improving TrainCo PERFORMANCE


Name Net ID

Name Net ID

Name Net ID

Name Net ID



(Do this part at the end of the Six sigma project when you complete the Control stage) Explain company’s problem and it’s current situation. Explain how you applied Six Sigma to improve the problem. Share some details of your findings and how you could improve the situation in the company.


This project focuses on the improvement of TrainCo customer’s satisfaction level, specifically regarding the delays on arrival and departure of trains. This phase aims a better comprehension of the problem, setting target, scope process and considering voice of customer to seek the best possible approach to deliver a better result. The Define phase helps to have a better understanding of the problem, before investment on the project.

Project sponsor

TrainCo’s CEO

Project team

Process step

Represented by

From department





Schedule Planning

Team Member





Process Owner




Train operator

Team Members



Train staff

Team Member




Train operator

Team Members


Stopping and walkout of the train


Train staff

Team Member


Overall Process


Board of Directors

Project Sponsor



Swedish Railway System

External Data Source



Six Sigma Team

Project Manager



Six Sigma Team

Six Sigma Temporary Consultants


Background and Qualitative Problem Statement

Explain, in a few lines, the company’s background and the problem that is brought to you based on the assignment document.

Defect Comments

Defect 1 = Arriving with delay of more than 15 minutes to the last station

Defect 2 = Earlier departure or departure with more than 15 minutes delay

What is the formula for Big Y2 based on the assignment document and the Defect 2 comment above?

Quantitative Problem Statement

Problem 1. According to customers’ opinion, more than half of the arriving trains to the last station have delays.

Problem 2. According to customer’s opinion, more than 30% of the trains depart from the stations earlier than the scheduled time.

Quantitative Goal Statement

More than 90% of the trains should arrive to the last station with less than 15 minutes delay. In other words:

Y1 ≥ …

More than 95% of trains should departure between the scheduled time and 15 minutes after the scheduled time. In other words:

Y2 ≥ …

Scope and Boundaries

Project Scope: Transferring Passengers between New York, NY and Schenectady, NY.

Out of scope: control of the weather, change the resources (trains, rails, train traffic, etc).

Within scope: Optimize the process with the resources already possessed i.e. trains, railways, train traffic and etc., scheduling, maintenance planning and human resource management.

Project boundaries:

Time: 4-09-2021 to 4-23-2021

Resource: Possessed trains

Information: Only the data got from TrainCo’s CEO


Improve client satisfaction, specifically towards the delay complaints and control the process between specification limits required by TrainCo’s CEO.

Less than 10% of the arriving trains to the end station will have delay more than 15 minutes.

No trains leave the stations before the scheduled time and less than 5% of the departing trains will have delay of more than 15 minutes.

Business Benefit Estimation

Skip this part, as not much information is given in the assignment instructions.

You can, however, use some arbitrary estimation; for example, based on the information of the assignment document we know that there has been 20% reduction in the sales of the tickets.

You are not given the total number of passengers per day for the trains, but you can assume a value.

E.g. before the reduction of ticket sales, let’s assume that each day on average the company sells 2000 tickets and the cost of each ticket is $50 on average. So the daily ticket sales is about (2000*$50 = ) $100,000. So, 20% of the total sales is $20,000 which is the daily loss of revenue per day for the company because of the delays.

If you can fix the delay issue and bring these passengers back to your company, you potentially can bring back $20,000 of revenue per day ($20,000 * 22 working days per month = $440,000 per month revenue); this could be the potential business benefit of this project. 

In general, remember that most of the times it is possible to do a back-of-the-napkin calculation and estimate a monetary value as I did above. 

Project Charter

Fill out the form of the project charter template that I have shared with you and copy it here. (You can copy an image of it to make things look cleaner). To fill different sections of the form, you should use the information given in the assignment document and also the define section of this document.

