Six sigma funneling:

Six Sigma project is a difficult but rewarding journey. Six sigma gives structure path for problem solving. For that, we need team thinking to find out real cause of any problem. Here I am just discussing path that has helped me in many projects. Let’s take a problem. It could be weight reduction of a person.




Problem us about “We want to reduce weight of a person X”. We should clearly define


Team – You, your wife, your doctor, your dietician

            Business case- Why you want to reduce it?

            Goals: How much reduction you want?

Scope – What all you want to cover, your diet etc

            Time plan – By when you want to reduce it.


Measure –


This phase deals with quantative aspect of the problem like measurement of Y (output) along with its variation.


#          Measure the Y – What is your current weight?, What is Variation in it (if any – morning , evening)


#           Measurement system analysis (MSA) – Is my weight measurement system working right means weigh bridge?


#          Input- Output metric –      Your diet habits / your physical routine                      


#          Process map –   your daily routine activity etc


#          Process capability: Is your process capable of delivering the result or you have to redesign the whole process?





Identify X’s and validate the relation


 Y ( Wight increment ) = F (x1, x2, x3, x4…. etc )


Divergence :


#          Brainstorm – Find out X’s. Bucket it in three / four major category by process or by activity like – Diet input, Lifestyle (TV, no workout etc), eating habits, other habits, physiological barriers, or external factors like (dna, heredity, any diseases ) etc . Please list down all the probable causes for this problem.




#          Cause and Effect metric – Priorities the X’s by rating them on scale of 9, 3, and 1.  #     FMEA – Use it as prioritizing tool to clearly pin pointing the severity, occurrence, and detection.


Validation of X’s


#        Validation of X’s with data – If RPN number is greater than 200, do statistical validation of them. It could be done by ANOVA, 2T Test , Regression, or DOE. If RPN number is within 120-200, make control plan for them.   





Brainstorm solutions for Validated X’s. You can bucket them based on ease on implementation. It may be quick wins, breakthrough, or process tightening. Process tightening solutions may be like less oil intake, more protein diet, one hour walk, yoga, meditation etc. Quick win, low hanging fruits, may be like fat reduction pills or removal of unnecessary habit.  Breakthrough solutions are like surgery or complete change in life style.


Implement the solutions: This is action time.




Control is most important aspect of any problem solving. It needs focus and commitment. Track the actions and their impact for at least nine months. Make control plan for X’s and review them frequently. Fat has the tendency to come back again. If it was just a process tightening, this would be more so. 


13 thoughts on “Six sigma funneling:”

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