Six Sigma: An Optimization Philosophy
Six Sigma is a well-structured, data-driven methodology aiming towards the elimination of variations, imparted due to product, processes or systems in all kinds of manufacturing, service delivery, management, and other business activities.
To ensure the sustainable results, this methodology entails unique projects with defined sequences of steps and KPIs, which are generally quantified targets such as: reduced process costs and/or time, reduced pollution, improved customer satisfaction and, ultimately, increased industrial financial bottom-line.
Six Sigma suits
Six Sigma methodology is based on the combination of well-established philosophy and tactics. Lets have a brief look over these entities.
- It is considered as a philosophy: By controlling the x Variables, output of the process y can be improved following the function f.
- It is a set of Tools: Six Sigma entails many statistically driven tools including Statistical Process Control, Control charts, FMEA, Process Mapping, Design of Experiments, Accelerated Life Testing, Hypothesis Testing etc.
- It is a Methodology: Six Sigma methodology covers two powerful domains i.e.: DMAIC & DMADV. Former methodology comes into play when an existing system is to be improved, while DMADV helps in the designing of new integrated system or processes.
- It is a metric: Worldwide, its performance means lesser than or equal to 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). The below figure is very important in understanding the subjected terminology:
- It follows a project based approach. Each problem or a related group of problems affecting a single output is defined as a project initiated for improvement. Several such projects are initiated and managed for baseline improvement of a product/service line or an organization. Each project is run by a cross functional team that are trained on multiple aspects including Six Sigma concepts.
- It requires a very strong and consistent support from Top management to drive it as a management strategy. Otherwise there is a huge risk or opportunity loss of six sigma being shrunk as a small scale process improvement tool.
- It follows a proper hierarchy, through which its deployment is ensured. They are Project Champion, Master Black belt, Black Belt and Green belt. The roles of these designations and their contribution towards six sigma projects are predefined.
Benefits of Six Sigma
It is a prevailing technique of modern times, which has been adopted by the giants in a global world like GE Motors, Alibaba, Amazon etc. It can help us in eliminating the variations from the processes, ultimately enhancing the effective of generate output. nevertheless, it must be followed by developing an improvement culture within an organization and promoting the essence of current era needs in company’s strategical aspect.