Part 2: Creating Your Six Sigma template – 4m

(If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

Next, we will add a 4m section to our template.   We use the 4m to get a good understanding of where the team feels there are issues within the current process.   It also lets them focus their thoughts within a single category at a time – meaning we fill in the Man first, then the Machine, then the Materials, then the Methods – ensuring we document everything within the current category before moving on to the next category.

For us, the 4m (Man, Machine, Materials, Methods) translates more to the business categories “Sales staff/Operations Staff/Admins/Management/Production”, “Computers/Servers/Phones/Technology/Software”, “Collateral/Presentations/Instructions/Catalogs/Website”, and “Processes/Tasks/Required Action/Expediting”.  We feel this provides the team with a good definition of “what” to put inside each category.

To add this to our template, we will add a simple Table tool to our template-in-progress.  First, click on the Add Tool button, then select Table.

This should insert a new table into your template.  However, StreamWork always adds a new tool to the “top”.  No worries, we will simply click on the “Move To Bottom” option, which will move it to the end of the template.

Once at the bottom, we will retitle the table “4m – Identify All Current Pain Points”, as well as rename the column headers “Man”, “Machine”, “Method”, and “Materials”.  The final table should look like this:  (Note: on a few occasions, the column-rename function wasn’t working as expected.  You may need to play with it, but in the end I double-clicked on the column headers, typed in my new title, then clicked on the cell just below it to “save” the change)

Finally, we want to setup an Action Item to make sure the team can keep track of “when” it gets filled out.  We can do so from the Action Items sidebar on the Table (like before).  Remember to make sure it is unassigned.

Finally, give your users any specific instructions on filling out the 4m by using the “About” tab.

Thats it for the 4m.  You can now move on to the next section, the Affinity diagram.