During the period of evolution, Six Sigma had gone through several versions from RDMAICSI to DMAIC. Mikel Harry and Bill Smith played a critical role in this period to evolve six sigma technology.
1986 – 1992: Period of Design:
When Six Sigma was picked up by other organizations after Motorola won it’s Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, they designed the Six Sigma methodology to suit different industries (other than manufacturing).
1993 – 1994: Period of Refinement:
Six Sigma went through yet another phase of refinement and steps such as Design of Experiments were taken to advanced levels by individuals such as Taguchi, etc.
1994 – 1996: Period of Results:
Most manufacturing organizations started gaining the results and reflecting them in their quarterly financial statements.
1996 – 1997: Period of Awareness:
In this period, the world started to know the power of Six Sigma. It was no longer a methodology known to a few organizations.
1997 – 1998: Period of Adaptation:
Organizations learn Six Sigma techniques and implemented it in their day-to-day processes. Eventually, they started gaining benefits.
1999 – till date: Period of Enlightenment:
Six Sigma has now become the basic hygiene requirement of most of the organizations. Individuals with Six Sigma expertise are given preference over other individuals.
History of Continuous Improvements:
In 1800’s: Management encouraged employee-driven improvements, and incentive programs were set in place to reward employees that brought about positive changes in the organization.
In 1894: National Cash Register’s program included reward schemes, employee development opportunities, and improving labour-management relationships.
Early 1900’s: much attention was given to scientific management
1930’s: Continuous Improvement programs were introduced in Japan by management experts like Deming, Juran, and Gilbreth.
1970’s: Japanese developed their own ideas and quality control
1980’s: Evolution of Six Sigma
1990’s: Introduction of Balance Scorecards
2000’s: Evolution of Hybrid Methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma, Agile, among others.
Deliverables of Lean Six Sigma Project
Embarking on a Lean Six Sigma initiative begins with a management decision to embrace a change that says “There’s a better way to run our organization.”
The readiness assessment includes a review of the following areas:
Assess the outlook and future path of the business:
Is the strategy course clear for the company
Can we meet our financial and growth goals?
Does our organization respond effectively to new circumstances?
Evaluate the current organizational performance:
What are our current overall business results?
How effectively do we meet customer requirements?
How effectively are we operating?
Review the capacity for system’s change and improvement
How effective are we in managing system changes?
How well are our cross functional processes managed?
Are our current efforts in conflict with six sigma
The above assessment will go a long way towards deciding if current efforts are sufficient or whether the timing is appropriate to undertake a six sigma effort.
Lean six sigma can be applied as a targeted approach. A number of so-called lean six sigma companies have improvement techniques and teams in place and only assign black belt assistance as needed. A decision on six sigma might be negative if the following conditions exist: The company already has an effective improvement effort in place. Current changes are already overwhelming the company's resources potential gains aren’t sufficient to finance the necessary investments
The Problem Solving Strategy Y= f (X)
Y is a function of X.
To get results, should we focus on the Y or X?
Y is equal to the Effect and X is equal to Causes.
If Y is Headache, then X’s are Stress, Lack of Sleep, Eye Strain and Infection
Y is a Dependent variable, output, Symptom to be monitored
X are independent variables, inputs, Causes to be controlled
The Problem Solving Strategy should always Focus on the Causes and NOT on the Effect.
Identify the Customer
Six Sigma quality is built around the customer.
Everything starts and ends with customers.
They define quality and set expectations.
They rightfully expect performance, reliability, competitive prices, on-time delivery, service, and clear and accurate transaction processing.
At times, the customer of the project may not be as evident as initially thought.
The receiver of the next operation, an internal department, could be thought of as a customer.
The external customer of a process could be the purchaser.
But yet, if the purchaser is a distributor,
The primary customer of the process will or should have the highest impact on the process.
The primary customer is of utmost importance to the process.
The sorting out of the primary customer may take some discussion on the team’s part.
The question of: “Who is the customer?” may bring out discoveries of “Which customers make us money?”
That is, are there certain customers that make up the bulk of company revenues?
Is there a small proportion of customers that simulate the Pareto law?
The case is that 80% of the revenues come from 20% of the customers, or that 80% of the net profit comes from 20% of the customers
Customers can constitute:
1. Current, happy customers
2. Current, unhappy customers
3. Lost customers
4. Competitor’s customers
5. Prospective customers
The following methods to collect information and data from customers or would-be customers:
2. Focus groups
4. Complaint systems
5. Market research
6. Shopper programs
The traditional methods of obtaining customer information could also include:
1. Targeted and multi-level surveys
2. Targeted and multi-level interviews
3. Customer scorecards
5. Data mining
6. Customer audits
7. Supplier audits
8. Quality function deployment
The information gathered should allow the organization to identify customer requirements and to spot upcoming trends. The trends will be new ways for the company to gain or retain customers. Customers seem to be more satisfied if they receive feedback than if they do not receive feedback. Clearly, the voice of the customer is critical to business success. Likewise, Green Belts and Black Belts must consider how both internal and external customers can be identified and what their requirements might be in order to understand and improve the business process. The relationship that management can develop with either basic customer type will affect the company's ability to be effective in delivering customer satisfaction.