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What is Six Sigma: Everything You Need to Know About it
Businesses are often on the lookout for techniques and tools that could help them improve their processes, eliminate risks, and minimize errors. And six sigma is one of the few effective techniques that have shown promising results in the past. Its goal is to improve the production cycle and minimize manufacturing defects or eliminate them. The strategy is mostly implemented by business leaders who believe project management, financial analysis, risk management, and statistical tools can help improve the quality of products and services significantly. This also boosts employees’ morale, eventually contributing to greater profitability and success.
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a technique that makes businesses capable of handling day-to-day operations smoothly and executing complex management procedures in an efficient way. They use data analysis and statistics to conduct business operations. The process helps reduce errors, improve performance, and boost employees’ morale, all of which contribute to higher profits. Put in simple terms, Six Sigma has a clear goal − to help businesses achieve near-perfect output. Whether a product launch or a new project, Six Sigma can help boost productivity and improve performance substantially. Let’s check out the key principles of six sigma.
Focus on the Audience
It’s based on the belief that a customer is King and no matter what, their satisfaction should be the number one priority of any business. Businesses must understand their customers' needs and work accordingly.
Identifying the Problem
The next step is data collection, which eventually leads you to identify the problems. You need to identify the purpose of collecting data, mention the expected insights, and establish the best data collection and management system. It’s equally important to analyze if the data is helping you in any way, whether it helps you achieve your organizational goals, and discuss any additional information related to the data.
Clearing the Junk
As soon as you have figured out the problem, the next step is to identify solutions that could help you clear the junk (eliminate those problems that might affect the product performance). Eliminate each tool or technique in the process that does little or nothing to improve customer value. Once the junk is eliminated, there are no bottlenecks; hence, the process turns out more efficient.
Involve the Team
A single person can’t identify all problems in a process, which is where team efforts come into the picture. You should embrace a process that involves each stakeholder and your entire team so that every participant can share their ideas to improve the operational efficiency of a process. Remember, Six Sigma affects your organization and the processes you have implemented greatly, which is why it’s important that businesses following these strategies follow the principles correctly.
A Flexible Ecosystem
The main purpose of Six Sigma is to introduce efficiency in the processes to bring transformation in businesses. Ultimately, it changes your business ecosystem. For any company to succeed, it’s important that the employees work together and are able to adapt to change. It’s easier to run your business operations smoothly when you have robust tools and plans in place.
There are two effective and proven techniques for Six Sigma − DMAIC and DMADV. The former is used for improving the efficiency and performance of the current sets of products. The method is applied during the manufacturing process.
For developing a new product, process, or service, there is a modified version known as DFSS or Design for Six Sigma. DMADV or Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify, is the process most commonly used in DFSS.
Only industry experts who have completed the required hours of training and achieved a certification must conduct Six Sigma. Here are the important steps used in the Six Sigma procedure.
The first step is to define the problems from a customer’s point of view. Once these are identified, you can set the goals and plan on the techniques or tools you will use to achieve them. Figure out the process and work with stakeholders so you can have peace of mind knowing that you are on the correct track.
The next step is related to the metrics. Identify and measure your problems (if it’s quantifiable). You can use figures or data that can back up your problem. You must also figure out the most viable way to measure your problems.
It refers to analyzing the data to come across the root cause of potential defects.
This phase shows how the changes in your process affect the results. Based on the results, you must improve the processes by implementing new techniques, revising old plans, or changing them completely.
It refers to the process of implementing specific process controls to sustain the overall improvements.
For DMADV on the other hand, important parameters to understand are
Defining the process and design goals.
Measuring and identifying critical−to−quality characteristics of the process, product, or service.
Analyze the data to come across the best design.
Designing and testing the product, process, or service.
Ensuring that the design output is meeting the input requirements.
Six Sigma Levels
There are various tools and stages for Six Sigma. Although you need technical expertise and knowledge in this field, newbies can join, given that they have the basic knowledge of Six Sigma and the tools used. Here are the stages.
This is the simplest phase where anyone (regardless of experience and proficiency) can join, but a fundamental knowledge of the concept is required. They are assigned to the problem-solving department, where they work in teams to identify problems and determine reliable solutions.
People in the yellow belt specialize in both methodologies implemented in Six Sigma. They are supposed to review process improvements and work as a team member of the project management department.
This requires at least three years of full−time employment experience and a sound understanding of the tools and techniques used for problem-solving.
For Black Belt certification, you must guide the project management team and have hands−on experience in problem−solving.
Master Black Belt
It features a seasoned black belt with relevant problem-solving and leadership skills. The designation depicts that an expert is capable of taking a broad view of business strategy while coordinating teams.
A champion is regarded as the upper-level manager capable of leading the LSS strategy as well as its deployment. A champion has the responsibility to make sure that all initiatives aimed at lowering waste and removing defects are coordinated with the growth−specific needs of the company.
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