Six Sigma Methodology and Six Sigma Principles
Six Sigma is a powerful problem solving and process improvement tool developed by a quality assurance engineer Bill Smith at Motorola in 1986. Then it was registered in 1993 as a trademark of Motorola. The CEO of General Electric (GE), Jack Welch used this efficient technique for his business strategy in 1995. Six Sigma Methodology involves a set of techniques to improve the quality of a process or a product by removing or minimizing the causes of defects. Professionals from all around the world use six sigma principles for better business processes.
Six Sigma Methodology combines statistical methods with quality management methods to build a framework for process improvement within the organization. This article reviews the key aspects of Six Sigma Methodology.
Six Sigma Methodology
Six sigma methodology aims to improve the quality of the process by analyzing and reducing defects and errors. It is a quality management process applicable to all industries such as manufacturing, finance, construction, healthcare etc.
Six Sigma implementations and projects aim to reach specific targets such as reducing indirect costs within the organization, decreasing water contamination, reducing project payback period and increasing stakeholder satisfaction. Each Implementation project has specifically defined steps, frameworks and targets.
Apart from other quality improvement techniques, Six Sigma aims to achieve measurable quantifiable and measurable results. Other techniques oftenly rely on assumptions and estimates.
There are two basic methodologies for conducting a “Six Sigma” process which are DMAIC and DMADV. Each term’s name is derived from the capital letters of the major steps in its process. The Deming Cyle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) inspires both DMAIC and DMADV methodologies.
The main difference between the two methodologies is DMAIC is used to improve the existing process while DMADV is used for new products or process. Both methodologies have five basic phases which are explained below.
Six Sigma – DMAIC
The Six Sigma DMAIC method is used for correcting and improving an existing process.
1. Define: Identify the customer requirements and project objectives.
2. Measure: Realise the current project performance and measure the various aspects of it by collecting inputs.
3. Analyze: Analyze the data and determine root causes of any defects.
4. Improve: Optimize the current process and etablish ways to improve the process.
5. Control: Create and implemet control systems to control the future performance of the process. It is a continuous process aims to reach the desired quality level.
Six Sigma – DMADV
The DMDAV method is used for creating new business process or product.
1. Define: Identify the customer requirements and project goals.
2. Measure: Measure product capabilities, risks and critical components.
3. Analyze: To develop and design alternatives
4. Design: Design the alternative which is the best suited one in the Analyze step.
5. Verify: Verify the design by the help of simulations and implement the production process. Then hand over the process to the client or the process owner.
Six Sigma Methodology Implementation Levels
Six Sigma implementation necessitates special trained staf and certified professionals. Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt are the three levels of Six Sigma Certification.
There are also white and yellow belt roles but their task is to assist higher level belts. Mostly they work part time to help to improve the Six Sigma implementation by collecting datas and other duties given by high level belts.
- Green Belts: First certification level is green belt. They mostly have general understanding and knowledge on Six Sigma Principles. They participate in Six Sigma projects as a part-time employee.
- Black Belts: Black Belts are full time experts working under the guidance of Black Master Belts. They are the experienced team leaders.
- Master Black Belts : They guide employees for Six Sigma Implementation. They work with upper management in a close cooperation.
Benefits of Six Sigma Methodology
Projects mostly suffer from poor quality customer dissatisfaction. Six Sigma is an efficient problem solving technique that seeks to increase customer satisfaction. It aims to produce defect free products (Six Sigma limits the defects per million opportunities less that 3.4).
Using the Six Sigma Methodologies and implementing it’s core principles provides many benefits to the organizations. Here below are some benefits of using this technique to improve the business processes.
Six Sigma helps to;
- Increase the productivity
- Minimize defects
- Increase the customer satisfaction
- Improve the customer loyalty
- Impove the quality
- Impove the emloyee satisfaction
- Reduce the cycle times
- Solve the problems effectively
- Determine the root cause of a problem
- Improve decision making
- Improves the business processes
- Reduce the operating costs
- Improve strategic planning
- Improve time management
- Create a vision for company
- Ensure continuous improvement
Six Sigma is a popular process improvement methodology in business that focuses on customer satisfaction. The two methodologies DMAIC and DMADV are the sub methodologies of Six Sigma. Using this technique enables to reduce the amount of defective products manufactured or services provided, resulting in increased revenue and greater customer satisfaction.
Lean Six sigma is another concept which combines lean manufacturing and Six Sigma Principles. The Lean Six Sigma aims to remove wastes and provide an excellent process flow. Most of the large companies from various industries use Lean Six Sigma principles to improve operational efficiency.