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What is Six Sigma?
“Six Sigma (6σ) is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It was introduced by engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1980. Jack Welch made it central to his business strategy at General Electric in 1995. A six-sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of all opportunities to produce some feature of a part are statistically expected to be free of defects.
Six Sigma strategies seek to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has specific value targets, for example: reduce process cycle time, reduce pollution, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase profits.
The term Six Sigma (capitalized because it was written that way when registered as a Motorola trademark on December 28, 1993) originated from terminology associated with statistical modeling of manufacturing processes. The maturity of a manufacturing process can be described by a sigma rating indicating its yield or the percentage of defect-free products it creates—specifically, within how many standard deviations of a normal distribution the fraction of defect-free outcomes corresponds to. Motorola set a goal of “six sigma” for all of its manufacturing.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Sigma)
Six Sigma could best be described as quality that strives for near perfection. It serves as a disciplined data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driven towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specifications limit) in any process within an organization. The processes can range from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service delivery. It is the implementation of a measurement based strategy with the purpose of improvement and variation reduction through the application of the Six Sigma improvement project. The Six Sigma Certification is a confirmation of an individual’s capabilities with respect to specific competencies. Like any other certification, this certification indicates that an individual has completed the necessary requirements from the company granting the certification. The certification on its own however does not summarize the worth of a true quality professional.
- Six Sigma should be pursued by companies or individuals who value customer advocacy. This means that customers are always the recipients of processes, and that customers (internal or external) are always the final judge of a product or service quality.
- Individuals and companies who intend to be self-motivated and have personal initiatives and a positive personality.
- People who intend to be cheer leaders within an organization and want to possess the ability to pick up a team and help them move forward productively.
- Companies or individuals who intend to become effective communicators, an essential aspect for the many roles a company or an individual play.
- Individuals who intend to have a business acumen exhibiting they have business knowledge, and the ability to display the linkage between projects and the desired business results.
- Team players and leaders who want to possess the ability to lead work with teams and be part of a team that understands team dynamics (forming, storming, norming, and performing)
- An individual or a business can gain a lot of improvements through this methodology if it is implemented properly.
- Improve on quality of products/services and enable these product/services to be of the best quality while at the same time selling at the lowest possible price.
- Company processes are enhanced through the Six Sigma thus leading to fewer errors.
- Resources such as money, time and products are better managed thus leading to the lowering of the production costs while at the same time enhancing quality.
- Companies through the Six Sigma Certification may gain more customers since the main objective of this certification is customer satisfaction.
- The value of the shares for the business will go up because of the Six Sigma methodology because of the increased income the company receives.
- With the Six Sigma training of employees, various companies are guaranteed higher morale due to the processes being made more efficient.
- Improvements on quality of products and services.
- Creation of a higher morale amongst the employees.
- Satisfaction of employees with their work loads.
- Increase in the value of shares for the business or company due to the increased income.
- QSE adopts all tools of Six Sigma for Implementation. This approach, designed and perfected by QSE, addresses each facet in an easy to implement manner. Tools merge with each other seamlessly and so effortlessly that the product is a top-notch quality.
- 5 Whys – When any process throws up a problem, this perhaps is the first method and is best used to identify the root cause of the problem. Just formulate questions that will dig deep into the causes of the problem. The 5 could be a minimum number and any number of Why could be used to reach the root cause.
- Accelerated Life testing – This process is used for products in a serial production. The idea is to set up extreme conditions for testing of the product and see of the problem does show up. This will help in fixing defects for extreme conditions so that normal conditions are automatically taken care.
- ANOVA – ANOVA stands for Analysis of Variance. This is a statistical tool often used to compare results from one statistical returns to other Statistical returns to get best results. for a set of statistical data. ANOVA and Repeatability and Reproducibility (R&R) studies will eliminate all doubts regarding measurement functions
- Axiomatic Design – This tool uses matrix methods to determine the customer specific or Consumer anticipated needs regarding the products and build the same in to Design of the products. This is likely to bring-up the design limitations.
- Business Process Mapping – This is the tool is used to understand complexities of the problem through creation of a process flow chart. This is a graphical representation of process flow of responsibility ownership, relationship of individual tasks and organizational alignment.
- Ishikawa Diagram – This is used essentially during brain storming sessions. All probable and possible causes for a problem are listed to examine the effect they have in a process. All probable causes are listed in a diagram shaped like a Fish -Bone. It is also called fish- Bone diagram but as a mark of respect to Dr. Ishikawa who first used to interpret Cause and effect analysis the diagram is called as Ishikawa Diagram
- Cost Benefit Analysis– This method is most applicable if you are comparing two or more courses of action. Monetary valuation is fixed on each attribute and all values, positive for benefits and negative for cost, will be tallied. This calls for a factual assignation of the values taking also into consideration the time value of money. The alternative with the highest monetary value is deemed the most cost effective course of action.
- CTQ Tree– Quality is sometimes defined as Fitness for use. The Critical-to-Quality tree is used to measure the degree of satisfaction a product or a service be effective to deliver for its end user or customer. Actual usage functions will be used to determine this tree
- FMEA– Failure Modes and Effects Analysis is an effective procedure to anticipate address potential faults and failures of any given process and take corrective actions to avoid the failures. This tool is popular in Automotive industry where it is extensively used. All process functions need to be broken down in to numerous small tasks and failure mode applied at each task level for effective use of this tool
- Scatter Plot– This is also called the scatter graph. This graph is used to interpret Correlation. He nearness of each coordinate indicates Correlation of values.
- Regression Method– This tool is very like the scatter plot in the sense that both aim to correlate one variable to another. The main difference is that while scatter plot can only correlate two variables, the regression will be able to identify relationship of one dependent variable to several independent variables.
- SIPOC– Supplier Input Point of Control. SIPOC is the acronym for supplier, or the source of input, input.
- Aside from the listed above, Six Sigma also has the following management tools:
- Check Sheet
- Chi-squared Test
- Control Chart
- Design of Experiments
- General Linear Model
- Pick Chart
- Process Capability
- (QFD) Quality Function Deployment
- Quantitative Marketing Research through Enterprise Feedback Management
- Root Cause Analysis
- Run Charts
- Taguchi Methods
- Taguchi Loss Function