Six Sigma Deployment for Optimum Performance
Six Sigma -- a term that points to the methodology, tools and techniques utilized by an organization for bringing about process improvements, was first introduced by Motorola in the year 1986. The practice was adopted aggressively by Jack Welch, who was linked with General Electronics, in the year 1995. The Six Sigma methodology aims at improving the quality of processes by means of identifying defects, understanding their root cause, and minimizing the variability of these processes.
Some of the tools used for Six Sigma deployment are statistical methods that are primarily driven by various quality management methods. It has been proved that for the successful implementation of Six Sigma techniques it is imperative for an organization to have an effective infrastructure. Six Sigma deployment, if handled and worked through effectively, is capable of re-energizing the whole organization and can help in achieving unbelievable targets.
Not everyone can handle, manage, and/ or work on Six Sigma in an organization. Only specific people are trained in this field and have the right knowledge about its various tools and their functions. These experts are trained in Six Sigma and are hard-core professionals referred to as “ Green Belts”, “Yellow Belts” and “Champions”, etc.
Six Sigma follows the DMAIC methodology:
D- Define - The most important step in the deployment of Six Sigma is to first define the business problem, set goals, understand the scope / boundaries of the project, define customers, understand their voice, define high level project timelines, create a project charter, and then work upon the same. A project team is created in this phase.
M- Measure - This phase involves the need to identify the baselines for improvement. Data is collected in this phase. The performance baselines are established on the basis of accumulated data. Once this has been done, the metrics at the baselines are compared to the metrics at the conclusion stage. The team plans on what should be measured and how. In this phase, a high level process flow baseline is defined for accessing all measurements and metrics.
A-Analyze - In this stage of deployment, all the necessary steps are taken for identifying, validating and selecting the root cause for elimination. A data collection plan is created, which helps in understanding the contribution of each root cause. Detailed process maps enable the team to pin point all problems and their behavior.
I-Improve - Creative solutions are identified in this stage for eliminating the root cause and for the prevention of process problems in future. Much focus is laid upon simple and easy solutions. A detailed implementation plan is created in this step.
C-Control: The gains have to be sustained. Here, all improvements are monitored for ensuring continuous success. An updation of the documents, training, and proper channeling of business records is done in this stage. A control chart can be used for monitoring the stability of all improvements.
Key concerns about Six Sigma Deployment:
Given below are few apprehensions that organizations have with regards to Six Sigma deployment:
- Proper planning - Planning on when to start and end the Six Sigma deployment processes.
- Approach to be well defined: The approach that works best either the big- bang approach or the phased out approach, has to be well planned and implemented.
- Progress tacking mechanism -The proper ways of tracking the progress of Six Sigma deployment has to be conceived and put in place.
- Tracking-financial benefits - The tracking of the financial benefits of the Six Sigma program should be done.
- Customer centricity - Achievement of customer centricity in all key processes through Six Sigma.
- Operational costs - Reduction in the operational costs of Six Sigma, along with the promotion of a greater degree of acceptance.
Factors which Enable Success of Six Sigma Deployment:
These practices affect the success of Six Sigma deployment in an organization:
Training and Development: For successful implementation of Six Sigma, the team members have to be trained and educated appropriately. Effective and related trainings should be conducted to impart knowledge.
Performance to be monitored and measured: It is important that the top management follow up on the progress of the project and its implementation, in a regular and consistent manner.
Commitment and Involvement from the management: The senior leadership team needs to be committed and engaged to the project; so as to ensure that all the methodologies of Six Sigma are implemented properly.
Sharing visions and goals: The leadership team should regularly share the company’s goals and objectives with the employee to enable successful and seamless deployment.
Teamwork: It is the responsibility of the top management to generate a spirit of team work amongst all members working on the project.
If successful, the methodology of Six Sigma is expected to bring about considerable reductions in costs and leads to positive improvements in all processes.
Author : Uma Daga