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One of the valuable tools in the Six Sigma toolbox is Design of Experiments. Design of Experiment (DOE) is a structured technique that helps to uncover relationships often hidden inside mountains of data. Within the structure of a Six Sigma project, Design of Experiments is a structured approach to identifying the factors within a process that contribute to particular effects, then creating meaningful tests that verify possible improvement ideas or theories.Most of us are...

Design Of Experiments For Six Sigma

Design Of Experiments For Six SigmaOne of the valuable tools in the Six Sigma toolbox is Design of Experiments. Design of Experiment (DOE) is a structured technique that helps to uncover relationships often hidden inside mountains of data. Within the structure of a Six Sigma project, Design of Experiments is a structured approach to identifying the factors within a process that contribute to particular effects, then creating meaningful tests that verify possible improvement ideas or theories.Most of us are familiar with the concept of experimentation within the fields of science and medicine. Experiments can be designed and conducted for any process in any field not just testing physics equations or new drugs or medical procedures. Design of Experiments is a formal statistical methods required to ensure that the testing or piloting of any new improvement ideas maximize the informational potential of the trial and ultimately the return to the business. The basic principles of cause and effect and interaction of factors operate everywhere, including manufacturing and service organizations. Design of Experiments is an organized method for determining the relationships between factors that affect a process and the variable outputs of that process. It also serves to verify if a cause and effect relationship really does exist and to identify the vital few causes of variation.In short, Design of Experiments within Six Sigma is a performance improvement methodology that uses sophisticated statistical techniques to understand and control variation, thus improving predictability of business processes. Experimental methods are used to quantify previously undefined factors and interactions between factors. This is accomplished through crafting planned experiments where controlled changes of factors will determine which factors have the largest impact on quality characteristics. Though the systematic observance of the experiments and statistical measurements of the results, useful data can be assembled and analyzed to understand the relative importance of different factors to overall process variability.The basic concepts of Design of Experiments are factors, levels, and responses. A factor is an independent variable. In a planned experiment, the factors are deliberately varied in a predetermined manner. A level is a state of the factor that is deliberately varied. Levels can be discrete (present/absent) or numeric. Experimentation is typically done at two, or occasionally three levels for every factor; each separate level constituting an experimental run. The responses, literally the results of the experimental runs, are measured at each run of each factor-level combination. The response can also be discrete or numerical values. An efficient experimental design varies the multiple factors in an intelligent and controlled sequence. Response data can then be collected in an intelligible way.Combining all factors and their levels can become too large and expensive of a task, so informed deductions must be made as to which factors will generate the most pertinent data that will provide enough information for confident results. The sequence of runs in the experiment must be randomized. Randomization is crucial to give all external factors an equal chance to affect every run of the experiment. A non-randomized experiment stands a great risk of external factors acting in a systematic manner, adding noise to the response. Multiple sets of experimental runs, called replication, will provide more data and greater confidence in evaluating the results. If the budget allows, conducting more replications is desirable.Successfully designed experiments will show the relationship between the change in level of each of the factors and the change in response. Once these relationships are understood, they can be used to find "what's best" solutions to process improvement and variation reduction. Design of Experiments is a crucial part of the Six Sigma methodology. It will allow you to see into the heart of the process and what really drives it.

Used Equipment - Staying Off the Bleeding Edge.

Used Equipment - Staying Off the Bleeding Edge.

Everywhere you turn,, Americans are bombarded by the medias coverage of the latest technological breakthroughs. From high definition panels built into refrigerators to key chain fobs that will chirp their location on demand. Dont get me wrong, technology is fantastic. Anything to make life easier is welcome and embraced. The problem arises when your personal addiction to the latest gadgets starts to cloud your judgment on business purchasing decisions.I have seen this time after time. When presented with two alternatives to solve a companys need, all too often a decision maker will opt for a more expensive, high tech product over a time proven solution. Akin to adding seat warmers to your Florida commuter vehicle, these choices may make you feel good at the time of purchase but do little to enhance the companys bottom line. Even armed with comprehensive ROI statistics reflecting the contrary, some executives still choose to spend more and get less just to have the latest technology.To make matters worse, some even jump into the "bleeding edge" technology. So named because the science is so new and untested that the buyer becomes the guinea pig and suffers all the associated expense of troubleshooting the new concepts. Not to be confused with the "leading edge" where products and concepts have at least been tried and proven but still retain the price gap over "old tech". These super high-tech purchases are almost always based on emotions and hype not the hard facts, or at least not all the facts. Otherwise the newest, exorbitantly priced products would find very few homes with steadfast, bottom-line conscientious managers.A very good example of this can be found in the industrial fabricating market. Any shop experiencing growth is faced with the choice of buying new machinery or locating quality used or rebuilt equipment. Considering equivalent machines, it is amazing how often the nod goes to a new machine. Even with a price tag of potentially hundreds of thousands higher, and long lead times, new machinery is moving at a steady clip. Although tax consequences play a role in these purchases, it is a tough task to re-coup a 100% price increase by tax write-offs.The mechanical make-up of a typical machine tool further adds to the argument of buying rebuilt equipment. In its simplest form, a machine tool consists of a frame, drives, servos and a computerized control. A good frame is essentially timeless and like a good wine, can become better with age. Add to this frame some new drives, servos and a PC based controller and you have essentially a new machine. Sometimes with better performance than a fresh one rolling out of the factory. Now I ask again, why pay a 100% premium for a new machine. If service and warranty play a major role in the decision making process, look to reputable reseller and you will probably find technicians that are former employees of and trained by the OEMs. A good reseller will have complete confidence in their rebuilds and provide a comprehensive warranty that may exceed the OEM warranty in duration and response time.We all know of the savings to be enjoyed by purchasing a used automobile yet we still but new cars for reasons of pride. Capital expenditures should not be an emotional decision. Gather as much information as possible to compare both new used equipment that will accomplish your goals now and into the future. And make sure your supplier will provide the warranty and service you would expect from new equipment. Then sit back, relax, enjoy your enhanced bottom line and revel in the fact that you made the right decision.

