When you hear about six sigma, what is in your mind?
Some experts tend to define six sigma differently. Depending on whom you ask about this terminology, six sigma can be referred to philosophy, methodology, and tools. ASQ, for example, defines six sigma in term of philosophy as a process which requires input and produces an output that can be defined, measured, analysed, improved, and controlled. In terms of methodology, six sigma is known as an underlying and rigorous approach with practical steps known as DMAIC (define, measure, analyse, improve, and control). Meanwhile, in terms of a tool, six sigma experts use qualitative and quantitative techniques to drive process improvement.
In short, you can refer to six sigma as a strategy to improve the quality of output in a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimising variability in manufacturing and business processes. Commonly, six sigma holders can ensure a robust process for business success. Six sigma is also implementable to all kinds of firms, be it SMEs or big organisations.
The impact of six sigma implementation
As a well-known strategy, when you implement six sigma to your business, you can lower the chance of business failure as its methodologies can strive for perfection to as close as 3.4 defects per million which imply that six sigma can predict business failure as detailed as possible to prevent unexpected things from happening. In an article by Six Sigma, the methodologies focus closely on many things from skilful judgment to quality of a product. For instance, in its methodology, six sigma will use DMAIC steps to better control and analyse what’s happening within a business. DMAIC step is defined as follows:
Define a problem, goal, or reason for an issue which needs to be resolved.
Measure the use of current state of your business as a baseline and a starting point for improvement.
Analyse the problem by using data-driven tools, then validate as to why the issue is happening.
Improve by identifying some creative solutions to get rid of the root causes of the problem.
Control as well as maintain your improvement to sustain its success.
An infographic study by Rutgers University also revealed that six sigma can benefit business more in terms of their productivity and efficiency. The Rutgers study mentioned that with six sigma implementation an organisation can raise the level of their business quality, reduce cost, help individuals to be competitive in the marketplace or to pursue organisation’s core mission, improve innovation, as well as has a positive impact on employee safety. Additionally, a business can produce greater ROI by implementing six sigma. Fortune 500 companies, for example, spent about 0.6 percent of revenue on six sigma and got $8 return for every dollar they spent on a program that is a direct savings of 5 percent of revenue.
So leaders, are you ready to invest more in six sigma?