Throughout this article, we will explore Six Sigma as well as answer the question: what is the main goal of a Six Sigma implementation? But first, let’s see the context for this subject.
In today’s world, businesses have two main goals:
- They need to satisfy their customer base first and foremost;
- Also, they need to generate money.
However, given the intense state of competition businesses experience, they have to come up with systems and processes to optimize their workflow. This is in order to increase customer satisfaction or to decrease the amount of loss and waste. This explains the emergence of new management programs and tools, such as Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma.
What Is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a program that focuses on quality control. More specifically, it strives to decrease the amount of variation in production by analyzing the problems and tackling them one at a time. It mainly relies on the use of statistics, financial analysis, plus project management. The end result is to improve cycle-time along with reducing the amount of defects in the work, be it a product or a service.
Due to the customer-centrered mentality of Six Sigma, defects are defined as any feature that doesn’t meet the customer’s needs. According to Six Sigma, these defects should not be more than 3.4 per million opportunities. In a nutshell, Six Sigma believes that any business activity exhibiting shortcomings should be measured and optimized.
Therefore, our first answer to what is the main goal of a Six Sigma implementation is to enhance or eliminate anything that doesn’t help a business satisfy its customers.
Who Uses Six Sigma?
The Six Sigma system was first developed by an engineer working at Motorola by the name of Bill Smith. He originally came up with the system to help Motorola and its manufacturing department. Nevertheless, several industries later on appropriated the system for their own purposes. So in 1995, Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric in the 80s, publicly praised the Six Sigma methodology, and the whole thing went viral. As a matter of fact, Six Sigma currently stands for a business management philosophy that tries to satisfy customer requirements with the use of data and analysis.
As we can see, another answer to what is the main goal of a six sigma implementation is to empower employees and boost morale. After all, having a detailed understanding of the business process as well as being able to control it can offer an employee a sense of satisfaction and purpose.
Ways in which a Six Sigma can help your business?
Defects are inevitable: a business cannot eliminate them entirely. Yet, these defects can be minimized to an almost negligible degree. Let’s say that the purpose of Six Sigma is to optimize a business’s work process. Now, let’s try to quantify the benefits and. Also we can revisit the question of what is the main goal of a Six Sigma implementation.
- The Six Sigma Academy estimates that an experienced practitioner can, on average, shave 230,000 dollars for every project they work on. Additionally, the same practitioner can work on 4 to 6 projects in a given year. All the while, our tireless practitioner gets paid an annual salary of 80,000 dollars.
- Jack Welch once asserted that the cost benefits of Six Sigma for General Electric over the first five years would be around 10 billion dollars.
- According to the MIT Lean Academy, 3.4 defects per million opportunities roughly translate into only one hour of electricity shortage every 34 years. You can also see it as one minute of unsafe drinking water for every seven months. Bear in mind that we are talking about an efficiency of 99.99966%.
3 Key Tips for Six Sigma implementation
As beneficial as Six Sigma might seem, it is a costly system to implement. After all, it requires plenty of work and scrupulous data collection. As a result, it is worth looking at a few tips to help.
1. Know When to Use DMAIC and DMADV
There are two main models for implementing Six Sigma: DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. A quick glimpse of what each stage entails goes as follows:
- Define: find out what the faulty process to be analyzed is.
- Measure: make up a list of all the possible factors that could be causing the problem, then measure the effect of each one.
- Analyze: having finished measuring, analyze the results to locate the root problem.
- Improve: fix the problem.
- Control: modulate the factors affecting the process so as not to regress
On the other hand, the other model, DMADV, is composed of define, measure, analyze, design, and verify. The first three parts of DMADV are the same as DMAIC, whereas:
- Design is the stage of designing a product or solution based on the previous analysis.
- Verify requires an affirmation from the customer that the design meets their needs.
Obviously, DMAIC is more appropriate for situations when the business process in question is faulty and needs adjustment. As for DMADV, it is suitable for occasions when the business is creating a new product or service. It could also come in handy when the process proves too faulty that it needs to be overhauled entirely.
2. Know the Type of Variation Your Data Tells You
When measuring the variation in its production process, a business will come across two main types. These are the common cause variation and special cause variation.
- Common cause variation, referred to noise as well, is statistical variation that is bound to happen. There usually isn’t a specific reason for it, yet a business strives to lessen the range of variability.
- However, special cause variation indicates that a particular factor is responsible for the variation. At this point a business tries to address said factor.
3. Know Where to Implement Your Controls
For any business trying to figure out what is the main goal of a Six Sigma implementation, said business can utilize the data collected and tackle its defects in one of two ways:
- A business can try to decrease the number of defects directly in each process. This takes place through continuous work.
- The business can try to decrease the number of opportunities. These are the moments where defects can arise. The fewer opportunities there are, the fewer defects there will be.
To Sum It Up
Throughout the article, we’ve briefly touched upon what Six Sigma is. Furthermore, we’ve explored what is the main goal of a Six Sigma implementation. Finally, we’ve looked at some tips on how to use this powerful tool. You can research for more information and maybe discover that this is suitable for your company.
As always, please leave a comment in the section below.