This article explains about what is six sigma,why do we have to use six sigma, and how does six sigma work.Quality improvement is an important aspect for businesses to look into if they want to remain competitive. If a firm does not supply good quality products, it will not be able to compete with its competitors and in time it may lose business. Loyal customers would be difficult to stay since they will be less likely to make repetitive purchases if they were not satisfied with the product the first-time round. This also applies to services.
In order to deal with quality management and related issues, some various theories were developed. A very popular theory is the Six Sigma Project which we shall discuss more detail in this article below. This is a management strategy that if it is properly utilized, it can bring some various benefits to the business. The aim is to improve the final product by making sure that any defects and problems that might arise during the manufacturing process can be eliminated.
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Six Sigma is a problem-solving management methodology that can be applied to some type of business process to increase customer satisfaction and profitability by identifying and eliminating the root that causes of defects, so that it can improve the key business processes and save cost for the organization.
What is six sigma?
It is important to inform that every customer always values consistent and predicable services or products with almost zero defects. Therefore, they can experience the variation and not the mean. Mean is the customer’s expectation, and the owner’s target.
If we can measure process variations that cause defects from the mean, we can work towards systematically managing the variation to eliminate defects.
Why do we have to use six sigma?
1. Improved Customer LoyaltyCustomer loyalty and retention only ever come as a result of high levels of customer satisfaction. Surveys suggest that the reasons given by most customers for not returning to a business are dissatisfaction with the experience and employee attitude. Often, a company will not know that they have a dissatisfied customer as they will simply take their businesses elsewhere.
Implementing Six Sigma will reduce the risk of the company that having dissatisfied customers, for once training is complete, so few experiences should be outside of their specifications. To achieve this point, we have to consider running a voice of the customer study which helps our business understand which of our products attributes are critical to the customer's perception of satisfaction.
2. Time ManagementInstantly, a practitioner of Six Sigma may ask themselves; how often do interruptions take me away from my own task and how many of these interruptions require my own attention?
Similarly, based on performance, they may consider how their practices are helping them to reach their professional goals. Then, users can create an action plan, the result of which can be employees who are up to 30 per cent more efficient and who are happier in themselves, having achieved a better work-life balance.
3. Reduced Cycle TimeBy using Six Sigma, a business can set up a team of experienced employees from all levels within the organization and from every functional department. This team are then given the task of identifying factors that could negatively affect the project leading to long cycle times.
They can then be tasked to find solutions to these potential problems. This method allows business to create shorter cycle times for projects and stick to those schedules, with many firms reporting reductions in cycle times of up to 35 per cent.
4. Employee MotivationEvery business, if destined to succeed, needs its employees to act in the right way - but for employees to do so there must be sufficient motivation. Indeed, organizations who are willing to fully engage with employees have consistently demonstrated 25 – 50 per cent increases in productivity.
Sharing Six Sigma problem solving tools and techniques will allow for employee development and help create a climate and systems for employee motivation.
5. Strategic PlanningSix Sigma can play an integral part in any strategic vision. Once your business has used a created a mission statement and carried out a SWOT analysis, then Six Sigma can help you focus on areas for improvement.
For instance, if your business strategy is based on being a cost leader in the market, then Six Sigma can be used to improve internal processes, increase yields, eliminate unnecessary complexity and gain or maintain lowest cost supplier agreements. In fact, whatever your strategy happens to be, Six Sigma can help make your company the best at what it does.
6. Supply Chain ManagementOne of the possible ways to reduce the risk of defect is using Six Sigma to run down the number of suppliers from our businesses has, as this in turn reduces the risk of defects.
It’s also important to understand if our supplier is planning to implementing any changes. Instantly, a change in machinery can have an effect like the ripples from a rock thrown into a pond. The most successful firms drive their Six Sigma improvements as far up the supply chain as possible.
Who includes in six sigma?
- Green Belt is the base level of Six Sigma expertise. Green Belts are typically part-time Six Sigma practitioners that spend about 25% of their time working on Six Sigma projects. They appoint project team members and accommodate training on the fundamentals of Six Sigma. Team members with this training organize Six Sigma implementation into their main job duties, then communicate their progress to Black Belts and Champions as the project accelerates. Green Belts are guided by the next Six Sigma level, which is, Black Belts.
