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Six Sigma, Statistical Process Control and other Quality paradigms yield greater knowledge for making decisions. These photos symbolize sound decisions; a fire at the end of a road, a maze, a fork in a road, a squiggly road, and a one-way sign with two arrows.Sound Decisions

When do you take action? If you’re tracking daily yield for your process, and it looks as in the picture, what do you do? If the mean yield is acceptable, and you and your customers can live with the variation, you do nothing. If you want a higher average yield with less variation, you have to change the system of production. Merely acting on the low or high points within the control limits will only make the system worse.This might require a Six Sigma DMAIC or DMADV project, and fundamental changes to your process.

A Statistical Process Control tool, the ImR chart, of stable yield for a Six Sigma project baseline

Suppose you see the signal below in the next three days of tracking:

Statistical Process Control Chart of Yield with Out-of-Control Signal, from a Six Sigma Project

The signal indicates a special or assignable cause; a shift in performance. This is a call to immediate action. Go find out what happened and try to put in a process change that will eliminate that cause from happening again. You will have removed a cause for variation; this generally improves process performance over the long term. The insight gained through understanding varition, then, can help you know what to work on and when.

How to work on it is another matter. Leadership and management also require an understanding of systems, and some psychology. Continual improvement is continual change; achieving the kind of agility needed to stay ahead of the curve in today’s environment demands leadership that can build knowledge and engage teams in leading the curve.

Armed with more comprehensive information resulting from expert analysis of good data, you will experience unprecedented levels of decision support. Was yesterday’s number bad? Good? Should you act on it, or not? What will tomorrow look like if you take no action? What could it look like if you took action? What type action should you take? All these questions are vital, and guessing could be disastrous. Deming used to say “There is no substitute for knowledge.” It is, of course, still true, and maybe more relevant today than ever. Let us help you build solid knowledge and drive better, more sound decisions.