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Application of Six-Sigma for Productivity Improvement in a Manufacturing Unit


Piu Jain, Assistant Professor Garima Sharma, Assistant Professor Maharaje Agrasen Institute of Technology Sector 22, Rohini , New Delhi

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Across nations and regions, companies are facing new challenges and competition in a changing environment.

As the competition gets tougher, there is more pressure on organizations for process quality improvement and productivity improvement while reducing cost and wastage.

Quality concepts and principles are universal and can be applied to all types of organization for higher efficiency of operation, higher productivity and hence higher revenue and profit.

Definition and Scope

Organization are faced with the challenge of improving their productivity and reducing wastes . The major challenge faced in a flow process type industry to improve productivity is to eliminate bottlenecks and reduce cycle time

Methodology adopted for cycle time reduction are time and motion study , automation , layout improvement by process flow analysis etc.

The use of Quality tools like TQM and six sigma methodology in process improvement has immense scope which needs to be further researched

What is Quality?
Quality is the totality of features and characteristics of an entity or a product or service that bears in its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

Fitness for use

Conformance to specifications

Minimum variations

Reduced errors or defects

Meeting customer satisfaction

Quality and Productivity

Different views of Productivity
Output/Input Financial ratio, profit Labour Utilization, man days
Production /man hour, capacity utilization, manpower efficiency


Behavioral science Engineers


Branches of Quality

A statistical measure of performance of a process or a product.

Combination of quality and management tools through for continuous improvement of production of goods and services.

The methodology used for increasing productivity is SixSigma
Identifying the industry and product Study the production, productivity , layout , organization structure Study process flow chart, quality control charts. Study application of Six-Sigma tools. Collection of data (cycle time) Analysis of data using minitab. Finding optimal solution. Implementation Study of results Recommendations

Basic Requirements
The basic requirements to implement Six Sigma tools for improvement of cycle time in a process industry :
It should have a flow process system A TQM culture Willingness of the management modifications of the findings to implement the

Six Sigma Tools

1. Cause and effect Diagram
These are charts that identify Potential causes for particular quality problems. They are often called fishbone diagrams because they look like the bones of a fish. The head of the fish is the quality problem, such as damaged zippers on a garment or broken valves on a tire. The diagram is drawn so that the spine of the fish connects the head to the possible cause of the problem. These causes could be related to the machines, workers, measurement, suppliers, materials, and many other aspects of the production process.

Cause and Effect Diagram

Example - Cause and effect Diagram for Water seal fitment to wash tub

Six Sigma Tools

2. Flowchart

This is a schematic diagram of the sequence of steps involved in an operation or process.

It provides a visual tool that is easy to use and understand. By seeing the steps involved in an operation or process, everyone develops a clear picture of how the operation works and where problems could arise.

Flow Chart
Example : Flow Chart Of Production Shop of a Washing machine unit
water seal fitment to Wash tub assembly Driving shaft and pulley fitment Wash motor fitting to main base Tee assembly fitment to wash tub



Castor wheel fitment to main base Cabinet

Spin motor fitting to main base

Cabinet, Tub and base assembly

Spin tub fitment

Pulsator fitment


REPAIR LINE Final testing


CP Base fitting and top lid fitting Wiring 2 Wiring 1

Leakage testing


CP Cover fitting

Water drainage and cleaning

Packing acessory

Packing stage

Machine offloading

Six Sigma Tools

3. Control Charts
These charts are used to evaluate whether a process is operating within expectations relative to some measured value such as weight, width, or volume of the process then data from the process can be used to predict the future performance of the process. In general, the chart contains a Center Line (CL) that represent the mean value for the in-control process. The two horizontal lines , called the Upper Control Limit(UCL) and Lower Control Limit(LCL) are shown such that almost all the data points will fall within this limit as long as the process remains in-control. If the chart indicates that the process being monitored is not in control, analysis of the chart can help determine the sources of variation, which can then be eliminated to bring the process back into control .

Control Charts
Example : Control Chart of Water seal fitment to wash tub

The control chart shows that One point more than 3.00 standard deviations from centre line. Test Failed at points: 3.

Six Sigma Tools

4. Pareto Chart
This is a technique used to identify quality problems based on their degree of importance. The logic behind Pareto analysis is that only a few quality problems are important, whereas many others are not critical. This concept has often been called the 8020 rule and has been extended to many areas. In quality management the logic behind Paretos principle is that most quality problems are a result of only a few causes. The trick is to identify these causes .

Six Sigma Tools

5. Brainstorming
This is a group Creativity Technique by which a group tries to find a solution for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. Brainstorming has become a popular group technique and has aroused attention. It can be of great utility when the group accounts for, and works to minimize the group processes that decrease its effectiveness.

