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Teaching Six Sigma In A Course Project

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Manufacturing Engineering Technology Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1175.1 - 13.1175.10



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Paper Authors


Wei Zhan Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Wei Zhan is an Assistant Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zhan earned his D.Sc. in Systems Science from Washington University in 1991. From 1991 to 1995 he worked at University of California, San Diego and Wayne State University. From 1995 to 2006, he worked in the automotive industry as a system engineer. In 2006 he joined the Electronics Engineering Technology faculty at Texas A&M. His research activities include control system theory and applications to industry, system engineering, robust design, modeling, simulation, quality control, and optimization.

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Jay Porter Texas A&M University

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Jay R. Porter joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 1998 and is currently the Program Director for the Electronics and Telecommunications Programs. He received the BS degree in electrical engineering (1987), the MS degree in physics (1989), and the Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1993) from Texas A&M University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Teaching Six Sigma in a Course Project

Abstract This paper discusses the experience of teaching Six Sigma as a course project in a junior level Electronics Engineering Technology course. Instead of using a lecture only style of teaching, the Six Sigma methodology was applied during a course project. Over a period of seven weeks, the students learned and practiced Six Sigma theory and processes. They followed the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process to improve a given design. Six Sigma tools such as Critical to Quality (CTQ), Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Failure Mode Effects and Analysis (FMEA) and Critical Path Method (CPM) were introduced to the students. The business aspect of the product development process was added to the technical design contents to make the project more like a real world experience for the students. A survey conducted after the completion of the project showed the effectiveness of the Six Sigma teaching.

1. Introduction The name Six Sigma is a statistics term. Six Sigma1 is a structured, disciplined, data- driven methodology/process where the focus is placed on improving business performance using tools with an emphasis on statistical analysis. For any product, it is desirable to reduce the variation of certain measurements as illustrated in Figure 1. A Six Sigma process is one that has 3.4 defects or less per million opportunities. Even though statistics is a major part of the Six Sigma methodology, Six Sigma is more of a design process that can improve the bottom line for corporations rather than just a statistical tool used to reduce product variation.

Figure 1. Improving the quality of product by reducing the variation

The Six Sigma process consists of five stages: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC)2. The purpose, scope and goals of the project are specified in the Define stage. The process being studied is also identified in this stage. In the Measure stage, a data collection plan is created, and measurement system assessment is conducted. Process, data, and potential root causes are analyzed in the Analyze stage. Solutions are then analyzed, tried out and implemented in the Improve stage. The results are validated and the improved process is standardized in the Control stage. Six Sigma provides a systematic methodology for solving engineering problems and improving the quality of products. It is much more effective than the trial-and-error method. There are several key aspects of the Six Sigma methodology that distinguish it

Zhan, W., & Porter, J. (2008, June), Teaching Six Sigma In A Course Project Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3219

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