Why is Six Sigma important for business? This may seem like an ignorant question, but to people who don’t know what Six Sigma is, it is a perfectly good question. If there was a way to prevent a disease that ran in your family, you would likely do whatever it took to prevent from getting the disease.
In business, failure is the cancer that lurks, and Six Sigma will prevent many little cancers in your business from spreading.
First on the list is quality. Without quality and error control, business cancer will start to consume your business. Six Sigma methodologies strive for perfection, or as close as possible, which is 3.4 defects per million. The methodologies focus on many things, from skillful judgment to the quality of the product, and the processes that delivers them.
The methodology revolves around disciplined and data-driven practices. It achieves the objectives by employing a variety of statistical and empirical techniques. Every project adheres to a series of well-defined steps aimed at reaching specific value targets. Some of the intended targets include improving customer satisfaction, minimizing operating costs, reducing pollution, boosting profits, and reducing cycle time.
Six Sigma can provide a quantitative description of how a business or manufacturing process is performing. The description comes in the form of a statistical representation. To attain Six Sigma, a process must produce less than 3.4 defects per one million opportunities. Defects are defined as any standard outside of customer specifications.
The implementation of a measurement-based strategy is accomplished using two sub-methodologies: DMADV and DMAIC. The Six Sigma DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, control. This sub-methodology is used to rectify under-performing processes. DMADV, on the other hand, stands for define, measure, analyze, design, verify. It provides a practical way to develop new products or processes at Six Sigma quality levels.
The approach takes quality management from production floors to various levels in an organization. It identifies six principal roles that help ensure successful implementation.
incorporates top-level management. This role entails formulating an effective strategy for implementing the methodology. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and board members define roles for personnel at various levels. The directives are aimed at empowering the staff to explore innovative ideas. Staff members are expected to propose breakthrough improvements. The approach breaks down departmental barriers and overcomes resistance to change.
consists of innovators drawn from upper management. Champions mentor personnel at lower levels, including the Black Belts. The role is designed to ensure an integrated approach to implementation.
Master Black Belts:
role players at this level are appointed by the Champions to act as in-house coaches. Daily duties for members is focused entirely on the implementation of Six Sigma. They guide personnel on lower levels with the assistance of the Champions. Some of the key roles for Master Black Belts include ensuring consistency across the entire organization and handling statistical tasks.
responsible for implementing Six Sigma methodology on priority projects. They provide special leadership on project-specific tasks to ensure successful execution. The projects are assigned by Champions and Master Black Belts.
consists of personnel that handle Six Sigma implementation as part of their daily duties.
Organizations often provide specialized training to personnel assigned to Six Sigma roles. This is aimed at ensuring that implementation is done correctly. The total number of belt levels varies by organizations. Some entities add belt colors, such as yellow, to suit specific requirements.
The implementation of all of the following methodologies is known as DMAIC, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
the problem, goal or reason the issue needs to be resolved.
use the current state of your business as a baseline and a starting point for improvement.
figure out using data driven tools and validate as to why said issue is happening
identify some creative solutions to get rid of the root causes of the problem.
maintain the improvement to sustain its success.
The mindset of constant improvement is also at the core of Six Sigma implementation. If you want your business to have a long and prosperous life free from failure, prevention and curing issues when they are small and manageable is the key. So in reality, all businesses need to stay healthy, and that is why Six Sigma is important to all businesses big and small.