Six sigma is a data driven approach and a methodology to eliminate defects from a process – It may be a manufacturing process or a service process. Six Sigma was introduced by Bill Smith & Mikel J Harry while working at Motorola in 1986. Jack Welch launches it central to his business strategy at General Electric in 1995. Six sigma identify and remove the causes of defects and minimize variability in manufacturing and business processes and thus improve the quality of the process.
Several scholars / writers define six sigma in different ways. It can be defined as a – Problem solving methodology, as a metric, as a philosophy and as a management system.
Six sigma as a Problem solving methodology:
Six sigma as a problem solving methodology established in organization to improve the critical parameters or process of the organization and the departments of the organization. All the important performance indicator of the organization needs to produce the flawless results for the organization's success and be able to produce the desired output.
This problem solving method offers a five step plan which offers organizations a road-map to follow so that issues that an organization is facing can be resolved using a structured methodology.
Six sigma as a Philosophy
Six Sigma brought the approach of customer focus. It means that the definition of the quality of a product or service is defined by the customer itself. When any organization has a customer focus, then it needs to gather some different information in order to provide customers with exactly what the customer looking for. Collection of VOC (Voice of Customer) is the best way for an organization to get success. VOC gives us the understanding about customer needs and their perception and preference about the product / services. It will help an organization to produce a product or provide a service that fulfill customer demands and thus lead to customer satisfaction.
Employee engagement is an important factor towards the success of a six sigma initiatives. In a Business process on the ground team is very close to the process. They know about all issues of the process, the surroundings of the process, and interface to the customer; closest to the process bottleneck etc. therefore they are the one who can give actual potential Xs about the process.
Distaste to defect and variation:
Organization implementing Six Sigma means that the organization spread a culture where the organization attempt to erase every defect and reduce variation in the process.
Six Sigma as a metric:
“What you can’t measure you can’t improve”
Six sigma as a data driven methodology, make it necessary to collect data for all critical process metrics and their contributing factors. Six sigmaalways makedecision on the basis of fact and when organization understand the advantage of decision making on the basis of data it started to use dashboard and scorecard which facilitated decision making etc.
Six sigma as a Management System:
Six sigmause three frameworks for Process improvement initiatives.They are:
DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improvement and Control)
When we have a process which is already exists, we use DMAIC framework to review and improve such process.
DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyse, Design and Verify)
When we create a new product or process design we use DMADV framework.
DFSS (Design, For, Six, sigma)
While the tools and order used in the Six Sigma program require a process to be in place and functioning, DFSS has the objectives to identify the needs of the customers and the business, and driving those needs into the product solution.