Mooooving Toward Six Sigma

Article

Tylutki, Thomas P.; Fox, Danny G.   (2002, ASQ)   Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Quality Progress    Vol. 35    No. 2
QICID: 15302    February 2002    pp. 34-41
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Article Abstract

A modern dairy farm is a complex, highly integrated system that is capital and labor intensive with low profit margins. One of the largest expenses is purchased feed, yet current quality management practices on these farms fail to make use of analytical techniques that could lower costs, decrease nutrient loss to the environment, and improve safety while maintaining consistent milk production. Researchers at Cornell University selected a nearby dairy farm as a model for the design of a feeding system quality management program. The current model for many dairy farms and their technical consultants is step four in the Six Sigma process - problem solving. True Six Sigma quality, however, requires long-term commitment in an industry that is currently operating between one and two sigma. The design, measure, analyze, improve, and control model was chosen by the Cornell team for the development of a Six Sigma quality management program. Farm employees are working with management to develop standard procedures for each area in the feeding system, and as the project progresses, Six Sigma staff positions are beginning to take form. Reinforcing the farm's commitment to continuous improvement is the basis for all future work. A sidebar article provides dairy terms and definitions.

Keywords

Six Sigma,Root cause analysis (RCA),Agriculture,Case study,Statistical quality control (SQC),Variation,Continuous improvement (CI),Cost management,Cultural change,Commitment,Flowcharts,Facility management


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