Why Discussion Fails to Produce Results in Meetings

Why Discussion Fails to Produce Results in Meetings

Most people use discussion for their meetings. And it seldom works. Heres why.1) No structureDiscussion is like conversation in that it is a free-form dialogue without any direction. Each person responds to what the last person said. While this can produce entertaining party chatter, it seldom leads to agreements or decisions. In fact, in a meeting, discussion can even make things worse. For example, suppose you said:"We need to talk about the budget."And then someone says:"Is that the one we approved last month?""And my department is doing fine.""Oh yeah, what about the new computer that you just bought.""Did you hear about the new operating system?""My dog had an operation last week."And so on . . . .This happens because discussion is a divergent process. Each idea elicits a response from someone else. It's like a conversation where no specific result is expected.2) No equalityDiscussion favors those who think quickly. It also favors those who are loud, expressive, intimidating, entertaining, and important. As a result the more aggressive participants do all of the talking while the more reflective ones watch.This is bad for many reasons. First, aggressive speakers can easily stampede everyone else into accepting unworkable ideas. Next, the more thoughtful participants withdraw, which deprives everyone from hearing their ideas. Thus, a discussion is like an engine that runs without brakes on only half its cylinders.3) No AchievementAs you might expect, discussion seldom leads to anything useful. True, the talkers will feel energized by what they said. And the others may feel amazed by what they heard. But nothing else happened. No decisions were made. No solutions were found.Discussion is the least effective and least efficient process for a meeting.So what works?Group processes that include everyone and obtain results through consensus. Learn more about Effective Meetings at: http://www.squidoo.com/OneGreatMeeting/

Invoice Factoring - How to Finance your Company Without Debt

Invoice Factoring - How to Finance your Company Without Debt

There are few bigger challenges for business owners and managers than waiting 30 to 60 days to get paid by their customers. Although large businesses can usually afford it, smaller businesses cant afford the wait. As a matter of fact, waiting to get paid on their invoices can create cash flow problems that affect the owners ability to meet payroll or pay the companys bills. This problem can be more frustrating if the business has a number of orders that it cannot fulfill because its cash is tied up in unpaid invoices.How can invoice factoring help you?Invoice factoring, also known as accounts receivable factoring, is a financial tool that allows small business owners to capitalize on the power of their slow paying invoices. It allows you to turn your invoices into immediate cash, enabling you to fund your business operations. Although it is not a well-known fact, invoices from strong credit worthy commercial clients are excellent collateral, especially for factoring companies. Although most banks wont take invoices factoring companies are more than willing to provide you with financing based on them. This makes it an ideal financing vehicle for small and mid size businesses, as well as knowledge-based companies and employee intensive firms.How does "invoice factoring" work?As opposed to most banks that lend you money against hard collateral, invoice factoring companies buy your invoices outright. The factoring company buys your invoices and provides you with funds immediately, while they wait to get paid by your customers. Factoring is best described with an example:1. Lets say that you sell services to Company A and Company B. As soon as you provide the services, you invoice them.2. At the same time, you send copies of the invoices to the factoring company, who buys them and provides you with an advance payment for them.3. The factoring company waits to get paid by your customers. Once paid, any remaining funds are remitted to your company.The invoice factoring process can be repeated every time you invoice, providing you with a flexible line of financing that grows with your business.How much will an invoice factor advance my business?Factoring transactions are commonly done as a two-installment sale. The first installment is called the advance and is paid to you as soon as you submit the invoices. Advances can range anywhere from 60% on the low end up to 90% of the gross value of the invoices. The average advance is about 75%. The remaining installment, called the rebate, is remitted to you once the invoice is paid. Factoring fees are deducted from the rebate.The cost of invoice factoringThe cost of a factoring transaction is determined by three criteria. First, the credit worthiness of your customers. Second, the length of time that your invoices take to get paid. Lastly, the monthly factored volume. Your cost, actually called a discount, can be as low as 1.5% or as high as 12% per transaction depending on how you fit the previous criteria.How can I determine if invoice factoring will help me?Generally speaking, invoice factoring will help you if you have a business that has reasonable profit margins or is growing quickly. Mid size companies with 20% or more profit margins or large companies with 15% profit margins can usually do well with "accounts receivable factoring" .

