There are many tools available in the philosophy of six sigma and all of them share one thing in common. A structured approach to problem solving. A structured approach will have application no matter what the nature of the problem or where in the organization it might fall.
By following a discipline an effective solution to a problem can be found efficiently and at minimal cost with long lasting effects. This paper uses a specific problem of variation in design that was discovered in a brand new application of an existing technology. The form of problem solving is known by many names such as TOPs, Brainstorming, PDCA, and other acronyms but they are all designed to do the same thing, organize the thinking process and structure the approach to determine the final solution without guessing. In this instance the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach was applied to determine the root cause of the variation of a hydraulic valve.
The solution turned out to be a two-part design solution providing both variation control and robustness to the application. The manufacturer was able to take the existing product to new levels of performance never before experienced or anticipated.