Six Sigma is a system for process improvement that focuses on eliminating problems or defects. Process changes are based on the results of data analysis and seek to achieve measurable quality and financial improvements. It was introduced by engineers Bill Smith & Mikel J Harry while working at Motorola in 1986. Jack Welch made it central to his business strategy at General Electric in 1995.
Six Sigma is a disciplined, statistical-based, data-driven approach and continuous improvement methodology for eliminating defects in a product, process or service. It was developed by Motorola in early to middle 1980’s based on quality management fundamentals, and then became a popular management approach at General Electric (GE) in the early 1990’s. Hundreds of companies around the world have adopted Six Sigma as a way of doing business.
It seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has specific value targets, for example: reduce process cycle time, reduce pollution, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase profits.
Sigma represents the population standard deviation, which is a measure of the variation in a data set collected about the process. If a defect is defined by specification limits separating good from bad outcomes of a process, then a six sigma process has a process mean (average) that is six standard deviations from the nearest specification limit. This provides enough buffers between the process natural variation and the specification limits.
Customer Satisfaction: With Six Sigma methodologies in use, a business will implement improved processes and better quality control, both of which should result in a better product. That, in turn, will lead to more satisfied customers.
Customer loyalty: Satisfied customers are customers who will stay loyal to a brand and return to make future purchases – as long as the product remains consistent in its quality. Any business wants to retain its customers. It is a significant factor to measure the success of business. Customer loyalty and retention will show the the levels of Customer Satisfaction.
Most of the surveys says that the reason of customers for not returning to a business are dissatisfaction and employee attitude. The company may or may not know that they have a dissatisfied customer.
By implementing six sigma in a business reduces the risk of having dissatisfied customers. To achieve this you should consider a running voice through customers to understand the products which are critical to customer perception of satisfaction.
Improve bottom line: Happy customers mean good word-of-mouth and also customers returning for more, all of which translates into a better revenue stream. If publicly held, this can also mean a rise in share prices.
Employee satisfaction: One of the side benefits of Six Sigma is how it can rally employees to a common cause. Unlike companies where management often flounders, Six Sigma offers leaders a chance to clarify and streamline the message. Also, improved results can create a sense of camaraderie that leads to even more good results going forward. Nothing succeeds like success.
Employee Motivation: In every business the employees need to act in a right way, if it is destined to success. For this they must have a sufficient motivation. The organizations which are fully engaged with the employees, had 25-50 % increases in the productivity.
Better partnerships: Whenever a company does well, other companies associated with it can see improvements, as well. This can lead to long-term partnerships as well as having other companies adopt similar Six Sigma strategies for their companies.
Strategic Planning: Six Sigma plays a key role in any strategic vision. Once the business has used a created mission statement and carried out a SWOT analysis, then six sigma helps you to focus on the areas of improvement. For example, if the strategy of your business is based on being a cost leader in the market, then six sigma helps you to improve internal processes, eliminate unnecessary complexity, increase yields and maintain lower cost supplier agreements. In fact, whatever your business strategy happens to be, six sigma helps your company the best at what it does.
As you can see, becoming Six Sigma certified has advantages for both you and the company you are working for. Six Sigma methodologies have the capability of improving your company’s bottom line and making customer happier, as well as improving your marketability and chances of quality employment for many years to come.
Since the results of a Six Sigma project are only as good as the people involved and the training those people receive, selecting the right employees and providing adequate training are critical to the process. An existing business can implement Six Sigma by first identifying the employees who have the experience to fill the Six Sigma team roles below:
Master Black Belt – This role is filled by an employee who has completed Black Belt training and typically leads between five and ten different Six Sigma projects. This employee must have strong quantitative skills and highly-developed leadership skills.
Black Belt – This professional works full time on quality improvement projects. The Black Belt has completed all Six Sigma coursework and has led several projects.
Green Belt – This professional typically works part time on projects and has been trained in Six Sigma methodology.
Yellow Belt – This person assists part time on project teams and has received minimal training in Six Sigma.
Once the role requirements of each Six Sigma belt are understood, it becomes easier to match these roles with employees who have the needed skills, abilities, and experience.
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