept. 2003 (open acess)

Identifying Code-Inspection Improvements Using Statistical Black Belt Techniques“, Software Quality Professional, Dec. 2003

Preempting Problems“, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Feb. 2010 (open access)

Optimizing the Software Life Cycle“, Software Quality Professional, Sept. 2003 (open access)

Six Sigma for Internet Application Development“, Software Quality Professional, Dec. 2001 (open access)

Manufacturing case studies:

Six Sigma Green, Black Belts Help Manufacturer Save Nearly $1.5 Million“, ASQ Case Study, June 2008 (open access)

Pall Corporation: A Profile in “Process Excellence”“, ASQ Case Study, April 2008 (open access)

Siemens VDO Optimizes Processes Using Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, Feb. 2007 (open access)

Variability Reduction: A Statistical Engineering Approach to Engage Operations Teams in Process Improvement“, Quality Engineering, April 2012 (open access)

Spinning a Solution“, Six Sigma Forum Magazine, Feb. 2010

Service industry case studies:

Simplify and Unleash: One Bank’s Strategy for Growth Through Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, Sept. 2008 (open access)

Streamlined Enrollment Nets Big Results for Healthcare Leader“, ASQ Case Study, Jan. 2009 (open access)

Help Desk Improves Service and Saves Money with Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, August 2006 (open access)

Service Provider Improves Client’s Metrics with Six Sigma“, ASQ Case Study, April 2011(open access)

Lean Six Sigma Increases Efficiency for Financial Services Firm“, ASQ Case Study, April 2012 (open access)

I hope that these case studies are helpful.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need additional assistance.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI

Related content:

To obtain more resources about Six Sigma, including information regarding training and certification, please see the ASQ Six Sigma hot topic page.

Calibration of AutoCAD Software

About ASQ's Ask the Standards Expert program and blog

Q: To what extent must an engineering firm, specializing in railway infrastructure and transportation, have its AutoCAD software “calibrated” or verified?

Also, what about software designed to calculate earthwork quantities for railway alignments laid out on topographic mapping for all levels of studies – pre-feasibility through preliminary engineering (not for final design, operation simulation and design dynamic system models)? This type of software is utilized by competent draft persons and engineers, but it is not verified prior to use or periodically calibrated.

We don’t confirm “the ability of computer software to satisfy the intended application…”

Your assistance or reference is appreciated

A: AutoCAD is considered “Commercial -Off-The-Shelf” (COTS) software. It is purchased without modification and cannot be modified by the end-user. A similar example would be Excel spreadsheet software. The COTS software by itself should be considered validated and used as is provided it is configured per the software manufacturer’s instructions.

The functionality of the software (distance, volume, formulae and other functions) is fit to be used as intended. If an application is created using COTS software (Excel Templates, AutoCAD applications), then it must be validated and records of validation must be kept.

It should also be noted that definitions of verification and validation are not clearly understood. So, I am repeating them here:

ISO/IEC Guide 99:2007—International vocabulary of metrology—Basic and general concepts and associated terms, defines these terms as:

Verification: provision of objective evidence that a given item fulfills specified requirements

Validation: verification, where the specified requirements are adequate for an intended use

Further explanation:

Validation is a quality assurance process of establishing evidence that provides a high degree of assurance that a product, service, or system accomplishes its intended requirements. This often involves acceptance of fitness for purpose with end users and other product stakeholders.

It is sometimes said that validation can be expressed by the query “Are you building the right product?” and verification by “Are you building it right?”

“Building the right thing” refers back to the user’s needs, while “Are we building the product right?” checks that the specifications are correctly implemented by the system. In some contexts, it is required to have written requirements for both as well as formal procedures or protocols for determining compliance.

Dilip A Shah
ASQ CQE, CQA, CCT
President, E = mc3 Solutions
Chair, ASQ Measurement Quality Division (2012-2013)
Secretary and Member of the A2LA Board of Directors (2006-2014)
Medina, Ohio
www.emc3solutions.com/