Six Sigma Approach

Six sigma approach has become very popular in the recent years because of its high level of efficiency. There are many organizations which are implementing the approach in order to eliminate all sorts of flaws and defects from their systems. This approach is extremely helpful in attaining ultimate customer satisfaction and also to overcome the shortcomings of the conventional systems. Two models popularly used in six sigma approach are DMAIC and DMADV.

Six sigma is the compilation of management strategies applied by business organizations to improve and maintain the quality of their products and services while lowering the costs and thus resulting in optimum efficiency and performance. This was first developed by Motorola, later imbibed by other business enterprises. Six sigma approach strives for perfection or almost near to it. It requires a team to work in synchronization to employ this long term process. Successful implementation needs “master black-belt” senior managers to the “green-belt” employees. But they all follow a typical approach, that is, the six sigma approach.

The six sigma approach follows two methodologies – DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control whereas DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify. The first three parts of both the methodologies seem to be similar but from the fourth step they differ.

Steps of Six Sigma Approach:

    • Define: It is the first step of the model, which asks for the leaders or the administration to define the core processes. It is important to define the project opportunities, the resources needed, the timelines required and possible expectations. This part asks for the process details, what it is and what it is not, what are relevant or related and what are not, what the scopes of this project can be and what objectives should be set.
    • Measure: Before we set on to the execution part, you need to know two things, the objectives and the current position. This part asks for the quantification and measurement of actual resources and available performance data. Customers’ needs should be specified and understood. A statistical chart should be maintained on the customer requirements of the goods and services, and our present ability to fulfill them.
  • Analyze: After the process is understood and documented, it should be broken down into detailed parts, to determine the possible defects in the current strategy or the possible new strategic options to reach the objective set with available resources. This part of the model covers these points. It calls for understanding the roots of the different problems that may arise and try out different methods to find out the most promising solution. It could be removing the defects from the present system or creating a whole new method to treat the problem.
    From here, the two methodologies go different ways. In case of DMAIC, here are the steps that are followed:
  •  Improve: In this part, all possible ideas and opportunities are tested and tried out to remove the defects in the present system. Small details are also held into count and the team applies all possible tools and strives towards discarding the defects from the current system, thus improving its effectiveness to meet the customer needs.
  • Control: This part makes sure that while the performance and quality of the goods or services is improved, the same standard should be retained throughout. So regular checking and keeping a statistical chart of the changing patterns of the demand and supply of the goods and services is important.

In the DMADV model, the first three steps are same and last two steps are different. The last two steps are as follow:

  • Design: This phase includes intense trial and testing of the different possible alternative strategic options, and determining the most promising alternative to the current method that is being followed. In this part, new products/services are designed keeping the customer needs and the rate of change of the needs in mind. For this, a thorough performance chart of the current method is needed to be checked with, and then possible surveys are being carried out. These are just some of the steps.
  • Verify: After a strategy is being designed to tackle with and improve the situation, proper execution of the strategy is important, but what is more important is to verify if it is working as expected or not. Proper verification sets the guiding rules for the future processes that are to be designed or improved. It also makes sure if further improvement action needs to be taken or not. So, it is actually the end-game that completes the whole approach.

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