You can not imagine being able to organize the enormous amount of data and manipulate them as easily as you would be able to do without data collection tools. Then again, the task is not easily done unless you have selected the right kind of tool appropriate for the project. You need these data collection tools at all steps where you generate numerical data.
Six Sigma Data Collection Tools
The data collection tools are mostly in excel format and come as Macro Plug Ins, barring a few exceptions of stand-alone applications.
Initial Raw Data Collection Tools
1. Operational Definitions Sheet- This sheet defines the metrics so that data collection across the board is consistent.
2. Voice Of The Customer Data Collection Tool- Collect data from internal database, surveys, interviews, listening posts and observations at the point of sales and use and organize them systematically
3. Worksheet For Customer Segmentation- Worksheet for segmentation is essential to identify and concentrate on the demands of main and sub-segments which helps get down to finer details
4. Check Sheets- Very handy in collecting smaller sample data of different attributes or counts for use in defining problem areas or substantiating the outcomes.
5. Data sheets- These plain and simple datasheets are used to gather small amounts of measured or variable data to for the purpose of defining a problem or substantiating the results.
Data Assessment Tools
Data assessment tools are not decision-making tools such as the Ishikawa Fishbone Chart or the Thought Map Relation Diagram.
1. Customer Requirement Translation And Analysis Tool- Analysis of customer requirement is done to translate to an understandable and an unambiguous language. The translated and interpreted customer data converts into measurable functional requirements thus strengthening the operating team's capability to deliver products and services that customers will immediately identify and really relish.
2. SIPOC Diagram- SIPOC diagram is rather a presentation diagram and an analysis tool at the same time. It provides an “at a glance" like overview of various processes, and helps identify the venders, inputs and outputs of a process and customers by critically contrasting the input data against each other
3. Pareto Chart- A Pareto chart is helpful in identifying those small numbers of problems which cause about 80% of all the troubles. This is a tremendous help in reducing or eliminating the avoidable waste of efforts so that you can channelize your improvement efforts on continuous productive applications.
4. Production Scheduling And Actual Scorecard- The simple production scheduling and actual score card comes handy to evaluate the production schedules and operations & sales planning as opposed to actual results. This is the same template which is used for Pareto chart, schedule to actual comparison and the checklist for quality.
5. QFD House Of Quality Chart- Quality Function deployment house of quality is an all in one tool. It helps identify customer requirements vis-a-vis products or services, develop an effective blueprint, formulate strategies to eliminate faults and failures and finally implement new design.
It would be futile to work without tools, either PC based or otherwise in a Six Sigma environment.
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.