Six Sigma Improvement

Six sigma improvement depend on the efficiency of the professionals and consultants handling it. They follow the DMAIC project strictly in order to obtain optimum results. The green belts, black belts and master black belts are equally responsible for the six sigma improvement process.

Six Sigma is a statistical data-driven management approach to achieve the company’s goals and expectations with least amount of investment bringing maximum returns in the future. It is a collection of management strategies that are applied to the different running processes in a company to check for perfection, or near perfection for that matter. This was first developed by Motorola and then adopted by many other reputed companies like Allied Signal, Xerox, General Electric and such. After the integration of six sigma into their operational strategy and applying it to the execution of the projects in hand, drastic improvements in their market competence and level of customer satisfaction with a higher level of consistency was noticed.

Now, before we know what steps they follow to improve the process, let us know how to actually choose the project. A lot of research on the current industry practices and policies is done, which may provide a rough idea of the right project to select from the list. But to make it easier, the Supply Chain developed a Selection Criteria Matrix comprising of five criteria to be fulfilled. The project which scored highest in the selection actually shows the best promises of higher returns in the future. A good project should always keep the company’s interests intact, provide the highest value to the customers and also helps in the company’s overall competence and stand in the market for future prospects.

After the process is selected, a process deployment strategy is chalked up. It considers the upper level and bottom line functional resources and whether they are meeting the company’s standards or not. It is better that the whole process is divided into certain phases, i.e., tactical, operational, functional, etc and then dealt with one at a time. This results in a clarified and coordinated system of execution of the improvement strategy.

The basic six sigma process improvement model that is followed by most organizations is the DMAIC model. It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. A short introduction to all the steps has been given below:

  • Define: There should be a clear idea of the end project before the improvement work can actually begin on the present project. It determines the goals of the company, customer’s needs and demands, the project’s scope, the resources available, the expectations and the timelines. It basically creates a document work on the project.
  • Measure: This phase basically uses the most advanced statistical and logical tools and methodologies and figures out the current aspects of the project and the expected improvements that are to be brought in the same in quantities. In short, it quantifies how much improvement needs to be accomplished.
  • Analyze: This is the stage where the project is divided into small parts, focus is maintained on each aspect or scope of the project and possible problems are assessed. It goes on to dig further and find the root causes of the problems. This actually helps in the steps to improvement ahead.
  • Improve: This is when the creative thoughts flow and churn out ingenious plans or strategies to deal with those problems. Huge experience and high competence in the management field is needed to come up with the best promising plans to eradicate or cope up with the errors. It actually happens in two methods: either subtract the defects or replace it with more effective plan.
  • Control: It is the most important part of the whole approach. This phase makes sure that the accomplished improvement doesn’t diminish over time and always keeps up with the company’s standards and expectations. It also checks the effects of the project on the other dependant processes and thus, the overall competence of the organization in the market.

This whole process is a recurrent process, which is taken care of by a special team of six sigma experts which takes care that the organization keeps improving and performing in a consistent manner in the future as well.

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