Your 6 Sigma project has started and you have completed all the actions in the Define phase, determined the output and inputs of your problem. You also reserved a month for collecting this data. At the end of the month you believe you are at the beginning of the Analyse phase.

At this very moment I would like to talk about a few things that may happen to you :

No data available:

  • The operator did not collect the data you requested from her

  • The IT expert who will extract the data from the system got married and went on a honeymoon.

  • You found out that the system that was supposed to collect the data is disconnected from the power

  • Purchase must be made from the supplier in order to receive the data from the system that needs to collect the data.

  • Of the 20 columns of data to be collected, 18 could be collected

Data is not ready:

  • Data from two separate databases must be combined in a single database

  • Data were collected at different frequencies (some daily, some hourly)

  • Data not exported to tabular format

Data is not suitable:

  • The measuring system you use does not provideaccurate results

  • The measuring system you use does not provide precise measurement results

  • The required variability cannot be analyzed due to the lack of subgrouping

  • Data not prepared compatible with tabular format

Data Collection Plan

We use a very simple tool called Data Collection Plan to detect these situations in advance. This tool works just like the PDCA cycle, preventing the above 3 typical events from happening to you. To summarize briefly:


What data will be collected (input and output)?

What are the types of data?

What are the specifications of the data?


How will the data be collected?

Who will collect the data?

How often will it be collected?

What about the measuring system?


Has the measuring system been validated? Is it calibrated?

Is the measuring system variability suitable? (MSA)

Is the process capability appropriate?


Are the data collected appropriate?

For this reason, doing a mental workout on the Data Collection Plan for at least one hour before starting the measurements will prevent a month's loss in some cases. If there are similar events happened to you, we will be happy if you can add to the comments, to help us improve the article.

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