Over-all process map (SIPOC)

Voice of the Customer (VOC)




delighters =
wishes and unknown delighters (surprises)

Place to sit
Free Wifi
High-quality materials inside the train
Train arriving ahead of schedule
Climatization of wagons (AC or heating)
Good money returning policy (refunding)


more is better =
specified demands and expectations

Wagon not too crowded (place to stand)
Train arriving within 8% delay (tolerance)
Value of money for the ticket
Cleanliness of the inside
Cleanliness of the outside

Passenger, train staff and station staff
Passengers and TrainCo (outsourcing)
Passengers and TrainCo (outsourcing)

must be =
absolute demands

Train in good condition to arrive at destination
Trains not cancelled
Presence of toilets inside the train
Space for the luggage

Passengers and train staff
Passengers and staff in general

Critical to Quality (CTQ) Tree

Stakeholder Analysis

Assign (type) each of the following to the category that you think is the most appropriate. (this is an open question, so just trust your judgement about the assignments). I assigned a couple of them to give you the idea.

Government (Regulations)

TrainCo’s CEO

Six sigma team members

Department of Transportation




Weather Forecasting Agency


Employees of TrainCo

Government (Regulations)

TrainCo’s CEO











Measure Phase

The measure phase aims to set a stake in the ground in terms of process performance through the development of clear and meaningful measurement systems. Based on the data received for the travel time fluctuations between different stations against all the trains operated under TrainCo., a measurement system has been prepared using certain standard statistical tools to measure the capabilities and difficulties in the process which ultimately leads to better understanding of the problem and identification of the root cause.

Measurement variables

Data Collection Plan

In general, having a data collection plan is very helpful as you know what type of data you exactly need in order to move toward the goals of the project.

Train delay

Train delay

Arrival delay at final station

Arrival delay at final station

Departure delay at all stations

Departure delay at all stations

Average delay

Average delay

% of trains with > 15 min delay

% of trains with > 15 min delay

Average delay

Average delay

% of trains with > 15 min delay

% of trains with > 15 min delay

% of trains with early departure

% of trains with early departure












Average delay of trains in arriving at the final station

Percentage of train arriving at the final station with more than 15 minutes

Average delay in departure at all the stations

Percentage of trains departing earlier than the scheduled time

Percentage of trains departing with more than 15 minute delay


Read this part carefully to understand the data

Sample Number: (Numerical Data) provides the number of samples

Date: (Contextual Data) shows the travel date of each train. From 01.01.2020 till 03.31.2020

Train No.: (Contextual Data) Four Train numbers are available SN-1,2 and NS-1,2. Where SN is the abbreviation for trains travelling from Schenectady (S) to NYC (N) while NS represents the trains travelling from NYC (N) to Schenectady (S). 1 and 2 reflects the scheduled departure at the starting station. The trains departing from the first station at 6 ‘o’ clock are named as 1 and those starting their journey at 16 ‘o’ clock are termed as 2.

Crew: (Contextual Data) Total 6 crew teams are present. They are further divided into two more groups N (N1, N2, N3) and S (S1,S2, S3) based on the location, where N means NYC and S means Schenectady. The crew consists of one driver and two train hosts.

Station: (Contextual Data) Schenectady, Albany, Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Yonkers Station, and NYC- these six stations have been considered and observed for data collection and analysis.

Arr/Dep: (Contextual Data) it represents the status of the train: departure, Arrival at each station and Arrival at end station.

Schedule: (Numerical Data) provides the scheduled time (expected time) of the trains against departure, Arrival and Arrival at end station.

Actual: (Numerical Data) provides the actual (practical) time of departure, arrival at each station and arrival at end station.

Added Time: (Numerical Data) this is the individual contribution of each station to the overall delay when comparing the arrival and departure at the same station or departure at one station and arrival at the next station.

Total delay: (Numerical Data) it is the difference between Actual time and Scheduled time against each departure, arrival and arrival end.

Descriptive statistics

Pivot Table

Task 1-1) Create a pivot table that summarizes the average of “Total Delay” for each station. The pivot table should look like the following.


Example) Create a box plot that is comparing different stations total delay for arrival. To do this, first filter column G (Arr/Dep) by selecting only “Arrival” and “Arrival End”. Check the uploaded video as a guide. Copy the chart here. To copy a chart from Excel to Word, make sure you paste a picture of the chart.

