What improvements will you make to your manufacturing processes to get ahead of your competitors and set the stage for economic advantage? Will you make strategic investments for research and development or is it customer satisfaction and quality that you are after? While you would want to implement all these processes, your ultimate goal would be to realize your potential and meet organizational goals.
But with the economy in a lurch, organizations have to deal with rising costs and erratic customer requirements to provide the best possible solutions. This can be achieved by bringing about process improvements that will help limit resources so that there is no wastage.
The idea of implementing a standard for process improvements is not new. Motorola was a pioneer, developing the Six Sigma set of standards way back in the 80’s. It was developed as an alternative to traditional quality measurement standards, which though effective, were not fool proof enough. But with Six Sigma, Motorola saw great profit improvements, and many organizations replicated its success.
Based on the DMAIC process, it involves defining the system, measuring the key aspects of the system, analysing the data involved, improving, and controlling processes.
These processes are brought about by individuals, who in Six Sigma parlance are designated as Champions, Black Belts, Green Belts, and Yellow Belts. They use statistical quality control to evaluate the process capability and make suggestions for improvements.
The idea behind using specially designated individuals, is to “professionalize” processes and achieve the highest possible quality in implementation.
While it does have its detractors who argue about the negative effects of overreliance on statistical tools and lack of documentation, the fact is that it has survived and has been successfully implemented in large-scale organizations across sectors.
That’s because, Six Sigma has evolved over time and morphed from being just a standard to a way of doing business. As Geoff Tennant mentions in his book, “Six Sigma is a vision; a philosophy; a symbol; a metric; a goal”, and perhaps that’s what contributes to its success.