Why is six sigma important?

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Six sigma definitions

In Six sigma, sigma refers to standard deviation as in statistics. Standard deviation (σ) is the measure of how far a given value is from mean value μ. It has a simple formula to do the calculation. Six sigma signifies that the given value is six standard deviations far from the mean value. In a normal distribution (popularly used in statistics) it means very far away from bell shape middle portion , deep into the ends. Thus its probability is very rare. This concept is used to study six sigma methodology of reducing variation and wastes, by decreasing the probability of an error/variation from specification, it is made very rare to happen in a particular process . Such are known as world class processes.

The scope of application of the 6 sigma method is very extensive and popular.

Using this method we can easily eliminate the defect rate during production, extending manufacturing capabilities and improving work team productivity. You can find who is screwing up in your office.

Now this methodology is mostly known as Lean 6 Sigma.

“Lean manufacturing” – what do we do to reduce our production losses (wastes) and speeding up production processes; standardized solutions are welcome;

“Six Sigma” – main goal it’s improving the quality of products and, as a consequence, increasing customer loyalty; the basis of solutions is an information analysis (it can be often completely non-standard).

Six Sigma, in simple words, is a method of statistical analysis that helps make the process of reducing the wastes manageable and stable.

How Six Sigma Began

In the 19th century, German mathematician and physicist Carl Fredrich Gauss developed the bell curve. By creating the concept of what a normal distribution looks like, the bell curve became an early tool for finding errors and defects in a process.

In the 1920s, American physicist, engineer and statistician Walter Shewhart expanded on this idea and demonstrated that “sigma imply where a process needs improvement,” according to “The Complete Business Process Handbook: Body of Knowledge From Process Modeling to BPM Vol. 1” by Mark von Rosing, August-Wilhelm Scheer and Henrik von Scheel.

In the 1980s, Motorola brought Six Sigma into the mainstream by using the methodology to create more consistent quality in the company’s products, according to “Six Sigma” by Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder.

Motorola engineer Bill Smith eventually became one of the pioneers of modern Six Sigma, creating many of the methodologies still associated with Six Sigma in the late 1980s. The system is influenced by, but different than, other management improvement strategies of the time, including Total Quality Management and Zero Defects.

Does it work? Motorola reported in 2006 that the company had saved $17 billion using Six Sigma.

Six Sigma certification

The Six Sigma certification has three levels as Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt. It is not necessary to be certified in all three levels. You can select the level which is most appropriate to your career objectives.

Yellow Belt certification is an efficient way to learn the basics of Six Sigma. It is ideal for those who lead limited improvement projects. Those who are supporting improvement projects in a limited role in a Six Sigma team.

Green Belt certification is ideal for those who are part of a Six Sigma Management Team. Those who are assisting with data collection and analysis for improvement projects. Green Belt training will allow you to implement Lean Six Sigma proficiently.

Black Belt certification is for team leaders who manage big improvement. It also helps in problem-solving projects. At the Black Belt level, you will have a thorough understanding of all aspects of Lean Six Sigma

The impact of Six Sigma is being seen on company’s every level. This has steered it to be adopted by businesses in all types of industries.

Methodologies of Six Sigma

There are two major methodologies used within Six Sigma, both of which are composed of five sections, according to the 2005 book “JURAN Institute Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond” by Joseph A. De Feo and William Barnard.

DMAIC: The DMAIC method is used primarily for improving existing business processes. The letters stand for:

  • Define the problem and the project goals
  • Measure in detail the various aspects of the current process
  • Analyze data to, among other things, find the root defects in a process
  • Improve the process
  • Control how the process is done in the future

DMADV: The DMADV method is typically used to create new processes and new products or services. The letters stand for:

  • Define the project goals
  • Measure critical components of the process and the product capabilities
  • Analyze the data and develop various designs for the process, eventually picking the best one
  • Design and test details of the process
  • Verify the design by running simulations and a pilot program, and then handing over the process to the client

What is Six Sigma Used For

Six Sigma is a tool for quality improvement. Its main objective is to design and systematize a process or processes in order to eliminate defects and inefficiency. It was originally invented by engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola, USA in the year 1980s. Later on, it has become popular in the corporate world due to its effectiveness and proficiency.