Staff or Employee Scheduling Balances Several Requirements

Staff or employee scheduling or rostering relates employees, workplaces and work times. A workplace schedule lists the employees who will work there at different times. The times might be specific hours, dates, weeks or even months.A workplace can be retail store, manufacturing facility, head office, or even an external place for field sales persons. The key idea is that there should be clarity of who will work where and when. This would help the employee to know what is expected of him or her. And managers would know where an employee is expected to report for work on a given day and time.Rostering employees is not as simple as it might seem. You cannot just create an employee schedule by selecting any employee and including him in the roster. You have to balance a number of things, such as employee vacation plans, skill requirements for work being scheduled, employee unavailability owing to sickness, and so on.Different Kinds of Employee SchedulesEmployee rosters are typically created in a grid form with columns and rows.There are daily schedules where employees are typically listed in chronological order based on the scheduled times they will report for work.Weekly and monthly schedules list employees in the first column and dates (or days of the week) in the headings of the other columns. Against each employee under each date the scheduled working hours for that employee are indicated. In this kind of schedule, the employees are listed in alphabetical order for ease of finding a particular employee.Who Creates Employee Schedules?In smaller organizations, the owner himself or the manager of the employee creates the work rosters. In larger organizations, there could be a scheduling specialist in the HR department responsible for creating employee and workplace schedules.In these days, scheduling or rostering software is used for efficient employee scheduling. In addition to timesavings, rostering software can alert the person preparing the workplace schedule when there is a conflict between employee vacation time, sick time or compensation time with work time.Employee scheduling software can also accommodate differing requirements such as flexible working hours, optimizing worker, equipment and vehicle utilization, and better control over field personnel.The key benefit of using rostering software is that it can work extremely fast compared to humans, and at the same time consider many factors before scheduling each employee to a workplace at a particular time. Humans would find it impossible to handle this kind of complexity and produce timely employee schedules without causing problems with the scheduling.A rostering software can also revise an already prepared employee schedule quickly if it becomes necessary, as when a scheduled employee reports sick.The software can additionally accumulate the schedules in a database and analyze them for various purposes. The analysis can also help current scheduling by looking at each employee's work history so far.ConclusionPreparing a staff or employee schedule or roster involves balancing several requirements. For example, the scheduled work time must not conflict with an employee's scheduled vacation time. Similarly, if an employee is absent sick, the person cannot be scheduled until he or she is back. A rostering software can handle the complexity involved in employee scheduling and produce dependable schedules in short time.

How To Use An Action Plan

Having a plan and executing that plan are two different things.Planning is good but it won't get you anywhere.Execution is good but without a plan, you won't get to where you want to be.I find that many online business owners tend to lean toward one and not the other. Which category do you fall into?While most people tend toward one or the other, it's the successful combination of planning and executing that will actually make a business successful. Help yourself by planning and executing brilliantly. Here's how to create a simple but effective action plan:1. First, get a blank piece of paper and a pen.2. Decide where you are. Pick an area that you want to focus on (for example, monthly income or number of clicks to get one sale). Be sure to identify a specific area of your business and then identify a specific number you want to work on. For example, if your current monthly income is $3000, write that at the top of your page.3. Decide where you want to be. Using the same area of business and the same measurement (dollars or clicks or whatever you chose in step 1), write out where you want to be. If you want your monthly income in six months to be $6000 per month, write that at the bottom of the page.4. Now connect the dots! On the space on your page between where you are and where you want to be, create steps with real, practical ideas that help move you toward your dream. If it's a simple matter of only two or three steps, that's all you need. However, more than likely, you need to fill your page with ideas to help you move from "now" to "soon." Some ideas for the example we've been looking at might include: increase prices by 10%, try upselling customers into a higher priced product, do half an hour of cold calling each morning, etc. These items should be specific action steps that you need to take, not general ideas you have. Be sure to assign due dates for each one so you have a timeframe to work in.5. Now, take those action items, and implement them into your weekly planner.6. Then simply execute! Do one step at a time, each day, every day, until you've reached your time limit listed at the bottom of the page. Did you achieve your goal? Did you miss the mark? If so, how close did you come?Once you get into the habit of doing these regularly, you'll find that you'll do them more and more often for a variety of business and personal goals.

Summary

One of the valuable tools in the Six Sigma toolbox is Design of Experiments. Design of Experiment (DOE) is a structured technique that helps to uncover relationships often hidden inside mountains of data. Within the structure of a Six Sigma project, Design of Experiments is a structured approach to identifying the factors within a process that contribute to particular effects, then creating meaningful tests that verify possible improvement ideas or theories.Most of us are...