Task 2-1) Create a box plot that is comparing different stations “total delay” for departure. To do this, first filter column G (Arr/Dep) by selecting only “Departure”. Copy the chart here. To copy a chart from Excel to Word, make sure you paste a picture of the chart.

Explain what you understand about the chart.

Task 2-2) Create a box plot that is comparing different stations “Added Time” for departure. To do this, first filter column G (Arr/Dep) by selecting only “Departure”. Copy the chart here. To copy a chart from Excel to Word, make sure you paste a picture of the chart.

Explain what you understand about the chart.

Control Charts

Task 3-1) Create an I-MR chart of “Added Time” for the departures. Calculate control limits for the I-MR charts and use Excel to create the charts. Watch the recording of Week 5 to learn how you can do this. Copy the chart here. To copy a chart from Excel to Word, make sure you paste a picture of the chart.

Explain what you understand about the chart. Is the departure process in control?

Problems/issues Identified in Data

Summarize what you understand from the pivot table and the charts that you created? Are delays more common in any specific station(s)?

Measured Big Ys

Use the data to calculate Big Y1 and Big Y2 based on their formulas that you have from the Define stage.

Big Y1 Current yield = ?%

Big Y2 Current yield = ?%

AnalyZE Phase

(For the Analyze and Improve phase, you are not given any tasks due to limited available time in our course. I encourage you to have a look on some of the tasks that are done in these phases. Note that this is just a summary of what can be done for a real project. Keep this in mind that each of these phases requires detailed attention and time to be completed successfully. You can reach out to me if you have any questions about these sections.)

The Analyze Phase aims to analyze and verify the considered root causes to determine if those issues are the real root causes of the problems experienced by TrainCo. For this section, two approaches are applied:

Data Door approach

The results from the Measure section are used to find any significant data, i.e., something uncommonly different from the data collected.

Process Door approach

Using 5whys and the Fishbone diagram, the process steps causing problems were identified and the verified.

Analyze part I: Find patterns in data

Data door analysis

Hypothesis tests

One-way ANOVA: Added time versus Station

In the Null Hypothesis, we assume that the mean of added times for all stations are equal.

H0 : µNYC = µYonkers = µPoughkeepsie = µHudson = µAlbany = µSchenectady

H1 : At least one of the means is different from the others

Source DF SS MS F P

Station 5 31060,97 6212,19 684,22 0,000

Error 1794 16288,20 9,08

Total 1799 47349,17

S = 3,013 R-Sq = 65,60% R-Sq(adj) = 65,50%

From the chart above, according to the low P-value, we can reject the null hypothesis, so there is significant difference between the results of the stations. This difference is caused by Hudson which is the outliner station and this also shows that is very unlikely that the differences in data are due to random variation.

Analyze part II: Find root causes

Process door analysis

Cause and effect diagram has been constructed for both our specific cause variable ‘Departing late at Hudson station’ and general cause variable ‘Travel time variation’. The Ishikawa uses 7M reasoning (Man, Machine, Methods, Milieu, management and materials. Within each M, we used ‘why why’ analysis at least for 5 times to reach to the root cause. E.g- When analyzing for special cause variable the 5 why analysis was adopted in the following manner:

1. Why? – Problems exist in the external environment

2. Why? – There might be problem in the Hudson platform

3. Why? – The platform gap is larger.

4. Why? – The platform is old and not good for the new trains

5. Why? – Extra arrangement required for exit and boarding procedure (time consuming)

Each person in the team identified the root cause, which he believes, to contribute most heavily towards the problems faced by TrainCo. After having a detailed analysis of the system with respect to both special and common causes, we found inefficient planning and communication mismatch (both within the crew and operation team) as some of the most vital root causes.

