Introduction to Six Sigma Process
Six Sigma is a highly efficient method or process through which organizations can improve their products and services to the nearest perfection. It is a developmental approach to delivering highly efficient and improved processes. The word Sigma itself means to measure how much deviation a process has been showing from perfection. It is a continuous process to keep in check with the highest customer satisfaction and at the same time optimizing the profit turnover in an organization. It emphasizes on effectiveness and excellence in the efficiency of the product. In this article, it will be clearly stated in detail about how six sigma is utilized in real-life scenarios and how organizations actually benefit from it.
Features of Six Sigma
Some of the features of Six Sigma are –
- The aim of Six Sigma is to eliminate redundancy (or waste) and ineffectiveness. This helps to increase customer satisfaction as it pertains to exactly what the customer is expecting and fulfilling his needs.
- The best feature of Six Sigma is that it has a standard structure that has a well-defined role for its’ participants.
- It is a data-driven methodology, which needs very accurate data collection methods for the entire process to be analyzed.
- One of the most important features of Six Sigma is that it puts up results on financial statements.
- It is absolutely a business-oriented, multi-dimensional approach for bettering processes, reducing defects, decreasing process variability, lowering costs, hiking customer satisfaction, and retaining large profits.
The main theme that is integral around six sigma is that if the number of defects can be measured in a process, it can then be systematically figured out how to eliminate them. It is also possible to reach ‘zero defects’ and in that case, it is called as 99.9997% perfect.
Key Concepts of Six Sigma
- Crucial to quality is the most significant attribute for customer satisfaction.
- The defect is not meeting customer standards.
- The capability of the process is what the process can deliver.
- Variation is how the customer perceives through sight and feel.
- Stable operations are the continuous improvement processes to improve customer experience.
- The design would be on par with customer needs and channelize process efficiency.
Key Elements for the Improvement of the Six Sigma Process
- Customers: They are the ones who set standards. As much up to we meet the standards, the quality will be defined on that basis. Customers are crucial for they measure performance, assurance and reliability, competitive pricing, timely delivery, efficient transaction process and much more. To gain customer delight, it is important to meet customer needs.
- Processes: The central theme behind Six Sigma is to develop processes, establish their metrics for measurement of process efficiency. Coming to business, all qualities should be viewed from the customer’s eye and therefore we must see a larger perspective from the outside-in.
- Employees: All the employees in a company must enroll in six sigma program. Companies should reward their employees for taking care of customer needs and satisfaction and serving them with their utmost abilities. It is equally important that every team member has their well-defined role to enact, with measurable goals.
Benefits of Six Sigma
Points stating the Six Sigma benefits are as follows –
- Delivers long term success is one that is sustained as the six sigma benefit.
- Everyone has an obligation to meet performance goals.
- Adds customer value and ensures customer satisfaction thereby.
- Speeds up the improvement rate overall.
- Encourages learning and cross-functional communication.
- Executes changes that are strategy oriented.
Approaches to do Project Selection in Six Sigma
Two approaches on how to do project selection in Six Sigma –
1) Top-down: This is the first approach that ties business strategy and aligns them with the needs of a customer. The major con of this method is that it becomes very complicated given its’ wide scope and therefore completing it on time becomes a major issue.
2) Bottom-up Approach: Projects are chosen by the Black Belts which are in accordance with team capabilities. One drawback to this approach is that the management may not be addressing the strategic concerns and therefore the team may end up getting low support and minimal recognition.
How do we Start with the Six Sigma Process?
- Prior Route Planning: There could be multiple paths to planning a route, but the one that is best is the one that best fits the organization goals and customer satisfaction.
- Objective to be Defined: One needs to know what are the objectives to be met, what are the goals to achieve and how accordingly the priorities should be set.
- Feasibility Test: One needs to find out whether the process is viable and feasible. It should be matching with the availability of resources, scope and other factors which are majorly at stake.
- Enhancing Leaders: They are the ones who would be initiating the Six Sigma launch and direct the collaborative efforts of the team members to shape the process.
- Creating an Organization Adhering to Six Sigma: This step is to assign roles to individuals and chalking out their responsibilities which also includes preparing Black Belts.
- Creating a Culture in the Organization: Every employee in the organization should be imparted with the training of Six Sigma that will eventually contribute to the increased improvement of process efficiency. Having black belts alone is not sufficient.
- Pilot testing Six Sigma Effort: This can be attained through multiple ways. For example, measuring the solutions that have been derived from the improvement of a process and designing projects
Methodologies of Six Sigma
Six Sigma has two main methodologies:
- DMAIC: Every letter here stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. This is associated with data have driven quality strategy pertaining to enhancing the process. This method is mostly used for business processes that are already existing. In the end, this method always improves the process by fixing solutions and diminishing potential future problems.
- DMADV: Every letter here stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify. This is associated with data that have driven quality strategy pertaining to designing products and also processes. This method has been in use for creating new designs for products and process designs in a manner such that the results be more predictable, realistic, mature and free of defects and performance hampering. This method always emphasizes on the process that would meet up with customer needs and the design performance too will be verified by the customer.
This has been a guide to Six Sigma Process. Here we discuss the Features, Key Concept, Key Elements, Benefits and the Methodologies of Six Sigma. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –