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The Ins and Outs of Process Positioning

Six Sigma methodology can be maximized by first prioritizing processes for improvement, then selecting the correct solution strategy. In business process improvement, Six Sigma initially defines the critical to quality (CTQ) factors that represent business process performance, creating a hierarchical CTQ tree. Final product quality in manufacturing is dependent on many subCTQs, since several subprocesses typically merge to form the final assembly or operations may take place in multiple locations. It is helpful in these cases to map the process indicators so that process may more easily be targeted for improvement. In solving a specific problem, statistical tools should be selected based on the process indicators. Processes may be positioned using process capability and controllability, provided a less strict definition of capability is used for the purpose of process characterization. One criterion is to use control limits driven by the process itself. Another is to look fo!r possible trends. When attempting to visualize the factors surrounding a process, the process positioning method can serve as a link between a company's management strategy and its Six Sigma implementation.

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