Analyze part III: Verify root causes

Verification of Root Causes

The root causes then, were first divided in to ‘in scope’ and ‘out of scope’ based on the question whether “would we be able to improve them or not?” The ‘in scope’ root causes were then further divided into 5 groups according to the area of origin, out of which ‘Insufficient Planning’, ‘Insufficient Communication’ to be the most contributing factors. For the verification of the root causes, the information was shared with the representatives of TrainCo. To set the improvement priorities, the brainstorm results of group names were put in the Effort-effect diagram and they are represented by the following figure. As can be seen, inefficient planning and communication are prioritized.


(on Big Y)


(on Big Y)

Improve Phase

The Improve Phase aims to plan how to implement the solutions prevenient from previous activities. Here, starting with the Action Plan we generated solutions and evaluated and selected then to develop a Risk Analysis/FMEA later on and then to execute a pilot test for the process improvements. Finally, the implementation plan is presented in the Gantt chart.

Action Plan

Verified root causes are divided in two groups:

Insufficient planning:

Management > bad planning, scheduling > overlapping with other train companies > no coordination with Department of Transportation (DoT) Traffic Control

Milieu > Late Signal to Depart > Schedule overlapping > Poor Planning

Inefficient communication:

Machine > Communication mismatch > Insufficient IT, Software and devices at platform

Generation, synthesis, and selection of Solutions

Solution generation
In order to come up with solutions, we have used the following techniques:

Benchmarking: The present practices adopted by TrainCo have been compared with the other railway companies operating across the globe. The comparison has been included in the ‘comment section’ of the table.

Negative brain storming: The problem was first taken as the reference. A negative approach was followed in order to know how to make the situation worse and to find out different root causes which might contribute to the worsening of such situations – e.g., Insufficient Planning was taken as the reference. We did brainstorming to find out how to make it worse and overlapping with the trains was found to be a good way to make the present planning worse. Then again after negative brainstorming, we reached to the conclusion that schedule of the trains operated by the competitors of TrainCo (such as Amtrak) can cause the overlapping.

Different Hats: In this technique, an imaginary situation was assumed if the team members were given different roles such as ‘representative of Department of Transportation’, ‘Driver of the train’, ‘crew’ and representative from train platform’.

Assumption busting: The proposed solutions were drawn questioning traditional assumptions in order to find out alternative processes against the old ones. For example, ‘Why does it have to be like that?’ and ‘Why can’t we do it differently?’ were common questions for this brainstorming tool.


Verified root causes


Solution Generation Method



Insufficient Planning

Coordination with DoT traffic control

Assumption busting

Why is the planning bad? Who has a relevant influence in the results?/Who should collaborate with us in order to result in a better planning?

Rescheduling using more advanced scheduling software


‘Hastus-Train’ is advanced software used by both United Kingdom and Belgium Government for optimization of Train scheduling and railway planning in order to accommodate both minor and major changes in train schedules.

More efficient communication with DoT traffic control in order to be more flexible in facing changes/new regulations/etc.

Different Hats

Using this approach for TrainCo and DoT’s roles, it was clear to understand the importance of a fast and accurate communication between these two for basic operations and planning.

More efficient communication with station in order to be more flexible in facing changes/new regulations/etc.

Different Hats

Using this approach for TrainCo management team and the stations, the importance of an efficient communication between these two was set as a ‘must have’ for daily operations.

Better connection with competitors in order to coordinate the schedules with them

Negative brain storming

Bad planning > No collaboration/connection with competitors > Overlapping schedule with them.


Inefficient Communication

Upgrade IT devices


Network Railway Company from U.K has improved communication efficiency and trust using GSM-R as a Railway Communication System.

Contract with a better internet/intranet service provider


The trains in Ukraine have implemented ‘WiMax service’ which can deliver the Wi-Fi signals to all the trains operating within a distance of 1350km.

After potential solutions are generated and best solutions are selected, detailed risk analysis is performed to have a better understanding of the tasks that need to be done. Later Pilot studies are done to verify the effectiveness of the solutions in small scale. Pilot studies were successful. These parts are not presented in this document.

