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Case Studies


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1. A European subsidiary of a U.S. supplier to the paper industry embarked on a Six Sigma initiative. Before the "wave" of Black Belts had completed their training, one project alone had saved the company over $500,000 in increased capacity.

2. An engineering organization of a large tele-communications company
applied Design of Experiments (DOE) methodology to its key processes and new product designs. Armed with critical new information, the company began to win new multi-million dollar contracts from its customers by demonstrating high quality and performance as well as a mastery of its technology. The
use of DOE is now considered a strategic competitive advantage by the organization.

3. A product testing organization within a microchip foundry was incurring 18% retesting of its packaged parts. Through a novel application of statistical process control (SPC), testing errors were separated from true failed parts leading to identification of the causes of the test errors. Re-testing has dropped to 1.5% saving over $250,000 per quarter.

4. A freight claim department in a U.S. equipment manufacturer implemented a Six Sigma initiative to reduce excessive costs. Following the DMAIC roadmap the initial Green Belt project returned over $200,000 in freight claims in the first year. In addition, this project significantly reduced the cycle time for providing the customer with replacement equipment.

5. A domestic circuit board manufacturer, acting as an alpha site for a European process chemistry vendor, applied DOE to the process. After completing two experiments, an operating window providing a process yield of 95% was realized. According to the supplier, the new yield level significantly exceeds that of any other user of the same chemistry worldwide.

6. A pulp and paper processor used DOE and statistical modeling to determine the optimum recipe for an expensive bleaching process. The results led to such dramatic improvement of the process that the knowledge generated from the project is considered proprietary by the company.

7. Using DOE, an engineer supporting a product testing organization conducted a clever experiment demonstrating that a novel approach for product testing could be employed. The new approach has reduced testing 85%, increased yield 50%, and saved an estimated $8000 per production unit. The new testing method is considered highly proprietary by the company.

8. By successfully reducing manufacturing costs through a variety of DOE applications, a computer peripherals company has been able to increase sales and production while fighting off high-end competitors' attempts to squeeze them out through price reductions.

9. A nagging $300,000 per year scrap problem in a circuit board fabrication plant was finally solved after a process engineer conducted a designed experiment that identified three interacting causes. After changing the board design and process, scrap was quickly reduced to negligible levels.

10. The accounts payable organization of a large manufacturer routinely processes more than one billion dollars of invoices annually. By recently implementing random sampling of invoices to check for errors, along with SPC monitoring, a large administrative cost has been reduced while minimizing exposure to invoice quality problems.

11. A large manufacturer faced a serious class action suit filed by a group of managers. The U.S. government asked for redress until a multi-factor statistical analysis of the salary data demonstrated that the claim had no factual basis. The suit was eventually dropped.

12. As technicians traveled to Japan to deal with complaints from a demanding customer, a small team of engineers in the U.S. conducted a multi-variable experiment that conclusively identified the cause of a nagging problem. The solution prompted increased customer confidence in the company's ability to respond to its needs, resulting in new purchases over its Japanese rivals.

13. A microchip fabrication company implemented SPC which, together with a process change, doubled final product yield and eased the company into profitability.

14. A testing protocol for assuring the quality of material shipped to a customer was destroying over $250,000 of "good" product per year. Through negotiating with the customer, a two-stage acceptance sampling procedure was implemented, reducing the cost to under $25,000.

15. By applying process characterization methodology using statistical techniques, a supplier to the semiconductor industry raised its final product yields to the highest levels ever achieved in the company. The work was accomplished by a group of newly-hired, inexperienced engineers.

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