Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization ("Black Belts", "Green Belts", etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction and/or profit increase).
There are several steps for the implementation of Six Sigma in an organization. These steps include: • Understanding the commitment of top leadership
• Access to current information on customer requirements
• A process management system to measure current performance and identify where you need to make improvements • Employing Black Belts and Green Belts to design and improve processes and to assist process owners • Allowing management involvement and review to reinforce process management, improvement and design • Adopting effective communication strategy to ensure that Six Sigma methods are implemented throughout the organization.
The following steps are needed to implement the Six Sigma initiative: • Perform financial analysis to understand profitability, COPQ (cost of poor Quality)and key contributors. • Establish profitability objectives.
• Measure contributors to profitability.
• Establish business objectives and define values.
• Recruit a firm for Six Sigma training and implementation guidance. • Select a pilot project or area for “small wins.”
• Define projects and develop plans to realize improvement. • Conduct executive, champion, Black Belt and Green Belt training. • Solve problems and develop solutions to reduce waste.
• Monitor progress of projects and provide support as needed. • Celebrate and publicize successes.
Benefits of using Six Sigma
There are several benefits of applying Six Sigma:
It introduces rapid and almost radical improvements. Several of the quality initiatives of the earlier days a such as Quality circles, Kaizen and Quality Function Deployment are very necessary for an organization at all the times. However, by their very nature, these measures produce incremental improvements. The pace of improvement is therefore slow. In addition to these kinds of improvements an organization in todayâ€™s fast changing business world needs improvements to be brought in very rapidly in order to match the pace of changing technologies and changing customer requirements. Six Sigma is such an instrument of change, which can bring about radical changes in the way an organization functions.
It transforms the entire organization:
When Six Sigma is implemented, the entire Organization in all its constituent parts is geared for absorbing rapid and radical changes. One cannot possibly bring in large changes in one part of the organization, without adequate measures in the other parts. Six Sigma initiatives make the management to take a closer look at the various function and departments and the inter-relationships between them.
It provides a consistent metric:
By its very nature, Six Sigma provides measures and targets that are quantifiable. Specific defects â€“ deviation from the customer requirement are identified and, measured. Improvement performance is also measured. A consistently uniform measurably is one of its important distinguishing characteristics.
Organizational changes are brought about by the implementation of Six Sigma. These transformations are general in nature. But, the improvement they generate can be and should be measurable against a yardstick. Six Sigma uses customer requirementâ€™ as that yardstick.
The customer is always in focus:
The benefit of constant measurements is that the customer is always in focus with her requirements being the standard against which the measurements...
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