Six Sigma aims to give an unparalleled performance, high value and the most reliable services or products to its target customers. It is considered to be one of the most powerful Tool in Quality Management.

Though Six Sigma is developed and designed especially for Quality Control, it is also used in many different ways. These include:

  • Improving communications with customers, employees and shareholders and;
  • Improving the total process of communication, interaction, and product design.

Why should Six Sigma be adopted?

  • It defines a visible process for a certain problem.
  • Six Sigma is usually adopted since it is a proven tool to solve any issues or problems
  • Six Sigma is proven to be compatible with its results.
  • It focuses on the bottom line that entails credibility from the top of the organization.

As mentioned above, Six Sigma has many uses and approach to achieve (0) zero complaint/defect and can be applied to different sectors of industry. Six Sigma is a statistical representation of how processes are performing in the organization. Six Sigma defect is defined as anything that is outside of the customer identification. Quality of products and service are improved in order to lessen complaint and achieve total customer satisfaction. All these matters most in Six Sigma application.

When should Six Sigma be used? And what is six sigma used for?

  • It should be used when there is a need to define an unknown situation or cause.
  • When issues are not well defined.
  • When other approaches to address the issue is inappropriate
  • When other problems solving tools fail
  • When the situation is complex and has many variables

Six Sigma in layman’s term is a scientific approach to solve any problem as it uses data in dealing with all sorts of problem. It is a quantifiable approach to addressing any problems.

As a summary, Six Sigma is used to:

  • Maximize customer satisfaction by minimizing defects
  • Define and Improve processes
  • Improve quality and achieve a zero defect performance
  • Design and redesign processes
  • Process management
  • To measure data to accurately know how the process is working or whether the quality of the products is in the competence level.
  • Used in analyzing what is the cause or what is the root cause of a certain defect or issue.
  • Improve areas, steps, and aspects that need to be improved for a better way of life.
  • Control all the designed and implemented processes in order to prevent the old problem from recurring and enjoy the fruits of the improvement made.

Six Sigma is not a quality tool that should be stopped once a problem is already cured. In fact, It is a continuous process for continuous improvement.

Benefits of Six Sigma to the Organization

The appropriate application of Six Sigma methodology does impact all pieces of a business. It can be enhancement of services to employees, devoting more into the final finished product. Few advantages of utilizing Six Sigma to improvise business operation are listed below-

Customer Satisfaction: A business will implement upgraded processes and improved quality control with Six Sigma methodologies. This results in an improved finished product. That, leads to higher customer satisfaction.Customer loyalty: Happy customers are loyal customers to a brand and they come back to make future purchases. To achieve a loyal customer, the product should remain consistent in its quality.

Improved bottom line: Good word-of-mouth references are given by happy customers. Happy customers always returns for more. All of these translates into an improved revenue stream.

Employee satisfaction: One of the benefits of Six Sigma is how it can direct employees to a common cause. Six Sigma offers leaders a chance to clarify and rationalize the message. Also, improved results can create a sense of companionship. It leads to better results.

Better partnerships: Whenever a company does well, other companies associated with it can leverage improvements. This can lead to long-term partnerships as well as having them adopt similar Six Sigma

Here are 12 benefits of utilizing Six Sigma:

1. Career Advancement

The most common motive to have a certification is to progress in your career. Having that certification provides endorsement to employers that you have an explicit skill set. Competition for employment can be severe. By having proof that you have awareness and you can apply lean six sigma, can set you apart from crowd.

2. Helps Nurture Managerial and Leadership Ability

Once you achieve Six Sigma certification, you will have a thorough understanding of measuring and quantifying financial benefits. Six Sigma training makes you ready for leadership roles. With the techniques and knowhow to cut costs and increase revenue, you become a good leader. You learn ways to improve the efficiency of the business process. Those who achieve Six Sigma Black Belt are also equipped to become a change agent within the organization. They lead efforts to improve processes. They help in improving quality of products and services delivered to customers.

