KEY CONCEPTS OF SIX SIGMA
At its core, Six Sigma revolves around a few key concepts.
Critical to Quality: Attributes most important to the customer.
Defect: Failing to deliver what the customer wants.
Process Capability: What your process can deliver.
Variation: What the customer sees and feels.
Stable Operations: Ensuring consistent, predictable processes to improve what the customer sees and feels.
Design for Six Sigma: Designing to meet customer needs and process capability.
Our Customers Feel the Variance, Not the Mean.
So Six Sigma focuses first on reducing process variation and then on improving the process capability.
MYTHS ABOUT SIX SIGMA
There are several myths and misunderstandings surrounding Six Sigma.
Some of them are given below:
Six Sigma is only concerned with reducing defects.
Six Sigma is a process for production or engineering.
Six Sigma cannot be applied to engineering activities.
Six Sigma uses difficult-to-understand statistics.
Six Sigma is just training.
ORIGIN OF SIX SIGMA
Six Sigma originated at Motorola in the early 1980s, in response to achieving 10X reduction in product-failure levels in 5 years.
Engineer Bill Smith invented Six Sigma, but died of a heart attack in the Motorola cafeteria in 1993, never knowing the scope of the craze and controversy he had touched off.
Six Sigma is based on various quality management theories (e.g. Deming’s 14 point for management, Juran’s 10 steps on achieving quality).
Benefits of using Six Sigma
Organizations face rising costs and increasing competition every day. Six Sigma allows you to combat these problems and grow their businesses the following ways:
Lean Six Sigma increases your organization’s revenue by streamlining processes.
Streamlined processes result in products or services that are completed faster and more efficiently at no cost to quality.
Simply put, Lean Six Sigma increases revenue by enabling your organization to do more with less – Sell, manufacture and provide more products or services using fewer resources.
SIX SIGMA DECREASES YOUR ORGANIZATION’S COSTS BY:
Removing “Waste” from a process. Waste is any activity within a process that isn’t required to manufacture a product or provide a service that is up to specification.
Solving problems caused by a process. Problems are defects in a product or service that cost your organization money.
Basically, Six Sigma enables you to fix processes that cost your organization valuable resources.
Six Sigma improves the efficiency of your organization by:
Maximizing your organization’s efforts toward delivering a satisfactory product or service to your customers
Allowing your organization to allocate resources/revenue produced from your newly improved processes towards growing your business
Simply put, Six Sigma enables you to create efficient processes so that your organization can deliver more products or services, with more satisfied customers than ever before.
DEVELOPS EFFECTIVE PEOPLE/EMPLOYEES
Six Sigma develops effective employees within your organization by:
Involving employees in the improvement process. This promotes active participation and results in an engaged, accountable team.
Building trust. Transparency throughout all levels of the organization promotes a shared understanding of how each person is important to the organization’s success.
Basically, Six Sigma develops a sense of ownership and accountability for your employees. This increases their effectiveness at delivering results for any improvement project they are involved in.
Quite often, this benefit is overlooked by organizations who implement Six Sigma, but it’s underlying advantages dramatically increase the chances of continued success of Six Sigma, and your business.
Who Benefits From Using Six Sigma?
SMALL- AND MEDIUM- SIZED BUSINESSES
Six Sigma works for small and medium businesses (SMBs). In fact, often times, the same success that is achieved within large businesses can be achieved in small and medium businesses since smaller organizations can move faster because less people, fewer resources and lower levels of red-tape are involved.
The benefits are boundless, as Six Sigma increases revenue and reduces costs, while freeing up resources that can be utilized toward any endeavor your organization wishes to pursue.
A new product or service Other improvement projects Expanding your sales force
PEOPLE & MORALE
Six Sigma not only increases revenue and reduces costs; it positively affects people by engaging them in improving the way they work. Since employees are the closest to the actual work (production of a product or delivery of a service) of any organization, they become the best resources to understand how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes.
By participating in successful Six Sigma projects, employees are able to build the confidence and develop the capability to become your business’ most important assets. Studies show that when employees feel that they have a positive affect on the organization, they perform better, are more accountable and live happier lives. And once your employees get comfortable with Six Sigma skills, they can continue to find and remove problems and waste in your organization.
Healthcare costs are skyrocketing and an aging population means increased stress on healthcare services. Six Sigma can help you increase the amount of time care providers are able to spend with patients, reduce the time spent on paperwork, and reduce the time people spend waiting for care, waiting for claims or waiting for a call.
As consumers increasingly rely on technology, Six Sigma helps businesses by delivering products with fewer defects, decreasing returns and more.
Budgets continue to tighten and resources are more limited than usual. Six Sigma shortens the time to sign up new customers, reduces the time to provide customer service and brings revenue in faster.