Today lack of data is not a problem, rather, taking a correct decision with too much data is a problem. In this write-up, you will find an overview of Six Sigma Certification which if followed correctly can help businesses to come out with flying colors.
Late British economist and author Ronald Harry Coase quoted “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything”.
The literal meaning of Six Sigma is based on the Greek symbol “sigma” or “σ”, which is a statistical term measuring process deviance from the process mean or target. The term “Six Sigma” originates from the bell curve which is used in statistics, where one Sigma represents a single standard deviance from the mean.
In 1986, the American company Motorola came up with a new concept of quality management process which over the years has been polished and refined. The outcome of this is a sound theory of methods and principles, targeting business transformation through a clearly defined process. This final product is Six Sigma.
Six Sigma thus is a bouquet of techniques and management tools designed to improve business by reducing the probability of error. A data-driven approach which uses a statistical methodology for eradicating defects.
The concept of Six Sigma was originally used to improve manufacturing processes, but today the same tools and techniques are considered industry-agnostic. They have been successfully used in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, aeronautics, retail, electronics, and more.
Every business may it be large or small faces competitive pressure and struggles to reduce costs, minimize defects or variability, etc. Six Sigma is a production philosophy that uses tools, processes, and data to nearly eliminate errors and brings output close to perfection. Achieving Six Sigma limits defects or errors to a maximum of 3.4 per million opportunities.
(In even more technical language, as per several Six Sigma sources, a “normally distributed process, with normal distribution variation about the mean, would need specification limits of +/- 6 sigma to produce less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.”)
Businesses and organizations who have adopted Six Sigma processes witness better regulatory compliance and business development standardization, improved customer service, shorter cycle times. However, the rigidity of Six Sigma makes its processes partially difficult to implement, and rather it takes months or years before all significant employees are on board, following the processes consistently enough and meticulously to realize such benefits and value.
Now let’s glance at the five key principles to which Six Sigma owes its foundation:
1) Know your customer
We are well aware that in business, it is believed that the “customer is the king.” The main goal of any business to be successful is to bring maximum benefit to its customers. For business, it needs to measure the value the same way its customers do. Focusing on your customers becomes a priority which in-turn drives the loyalty or the sales of a business. One needs to establish the benchmark of their quality as per their customer or market demands.
2) Identify the root causes of your problems
Be sure to map all your steps. Clearly define your goals for all aspects from the reason of data gathering to data collection to defining the data to be collected, etc. Ensure that all the communications made clearly defines the required output. Also, the measurements should be repeatable and accurate. The insights acquired during this process ensure the accuracy of measurements and establishes a standardized data collection system. Six Sigma data collection involves interviewing people, observing, and asking questions. At each step, ask questions to conclude the root causes of the problems.
Once the final data is gained, use it to look for ways to optimize or improve the process by recognizing the root cause of variation.
3) Remove defects
Once you identify all the issues, make appropriate changes to the process and eliminate variation (if any) to remove the defects. Remove all the stuff which does not add to the customer value. Use tools to help determine the outliers and problematic areas if the value stream doesn’t tell where the problem lies.
Don’t wait till the signs of variation become obvious. Streamline all the functions to achieve efficiency and quality control. In the end, by taking out all the junk, bottlenecks in the process are detached.
4) Always work in a team
Always adopt a structured process where your entire team can contribute in their ways, collaborate with their varied proficiency for problem-solving. You should also involve all the stakeholders too. There can be a huge positive impact on an organization with Six Sigma processes. So the team members have to be proficient in the methodologies and principles used. This thus requires specialized know-how and training to reduce the risk of re-designing or project failures and ensuring that all the process performs optimally.
5) Form a flexible and responsive ecosystem
The crust of Six Sigma is change and business transformation. Whenever you remove something wrong or faulty it always calls for changes in the employee’s approach and work practice followed. A robust culture of responsiveness and flexibility towards changes in procedures can guarantee a streamlined project implementation. The departments and its people involved should be able to adapt to change easily, so to facilitate this, processes everything should be designed for seamless and quick adoption. Ultimately, the company that has an eye fixed on the data can examine the bottom line periodically and adjusts its processes and wherever necessary, can gain competitive insights.
Six Sigma has five basic stages, also known as “DMAIC” framework:
- Define – Identify, define, and locate where problems might be occurring.
- Measure – Develop and outline various data indices including non-value-added and value-added steps during the entire work process.
- Analyze – Use tools and data to identify variation and to analyze its reasons.
- Improve – Minimize your mistakes and improve step by step with the help of new technology and tools available.
- Control – Closely monitor and control all the ongoing and new processes to ensure the organization does not backslide towards errors again.
The Six Sigma Tools
2. Flow Chart
3. Cause and Effect Analysis
4. Pareto Chart
5. Check Sheet
6. Control Chart
7. Scatter Plot
An entrepreneurial company aiming to begin with Six Sigma effectively requires all its associates to complete Six Sigma Overview Training or certification, designed to establish Six Sigma as an important part of the organization’s culture. Apart from these organizations can also opt for online certification training courses, which can help their professionals get a six sigma green belt certification or even a Six Sigma Black Belt. Generally, a Black Belt coach project teams and is proficient enough in using wide-ranging analytical tools, including customized software, to produce noticeable organizational improvements.