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About rajesh.sampathkumar

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    Assistant Manager

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  • Name
    Rajesh Sampathkumar
  • Company
    Caterpillar India
  • Designation
    Manager-Engineering Black Belt


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  1. Dear SJ, MGPP seems to be a very interesting approach to generating a family of products too. A typical road map to product dominance in constantly changing markets could involve building better process capability within a process by using DMAIC tools that cater to ever improving design methods and designs and ever-reducing product cost per feature (within the reasonable bounds of what is possible for a certain design). A question I have here is: how does one set the bar higher by using the DMAIC framework for product development projects where we are using DMADV, and how does one set expectations at the process level for such challenging product development projects? --Rajesh S
  2. rajesh.sampathkumar

    How Lean Six Sigma Impacts Your Future?

    Some ways in which Lean Six Sigma has changed my thinking: Helping me systematically think about what "improvement" means in different contexts. When we hear the words, "this system should improve" or "this product should become better", we may think of one or two ideas based on our understanding of the process or product. Most of the time, we don't have a structure in such thought. Six Sigma allows us to think through how we would define such a problem as a business problem, how to take it into the statistical domain or analytical domain, and how to find solutions. This is a very basic and fundamental change, which has impacted the way I do every project I take up. Lean Six Sigma helped me personally improve my own speed and efficiency of doing things. My colleagues and I developed systems like "personal kanbans" and used 5S in our workplaces. This allowed us to improve the way we work, and spend every minute of our time in a useful, productive way, and get the most out of our jobs and opportunities. A stepping stone to leadership. Lean Six Sigma allows people with leadership potential to hone the way they think problems through and implement large scale change. Without the tools of six sigma, I would not have transitioned from an engineering professional to someone who has skills in leading teams, initiatives and programs in Fortune 50 organizations.
  3. Found a great resource which is a primer to the world of TRIZ - Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. This is a philosophy of problem solving which originated in Russia under Prof. Genrich Altshuller, during the Cold War. After the USSR broke up, the method was popularized around the world and has become part of Six Sigma curriculums. Here's a PDF which describes with examples, each of the 40 different principles used in TRIZ. Original link is given below, and file is attached too. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/~jps7/Lecture%20notes/TRIZ%2040%20Principles.pdf
  4. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Six Sigma Tools In Software Industry

    Here are a couple of use cases for Design of Experiments. Suppose you have a software development team that execute projects of varying complexity using different software design approaches, with different team sizes, and the primary measure of project success is the project cost. The response is, in this case, project cost. You can use DOE to run pilot projects of varying complexity, design approach and team size (three factors). If you have two levels for each factor (more complex, less complex; two competing approaches, and a team size of say 2 versus another team size of 4), you could conduct 2^3 = 8 experiments for a full factorial DOE. Such an approach would be valuable when setting up the optimal project execution methodology for different projects from a client, or from different clients. Let's say you are building a cluster for large scale computing, and want to understand how many processors to use, how much RAM to buy, how many CPUs per motherboard, etc. If you have a simulator which helps compete Gigaflops (computational power), you could plug in these factors at different levels, and conduct full / fractional factorial experiments. You can use response surface analysis (RSA) to determine the optimal settings in terms of cost, and computational power. Essentially, wherever the performance of a system has to be optimized - and this could be a system of networked computers, or a system of people executing a project - you can use DOE. Here are a couple of examples of Regression Analysis: Suppose you want to understand the relationship between project duration and project cost in IT projects. These are two continuous variables, and you can collect past data for project duration (or manhours estimated) and project cost, and understand how this varies from client to client, or from region to region. Suppose you want to understand revenue per employee and its correlation with cost per employee. You could plot the revenues for various employees by project on one axis, and the costs from respective employee GL codes on another axis. This would allow you to assess which employees are adding more value to your organization, as a trend line. Such studies can be done in IT specific projects for tools like ANOVA, Hypothesis tests and other core statistical analyses. The key thing to remember in all these cases, is the fact that you require enough reliable data from each business situation, and that the costs of collecting additional data should be understood and accounted for in different business situations... since all data collection comes at a cost to the organization.
  5. rajesh.sampathkumar

    How Standardized Are Lean Six Sigma Methods?