Six Sigma Tools

6.Process Chart It is a device for recording a process in a compact manner, as a means of understanding it better and improving it. The chart represents graphically the separate steps or events that occur during a series of actions.
Process Operate Transport Inspect Symbol Process Storage Delay Symbol

Define Phase
1. Prepare a Sipoc Diagram. SIPOC is a Six Sigma tool. The acronym SIPOC stands for Suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers. A SIPOC is completed most easily by starting from the right ("Customers") and working towards the left. The customer in this case is bonded store and requirement is increased productivity

SIPOC diagram
Supplier Input Process Output Customer


Bill Of Material


Finished Good Stock




Define Phase
2.Prepare Process Flow chart, which provides a visual representation of the steps in a process. Flow Charts are also referred to as Process Mapping or Flow Diagrams. 3.The cycle time of the stages to be noted using a stop watch and the bottle necked cycle times to be identified.

Define cycle time data collection

Cycle time of washing machine assembly line
STAGES ACTIVITIES NO OF PERSON 1 2 3 4 5 Average cycle time (sec) cycle time with 90% efficiency (sec)

water seal fitment to tub assembly

Driving shaft and pulley fitment to tub assembly Tee assembly fitment to wash tub








2 3

1 1

50 49

51 53

52 52

51 53

50 48

50.80 51.00

56.44 56.67

5 6 7

Castor wheel fitment to main base

Wash motor fitting to main base Spin motor fitting to main base Cabinet and base assembly

1 1 2

40 47 53

39 48 51

42 43 52

42 45 52

38 47 50

40.20 46.00 51.60

44.67 51.11 57.33

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Driving disc fitting

Spin tub fitment Pulsator fittment CP Base fitting and top lid fitting CP Cover fitting Wiring 1 Wiring 2 Pretesting Leakage testing Final testing Water drainage and cleaning Packing acessory Packing stage Machine offloading

1 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 1

46 52 52 50 63 62 67 35 50 63 45 63 51

47 52 51 51 63 68 63 37 48 64 41 66 51

42 55 53 49 62 64 68 32 50 68 46 62 53

41 51 53 50 65 65 65 31 51 66 40 60 51

48 50 49 51 63 65 62 37 49 61 42 64 50

44.80 52.00 51.60 50.20 63.20 64.80 65.00 34.40 49.60 64.40 42.80 63.00 51.20

49.78 57.78 57.33 55.78 70.22 72.00 72.22 38.22 55.11 71.56 47.56 70.00 56.89

Measure- Measurement system analysis

Purpose Gauge R and R Minitab software
To qualify a measurement system for use by quantifying its accuracy, precision, and stability.
Estimation of both repeatability and reproductively of a measurement system Gauge R and R readings are analyzed Measurement system is capable, and can be used as a basis of decision making.


Analyze-Activity 1
PROCESS FLOW OF WATER SEAL FITMENT TO WASH TUB ASSEMBLY S.no Activity Operate Transport Inspect Delay Storage Time required (sec)


Put wash tub on table Put anabond around water seal assemby
Fit water seal assemby to wash tub Check for fitment is concentric with tub and all locks of water seal assemby in position Wait for anabond to get cure Put wash tub on conveyor for next operation TOTAL TIME TOTAL TIME WITH 90% EFFICIENCY



4 5

5 12.56

4.2 62.42 69.36

Analyze-Activity 1
Cause and effect Diagram for Water seal fitment to wash tub

Analyze-Activity 1
Why Why analysis for water seal fitment to wash tub assembly
Water seal assembly fitted to wash tub with hand and tightened with pliers

After drawing cause and effect diagram for cycle time improvement of specified stages, remedial actions are suggested to remove the causes. These actions are taken for further quality improvements in company

The action implemented for improving cycle time is shown.

The Before After photographs after implementation of improvement is shown

Improve Activity 1
Action for improvement of cycle time of water seal fitment to wash tub
Benefits in terms of Cycle time reduction/improvement
The time for process to fit water seal assy to wash tub takes 10 sec with help of jig and the activity to check for fitment is concentric with tub and all locks of water seal assy in position is eliminated.


Action for improvement

Jig with pressure gauge designed for centre fitment of wash tub Pressure level adjusted for uniform pressure application to water seal during assembly. Proper procedure for curing of anabond defined in work instruction. Storage place defined for wash tub after fitment . Training provided for proper usage of jig. Work instruction given to operator about fitment , storage and work procedure

Cycle time reduction(sec)


15 sec


Quality of work improved and 5s improved.


Work that was originally performed by highly skilled operator can now be performed with semi skilled operator due to ease in assembly with the help of jig.

Improve Activity 1
Before After photograph of water seal fitment to wash tub Water seal fitment Assembly with hand Jig with pressure Gauge for water seal Assembly


Control Charts
Used to distinguish between variations in a process resulting from common causes and A variation resulting from special causes statistical

Graphic display

Presents a graphic display of process stability or instability over time.

Process has displayed a certain degree of consistency in the past and is expected to Maintain process continue to do so in the future.

Results ,Discussion and Conclusion

This research identified how simple methods can be used to improve work and work process in flow process manufacturing. The research identified the current methods used using flow process charts and cycle time of each stage.
By making simple changes to the process, it can reduce the time taken for each stage to improve the flow and speed up the process


Cycle time data collection required lot of training to supervisors

Brainstorming sessions required participation of operators and supervisors. Proper atmosphere has to be created to reduce resistance to change.

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