Workshop on Teaching Process Improvement
Using a Virtual Manufacturing Process

Stefan Steiner

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Saal 10

In this workshop we explore the use of a virtual manufacturing process to improve teaching of process improvement and variation reduction techniques and methodologies. The software can be accessed at the URL (login with Student ID: guest01 & Student Number: 00000001). The virtual process simulates a manufacturing process for automobile camshafts and has a number of processing steps and many inputs. The web interface allows a wide variety of process investigations including many types of observational and experimental plans.

The virtual process has been used successfully for a number of years. Each team (assigned a different version of the virtual process) is required to plan and analyze a series of process investigations to first learn about how the process works (e.g. identify important inputs, find the nature of the output variation, etc.) and ultimately how to reduce variation in the final output. Also, to simulate reality, teams are given a budget and information on costs associated with different investigations. Both university students and industrial personnel find interacting with the virtual process enjoyable and report finding it a very helpful learning aid.

In this workshop, we illustrate the virtual process and its use with the Statistical Engineering algorithm (Steiner and MacKay, 2005) for addressing chronic variation problems in manufacturing processes. The virtual process is also well suited to aid in teaching other quality improvement systems such as Six Sigma.

Highlights of teaching with the virtual process:

  • Allows quick exploration (i.e. during a short course) of process improvement ideas in a realistic environment without risk or cost.
  • Forces participants to think about the details of each process investigation, i.e. when and how many parts to select, what characteristics to measure/change, etc.
  • Models the iterative and sequential nature of real problem solving
  • Encourages the use of process knowledge gained in earlier investigations to help plan sensible new ones.


The workshop will be highly interactive. You as a member of a team will have the opportunity to interact with the virtual process. This will test and challenge your problem solving skills as well as demonstrate the benefit of using the simulation. This course is targeted at consultants, lecturers and others who teach process improvement to university students or industry personnel.

Steiner, S.H. and MacKay R.J. (2005), Statistical Engineering: An Algorithm for Reducing Variation in Manufacturing Processes, Quality Press, American Society for Quality, Milwaukee, WI.

Workshop Leader Biography

Stefan Steiner is an Associate Professor in the Statistics and Actuarial Science department, and director of the Business and Industrial Statistics Research Group (BISRG) at the University of Waterloo. He received his Ph.D. in Business Administration (Management Science/Systems) from McMaster University in 1994. Stefan’s research interests include industrial statistics, quality improvement and process monitoring and control. Stefan is also an active industrial consultant. He has worked together with a large variety of firms, including General Motors Canada, Toyota, Nortel, Seagrams, and Wescast.

The registration fee is € 100.

Workshop on Business Analysis

Christopher McCollin


The day long session will run through identifying business issues, Kano analysis, setting targets and a simulated Quality Function Deployment exercise on a company. This workshop is based on some of the work of more than 200 final year and Postgraduate Business students who have been employed in various organisations during their placement year or full time employment and aspects of this workshop have been used in a number of consultancies to major organisations.

Participants will contribute by taking roles in the company and customer base. Registered participants will receive the notes in advance so that they can understand the roles they may wish to take.

The registration fee, covering materials and organisation costs, is € 150.

Draft Indicative Content:

  • Morning: Overview
  • Critical Success Factors (CSFs), Key Process Indicators (KPIs) and The Kano Model
  • Syndicate 1: Description of Organisation
  • Coffee
  • Methods of Data Collection and Tools
  • Description of the House (Part 1)
  • Syndicate 2: Building the House
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon: Description of the House (Part 2)
  • Syndicate 3: Completing the House
  • Coffee available
  • Recommendations and bringing it all together
  • Feedback

Workshop on Six Sigma in Health Care

Shirley Coleman and Ron Kenett



Give a practical overview of six sigma, why it is important especially in health care, how it is developing worldwide, pros and cons in the public opinion, what to look out for in the health care application, case studies, practical examples, accreditation issues, plan of action, continuing professional development


  • Introductions and aims for the workshop
  • Six Sigma update including background and current trends
  • Overview of DMAIC and SPC
  • What is special about Health Care: group exercise
  • Case study from NHS in UK
  • Case study from SSM in the US
  • How to select good Six Sigma projects - the prioritisation matrix
  • What works and what can go wrong
  • Small group work applying the ideas to specific example Health Care issues


Statistical practitioners interested in six sigma in health care as

  • trainers
  • active recipients
  • dispassionate bystanders.

Pre-workshop preparation:

Participants are expected to have considered the way continual improvement is currently carried out in their workplace, the advantages and short-comings of methods used.

Quality Assurance:

The workshop is presented under the quality assurance of the ENBIS Academy. A certificate of attendance will be issued to all participants.

Workshop trainers are:

Ron Kenett, President of ENBIS and CEO of KPA Ltd., Raanana, Israel. Ron was a special consultant to SSM health care system, the first health care organization that won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the US.

Shirley Coleman, past President of ENBIS and Technical Director of ISRU at the University of Newcastle, Newcastle, UK, who has carried out six sigma training in the NHS as well as in manufacturing, process and financial sectors.

The registration fee is € 100.