    Interesting line of thought, and I've been asked a similar question by Green Belts before when I've taught in training programmes. The question in my case was: How do we ensure that people certified in a 6 Sigma course in one company are using the tools and methods of 6 Sigma as well as in some other organization. The answer, would, of course depend on many factors. Some things to consider: 6 Sigma projects are always team activities and involve the skills that various team members bring to the table. Some of these skills are - data analysis, subject matter expertise, leadership and coordination skills, ability to think creatively and out of the box, etc., which all become relevant in different parts of the same 6 Sigma project Some tools are commonly used across diverse 6 Sigma implementation. Constructing a project charter, process maps, sample size calculations, hypothesis testing, RCA using Fishbone diagrams, CE matrices, FMEA, DOE, Pugh Matrices for controlled convergence and control charts are some of the universally used tools. In addition, there may be project-specific tools and heuristics, which a lot of companies develop depending on their processes and systems. Some of these other tools could be QFD, data mining approaches, robust optimization algorithms, Monte Carlo and other methods of simulation, etc There is no gold standard that says that this is how things ought to be done, when it comes to, say, process maps, or fishbone diagrams. With methods like hypothesis testing, which have been well developed in statistics, there is more certainty on what can be done with data and what kinds of tests reveal what things about the data. However, good judgment is needed whenever we use heuristic tools or subjective tools like CE matrices, fishbone diagrams or Pugh matrices. This is because by nature, they're team activities, which require the expertise of subject matter experts to reveal and analyze root causes, or validate solutions. As Vishvadeep has pointed out in his post above there are standards like ISO 31000 for risk management, and 31010 additionally. Similarly, there are standards and best practices like eSCM, ITIL and so on which address different aspects of organizational systems. These can be taken as cues for how to construct systems, for benchmarking, setting up measurement systems, and so on. However, the standards in themselves don't provide numerical certainty that your approach is "consistent". The creativity inherent in 6 Sigma projects and application of tools/methods is what separates the wheat from the chaff in 6 Sigma. You'll agree that a lot of the emphasis on tools and methods given in BSS courses are focused on these aspects. Creativity can be learned, however, especially using TRIZ. Methods like that can be used for solutions I heard a quote once by a colleague - that Black Belt should embrace change also, and not only certainty. Certainty is great for ensuring results get realized. But Black Belts (and Six Sigma professional in general) are change agents. If someone else can make the same difference we can to the organization, we become irrelevant. Creativity is the driving force for this differentiation, in my view. So, unless we're creative, regardless of how much we understand about 6 Sigma and how persistent we are about bringing change, we may not be able to apply these methods in organizations successfully.
  6. All, Here is a technical paper on adaptive randomization in design of experiments: http://www.bepress.c...andersonbiostat
  7. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Pareto Analysis

    A Pareto analysis doesn't necessarily yield an 80:20 split in effects and causes.
  8. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Does Cost Reduction Project Qualify As A Dmaic Project?

    Vikram, If the primary CTQ of your project has been identified as being the cost of operations in a certain area or department, it is possible to define an appropriate secondary CTQ and use the DMAIC approach. The project can qualify as a Green Belt project as long as too many aspects of the process cost are not dependent on unpredictable external factors (which would then require a Black Belt project to be initiated with multiple CTQs in a cross functional vein).
  9. rajesh.sampathkumar

    How to determine if project is GB/BB?

    Srikanth, thanks for the reply. Indeed, stakeholder involvement is essential to ensure smooth functioning of the project team, a dedication of resource time from the departments and of course, to close out projects and ensure that control methods implemented are adhered to.
  10. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Holding Black Belts Accountable for Positive Project Results

    Black belts do cover many of the organizational functions as project managers in organizations. While the responsibility for completion of projects at the cross-functional level to see some tangible results is important for the BB, it is essential that higher management be responsible for the entire deployment. Because of higher management's conversion of the financials, cost of poor quality, voice of customer and voice of business aspects into critical to customer characteristics by the Balanced Scorecard, it is essential that the clarity at a higher management level and at the champion level be 100% in order to ensure best results from BB projects. Buy in with program managers, project engineers/executives across different departments is a requisite condition for project success.
  11. rajesh.sampathkumar

    How to determine if project is GB/BB?

    Some interesting responses to the question there. I have the following questions: 1. Is the GB/BB distinction based only on the number of primary CTQs and the nature of CTQs (intra-functional or cross functional)? 2. As someone has suggested above, is time taken for the project to play any role? I remember VK explaining the project selection - as strictly being a process where CTQs are adhered to (so that GB projects may in some cases be longer than BB projects) 3. In the early stages of an SS deployment, is it wise to have Black Belts perform all project activities, so that problems can be accurately scoped and so that scope creep, cross-functionality of projects and such organizational aspects do not become a problem?
  12. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Convincing others in the company about Six Sigma

    Dear Vishwadeep, Companies in India rarely have a dedication to Six Sigma - it is often difficult to get managers to authorise training in LSS methods, because it is not something they see as a methodology that can help them. More than anything, the paucity of time when working on projects of high value means that commitment at the highest level is required for any SS activities. I hope this situation changes as SS becomes more popular. From my experience, many companies in India are yet to wake up to the true power of SS methods - and they're often impeded by management thinking that doesn't enable executives to use LSS methodologies.
  13. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Where Did You Use Mistake Proofing Last?

    The most recent area I used mistake proofing was in building product configurators. The product configurators were built to convert the bill of materials (BOMs) definition process for various product families for a client, from a manual process to an automated process. In addition to generating BOMs based on product knowledge and engineers' tacit knowledge by converting such knowledge into logical rules, the configurator was able to warn users when they chose incompatible features, which then formed the basis for a second round of improvements. The project was part of an Engineering Lean initiative at an MNC's product development division. The cycle time reduction because of this lean initiative was immense and brought many tangible benefits.
  14. Cisco (and other technology companies) use Telepresence technology for communicating between employees across different locations. Telepresence seems to be an example of technology that is enabling Lean in organizations. Please take a look at the link below: />http://goo.gl/OqrM Please share your ideas and comment on how this can be used in different industries to reduce non-value-added time.
  15. rajesh.sampathkumar

    Six Sigma in Aviation

    Six Sigma pricing - feature based pricing for aircraft ticketing is a potential idea.