Businesses across the globe aim to get successful organizational processes
and defect-free projects. Initially, companies had to go through many rounds of trial and error to reach a stage where these processes saw the least amount of errors. Six Sigma
was introduced at a later stage, a management strategy that companies have been adopting ever since to achieve successful projects.
Concept of Six Sigma
This methodology was developed by Motorola in 1980 and leads to improved productivity and significantly reduced errors in every project. It emphasizes on setting high objectives, collecting relevant and accurate data, and analyzing results to a very fine degree. These features offer positive and collective results in all the products and services rolled out by a company. It can be rightfully said that by using this methodology, every company can aim at getting better results by systematically eliminating errors and getting closer to perfection.
The ideology behind Six Sigma
is that you can measure the number of defects in any process and come up with smarter strategies to systematically eliminate them in the end. For any company to achieve Six Sigma, it cannot produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities, where each opportunity is defined as a chance for non-conformance. At most times, the Greek letter sigma is used to denote variation from the standard that is set. This approach primarily focuses on strong management, calculable figures and specialized methodologies
The DMAIC Approach
One of the most popular methodologies used in Six Sigma is the DMAIC approach
. It is a data-driven quality strategy that aims at improving processes. It is an acronym, where each alphabet denotes the five phases that make up this technique. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Let us see these phases in detail:
Define: In this phase users define the problem and projected goals of the process. Various improvement opportunities, customer requirements and relevant activities of the process are also defined.
Measure: This phase measures the performance of the process to provide a yardstick for all improvements required to attain perfection. Errors are identified in this phase.
Analyze: Once the measurement is done and all errors are identified, they need to be analyzed carefully and accurately. The root causes of variation and defects have to be determined and based on the analysis, after which, corrective actions can be designed.
Improve: This phase is responsible for improving the performance of defined processes by addressing all the defects and eliminating root causes behind low performance.
Control: In this phase, improved processes can be controlled and managed in better ways. The performances of future processes can be controlled too.
Other methodology includes the DMADV approach which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify. Here, the first three phases are the same as in DMAIC; while the last two phases refer to the designing and verification of new processes and products that are trying to achieve Six Sigma quality levels.
Belts of Six Sigma
Six Sigma cannot be practiced by everyone in a company. Only trained and certified professionals can carry out this methodology. There is a hierarchy of professionals where Six Sigma belts
define the level of training. A ‘Belt’ can be defined as the level of training and expertise that an individual possesses. These belts can be attained by passing the corresponding certification examination. From lowest to highest, the levels of training are denoted by – White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt.
Why Should Companies Use Six Sigma
Some of the essential reasons why companies should use Six Sigma include:
- Incorporates elevated problem solving capabilities in the team; and promotes efficient team management
- New metrics such as DPMO, also known as Defects per Million Opportunities, are used for securing good results
- It allows for company processes to be compared with each other by using a single scale of accuracy measurement. Such metrics provide better insights and analytics, thereby leading to better decisions
- Intense training is provided to Six Sigma professionals, thus ensuring that their strategies achieve greater success, every single time
- Six Sigma modules instill a corporate culture that promotes the creation of continuous improvement efforts
Getting trained in Six Sigma and adopting this methodology is an investment that would give excellent returns for a long period of time.
Go for it!