Crystal Ball Industry Examples


Six Sigma and Process Improvement



Six Sigma and Process ImprovementSix Sigma is a set of practices originally developed by Motorola to systematically improve processes
by eliminating defects. Motorola uses Crystal Ball in its Six Sigma Program.

Crystal Ball is the tool chosen by more than 85% of the Fortune 500 companies. Like in the United States, Crystal Ball is the most popular choice in Australia and New Zealand to help improve spreadsheet modelling and risk analysis.
"Crystal Ball is a critical component of the Six Sigma program. I have purchased this from Hearne and it has paid for itself many times over." - Rod Howes, Six Sigma Consultants Australia.


"Crystal Ball Pro can return an answer that is 95% correct in less than 5% of the time it would take a higher level simulation tool to return a comparable result. In many instances, the time savings more than compensate for the increased uncertainty and result in a better, more timely decision." - Dr. William L. Olson, Design Reliability Team Leader, Motorola Labs.


Does your Six Sigma effort face these challenges:


  • Trouble selecting projects or calculating their potential for financial success?
  • Difficulties quantifying and forecasting the effects of variation in your new process or design?
  • Inability to identify the key factors (CTQs) that drive uncertainty in your process?
  • Problems optimising your processes to improve efficiency and reduce waste?
  • Need to maximise the probability of meeting design elements without excessive testing costs?
  • Trouble explaining the effects of variation in a clear, concise manner?


If you’re only basing your analysis on hard data—not on the variation inherent in any manufacturing, engineering, or service process—you’re only getting halfway there. Oracle’s Crystal Ball takes you the rest of the way, allowing you to use simulation, modeling, optimisation, and forecasting to predict and reduce the effects of variation.


Crystal Ball is a Microsoft Excel-based suite of analytical tools that includes Monte Carlo simulation, optimisation, capability metrics and forecasting. The most popular use of Crystal Ball is to define variable inputs as probability distributions and use simulation to view the effects of this variation on one or more outputs. With little effort, you can apply these advanced analytical techniques to your new or existing spreadsheets to help understand and reduce the effects of variation on new or existing designs and processes.


Key features of interest to your application include sensitivity analysis, capability metrics, correlation and scatter charts. The sensitivity analysis helps you to understand which of the uncertain input variables are most critical and drive the uncertainty in your models. Capability metrics help you understand the quality of your virtual design or process prior to implementation. Correlation lets you link uncertain inputs and account for their positive or negative dependencies. Scatter charts help you to better visualise the correlations between variable inputs and outputs. If historical data does exist, the data fitting feature will compare the data to the distribution algorithms and calculate the best possible fit and parameters for your data.


To succeed, Six Sigma programs must combine a tight focus with the right people and the best tools—and when it comes to software, the best tools are the ones that streamline your journey to profitability. Crystal Ball is one such tool. Today, Crystal Ball is the tool chosen by more than 85% of the Fortune 500. Companies like Motorola, Honeywell, Seagate, Black & Decker, and Osram Sylvania all rely on Crystal Ball to manage risk, reduce variability, and make more informed business and strategic decisions.


How does Crystal Ball Differ from Statistical Software Tools


Statistical analysis and data visualisation software programs serve a different purpose than Crystal Ball. Statistical tools (e.g., MINITAB, JMP, QI Macros) help to plan experiments, analyse data, and visualise the meaning within the data. Most teams use statistical software to create a mathematical model (often just a transfer function) that represents a system. Crystal Ball works as a complementary tool with these packages and shares only a small number of features, mainly distribution fitting and regression analysis.


Once you have developed a mathematical equation or system using the tools from statistical packages, you then use Crystal Ball to simulate the impact of the variable inputs on the system performance, helping you to rapidly understand and optimise the system.


This virtual testing helps practitioners to refine products and processes and test proposed improvements prior to implementation.


Additional information


  • 2006 User Conference Paper: The Use of Monte Carlo Simulation in Production Modeling, written by Jerry Hamilton, Lean Six Sigma Coordinator - Black Belt, Lockheed Martin Dallas MFC. Jorge Pica, Research Engineer, Lockheed Martin Dallas MFC. Sean Elliot, Graduate Student, Florida A&M University. Randy Burch, Sr. Manager Production Contracts PAC-3 Program, Lockheed Martin Dallas MFC


Additional information is available on Oracle's Crystal Ball website>>