Financial management and risk assessment are desirable skills for middle and top-level management. Certified Six Sigma professionals get good chance of growing to senior managerial positions.

3. Standardization

There is no authorized organization that manages Lean Six Sigma certification process. The actual certification and training helps to achieve a culture for improvement. It also helps process management. Those who are aware and trained in lean and six sigma voice a similar language. They better understand the steps need to be taken to fix a process and reduce wastes.

4. Improve Business Processes and Sustain Quality Improvement

Once you get the Six Sigma certification, you’ll be able to prove that you have the knowledge. Knowledge to identify the characteristics of an organization’s business processes. You will be able to measure, analyze, control, and improve them. You will also have the capability to conduct a review of current processes. You will gain a very clear knowledge of their impact on quality performance.

You’ll also mature in the ability to achieve the level of continual quality improvement that organization needs. You will be able to observe processes closely to confirm there is no deviation from the mean. You will be able to take corrective measures in a project.

5. Excellent Salary

As per a survey carried out by indeed.com

, the salary for Six Sigma certified professionals is in $100,000+ pay bracket. They are amongst the highest-paid professionals globally.

6. Applicability across Industries

What is the worth of a Six Sigma certification? Six Sigma technique applies in electronics, aerospace, banking and financial services, IT, telecom, HR, marketing, and many more industries.

Getting a Six Sigma certification can definitely lead to better job prospects. You will get better salary. Six Sigma exams are not easy to pass. This is one of the reasons Six Sigma certified professionals get so much respect. Executives and hiring managers at key companies are well aware of this fact.

With a Six Sigma certification, you will be able to focus yourself as a change agent within the organization. You will be spearheading quality improvement throughout organization. You will be strengthening your leadership qualities. Individuals certified in Six Sigma are knowledgeable in different methods to streamline business processes. Certified six sigma professionals are experts in reducing costs, and increasing revenue. These lead to a better bottom line, irrespective of the industry.

As a professional, you need to acclimatize yourself to the changing needs of your industry. You need to learn to upgrade your knowledge to different situations, no matter what industry you are a part of.

7. Ensure Compliance

With the rigorous quality standards of Six Sigma, process errors are reduced to insignificant numbers. This has meant that many of organizations apply Six Sigma when evaluating products or services. As a certified Six Sigma professional, you will be able to help organizations conform with international standards, as well as maintain profitable business.

8. Gain Hands-On Experience in Quality Management

Six Sigma certification process comprises hands-on work on business projects. It gives experience with implementation of principles to real-life situations. As a certified Six Sigma professional, you will achieve valuable experience even before you enter the industry.

9. Organizational Growth

Applying lean six sigma is a recognized way to improve an organization. Company needs to have large majority of people who are trained and understand the methodology. In such a company, it is easier to drive initiatives and new projects that are designed to improve processes. Team members should be trained to have better analytical skills that can help to gauge causes and analyze them before acting on them. This way professionals attack problems and fix them efficiently.

An organization can reach its goals by eliminating wastes and promoting innovation of processes.

10. Support Your Organization Eliminate Errors

From an enterprise’s perspective, attaining a Six Sigma certification enables an individual to become vital. Individual attains the ability to identify and cut repeatable errors.

With a Six Sigma certification, individuals would be able to transform an organization to increase revenue. You will be able to identify and reduce errors. These errors would have brought poor customer satisfaction and damages to the business. Certified Six Sigma professionals can help decrease complaint resolution time, customer complaints, spending and cost overruns.

11. Improved Company Culture

Lean Six Sigma is an established methodology. It has become a culture in big organizations. Everyone in such organizations can adapt to change and contribute in the advancement of the company. Having an improvement culture is what will really help a company. Culture propagates from the top. Leaders need to adopt a continual improvement culture to encourage it throughout the company. By having professionals who are certified, a continuous improvement culture will be well adopted.

Becoming Six Sigma certified professional has rewards for both you and the company. Six Sigma methodologies have the capability of improving your company’s profits and making customers delighted. It will improve your marketability and probabilities of valuable employment for many years to come.

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