- Black Belts, are full-time Six Sigma practitioners. The Black Belts help select Six Sigma projects and prepare project charters. They are training team members and helping them to design experiments and analyzing the data. Black Belts have a responsibility for communicating progress to Champions and also have to process owners.
- Master Black Belts. These individuals have more Six Sigma training and experience than any other member of the organization. Master Black Belts control a close relationship with upper management and often give advice and counsel regarding of Six Sigma. Master Black Belts also supply training and mentoring to Black Belts and Green Belts. Like Black Belts, they are focusing on Six Sigma implementation. Furthermore, to spending time on statistical duties, Master Black Belts help to ensure that Six Sigma processes are implemented consistently throughout an organization’s numerous departments and functions.
- Champions are individuals that chosen from upper management by Executive Leadership. Champions act as sponsors and leaders to administrate and implement Six Sigma projects. As part of the leadership team, Champions help to remove the obstacles and acquire some resources for Six Sigma project teams.
- Executive Leadership, is at the level up of the Six Sigma “food chain”. This involves a company’s CEO and other members of top level management. Executive Leadership determines the overall strategy for the organization’s Six Sigma implementation. Executive Leadership also design the parameters for duties of more junior practitioners.
Where can six sigma be applied?Six Sigma can be applied into all business processes. For the starting point, it can be applied to key business processes which have the highest visible impact on the customers and also shareholders. All business processes that have the impacts for customer satisfaction and profit growth of the organization need to go through a Six Sigma methodology implementation.
When can six sigma be applied?Organizations can use the implementation of Six Sigma, when:
- The customer satisfaction level is not increasing well, even decreasing.
- The organizations are willing to retain a leadership position through quality in the market.
- There is an indication of losing market share due to quality.
- The organization’s processes have not changed for a long time.
- The quality of a product is more dependent on human inspection skills rather than being built-in to the production process.
- They think their processes have all reached the improvement plateau.
- They are needed to improve their performance in all areas of their business processes.
- They decide that they want to survive and grow in today’s competitive market.
How does Six Sigma work?
DMAIC is an approach to business that is one of the many useful components of the Six Sigma toolkit. The main goal of DMAIC is to eliminate expensive variation from business and manufacturing processes.
This DMAIC of Six Sigma is designed to deliver ongoing performance free of defects, as well as competitive quality costs, in the long term.
- Define – Choose customer’s critical-to-quality characteristics (CTQs). Defining the process improvement goals that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategies.
- Measure – Build a measurement system and approve the system. Compute the current process and gather relevant data for future comparison.
- Analyze – Identify the variation sources from the performance objectives. Analyze to verifying relationship and causality of factors. Conclude what the relationship is and attack to ensure that all factors have been considered using one or more of the tools in the Six Sigma toolkit.
- Improve – Uncover process relationships and build new and improved procedures. Improve or optimize the process based on the analysis by eliminating these root that causes of variance
- Control – When we have improved the process, do keep an eye out for any variance that threatens to keep back in. Control to make sure that any variances are corrected before they result in defects. Set up pilot runs to build process capability, transition to production and thereafter continuously measure the process and institute control mechanisms.
DMADVDMADV is a framework that focuses mainly on the development of a new service, product or process as opposed to improving a previously existing one. This approach – Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, verify – is especially useful when implementing new strategies and initiatives because of the basis in data, early identification of success and thorough analysis.
When should The DMADV methodology be applied? It should be applied:
- When a non-existent product or process needs to be developed at a company.
- When an existing process or product already exists but still needs to meet a Six Sigma level or customer specification.
- Define – The function is to define the goals of the design activity that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategies.
- Measure – The function is to measure and identify CTQ s, product capabilities, production process capability and risk assessments.
- Analyze – The function is to develop and design alternatives, create high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.
- Design – The function is to optimize the design, and plan for design verification. This process may require the simulations.
- Verify – The function is to set up the pilot runs, apply production process and handover to process the owners.
ConclusionThe structure of this What, Who, When, Where, and How of Six Sigma can help the organizations to consider all aspects of the Six Sigma situation in some details and hence can be implemented when analyzing a business process for improvement opportunities. The interrelationships also can guide Six Sigma professionals to take systematic error-free steps to complete the Six Sigma project successfully on-time and every time.