Implementation plan

The following implementation plan suggests a plan for the implementation of the improvement phase. As can be seen in the Gantt chart, it takes roughly two and a half months to finish the plan, in which forty days are for the rescheduling part. Activities 5, 6, 9, 11, 12 and 23 are located in the critical path, which is shown in red. (This is just an example for your information)

Control Phase

The Control phase deals with the improvement of the process based on the new data collected after improvements. The set of solutions has been implemented and the results have been compared with the original process to find out the improvements in TrainCo.

Standardization and education

As mentioned before, our main improvements are coordinating with DoT Traffic Control, upgrading IT devices and rescheduling using more advanced software. So, to keep the coordination with DoT Traffic system and competitors, periodic meetings should be set and the contracts should be updated to new situations. Besides, to standardize the new IT systems, we need to educate TrainCo staff to adapt them. In addition, they should become familiar with how to do the maintenance and backup the new central system. Thus, an education plan is designed as follows:

Training Plan

Purpose for Training

Topics Covered

Training Given by



Coordination with DoT traffic control

Communication techniques with central agency during normal operations, how to coordinate.

Project Manager, DoT traffic control

Control engineers and operators


Communication techniques during emergency conditions, sudden schedule change


Platform Management, communication with platform staff

Platform Engineer


Signal Processing

Instrumentation and Control Dept., DoT Traffic Control

Control engineers


Upgrading of IT devices

Detailed technical specifications, Use, Maintenance

Technical Experts from IT Service Provider (Vendor)

IT Department


Communication methods over the new devices from operations point of view, advantages and precautions

Operation Team (Crew, driver)


Control and logic checking using new devices, communication patterns

Control engineers


Normal operations and handling

All other employees


Rescheduling Software

Accommodate changes according to requirement, Maintaining security, encountering problems maintenance issues

Software Developer

IT Department


Detailed training on uses of software, benefits over the previous software, response to schedule defects raised by operation team and Analyzing of outputs with respect to input ranges

Planning Department& IT Dept.


Raise scheduling defects if found any, to check the schedules using the software.

Operation department


Monitoring and Control charts

Control charts

Task 1-1) Create an I-MR control charts that show before and after situations and highlights the improvements in added time of departures. Use Excel to create the charts. The before-after improvement control chart should look like the following example (the chart below uses some random data so your chart will look different; remember that you need both I-chart and MR-chart). You need to combine the old and new data to create these charts. Follow the instructions from the lectures to create these control charts in Excel.

Explain what you understand from these charts. Is the process in control after improvements?

Box Plots

Task 2-1) Create a box plot that compares the total delay for arrival of old data and new data for the end stations (NYC and Schenectady). The box plot should look like the following example (the chart below uses some random data so your chart will look different) . Use Excel to create the chart and copy it here.

Explain what you understand from these charts.

Task 2-2) Create a Box plot that compares the added times of departure for old and new data by station. Your chart should be similar to the following chart. (the chart below uses some random data for only 4 stations, so your chart will look different and includes all 6 stations). Use Excel to create the chart and copy it here.

Explain what you understand from these charts.

Verified process performance

Calculate Big Y1 and Big Y2 based on the new data

Big Y1 yield after improvements = ?%

Big Y2 yield after improvements = ?%

Did the project reach its goals that were set in the define phase?

Note that if the answer is Yes, everything is great; but if not, it is also fine. We can launch future projects to improve the situation further and reach our goal.

Project closure

Project Closure and Handover Sheet





Project title






Business Benefit








Project closure checklist

* Project results have been reported to the Process Owner and Sponsor.

* Deliverables required have been accomplished

* Goals outlined in the project charter have been achieved.

* Business case is confirmed

* Improvements are handed over to the Process Owner who is from now on responsible for applying the improvements and their controls established to ensure their sustainability and a process in control





Key roles




Process owner

TrainCo CEO



Project leader

Team member 1 name



Business Controller

Other team member’s names




TrainCo CEO








Go back to page 2 and write 1-2 paragraphs summary of the project!

Congratulations! Hopefully now you have a much clearer understanding about Six Sigma’s DMAIC.