What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a popular methodology that involves tools and techniques that are used to identify and eradicate inefficiencies in various processes. This procedure of eliminating the inefficiencies will ensure that the number of defective products produced by the company is reduced and total productivity of the company increases. The term six sigma is derived from a statistical term which means a process that only allows less than 3.4 errors in one million products.
What are the different levels of Six Sigma?
Since Six Sigma is a methodology, it can be implemented in different stages based on your expertise. The results of a Six Sigma project is only as good as the team members implementing it. Hence, you need to have a certain level of expertise to begin and work on a Six Sigma project. The different levels are:
• Yellow Belt – A person with the yellow belt only has minimal knowledge about Six Sigma and helps out part time on the project.
• Green Belt – A professional with a green belt has sufficient knowledge about the various techniques of Six Sigma and assists part time on the projects.
• Black Belt – A leader with a black belt has thorough knowledge about all the coursework of Six Sigma and has led the team in several projects. He/she basically focusses quality improvement projects.
• Master Black Belt – This is the highest level of expertise in the Six Sigma methodology. An employee who has successfully completed the Black Belt training and is capable of handling close to 10 different Six Sigma projects at the same time is a Master Black Belt. A leader with a Master Black Belt should possess excellent leadership skills and should have strong quantitative abilities.
Each of these levels has certain roles associated with them within a project. Once an organization understands all the requirements of each role, they can easily allot the work to the capable and qualified employee.
What are DMAIC and DMAIIC?
DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. It is a model used in Six Sigma to carry out the projects. It basically means that you need to define the process before starting it. Then collect all the data and analyze the same using various tools. In order to improve the efficiency you also need to make significant changes in the existing processes. Last but, not the least you need to ensure that all the rectifications are implemented before the process starts so as to ensure that the project goes on as planned and the number of defects is reduced.
DMAIIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, implement, and control. After working in the industry for many years on Six Sigma, a few leaders felt that the implementing step was necessary in order to ensure that the Six Sigma belt implements the improvements himself/herself instead of just handing it to somebody else.
What is the first step in a Six Sigma project?
The first step is always the hardest in a Six Sigma project. You need to define the following in your very first step in order to successfully plan the entire process:
• The problem
• The process
• The business case
• The desired solution
• The suppliers and their inputs
• The customers and their requirements
• The items to measure
• The ways to measure
These terms are self-explanatory. Ensure that you discuss with your entire team and clearly define all these parameters in detail. Each team member should be aware of all these factors.
What is the next step?
Once you have clearly defined all the parameters, the measuring process begins. You need to collect data that are required to carry out various processes. In certain cases, the team leader will have to design a new process to collect data. In most cases, this is not necessary and the traditional tools such as check sheets, cost of quality, measurement system analysis, Pareto analysis can be used. Ensure that you follow the model effectively in order to achieve your goals.
Six Sigma is a vital methodology used by many popular companies all over the world. From small businesses to large corporations, every organisation finds some use for the techniques in Six Sigma in order to improve their processes and increase their profits.