February 28, 2009

Six Sigma for Dummies

Posted in Frameworks, Six Sigma tagged at 11:34 am by Molly

Is it karate? So what is this Black Belt and Yellow Belt then? In short, they are the certifications you receive when you attend training and pass the exams.

Six Sigma (SS) is a business management strategy. SS targets three main areas:

    * Improving customer satisfaction
    * Reducing cycle time;
    * Reducing defects.

SS is a total management commitment and philosophy of excellence, customer focus, process improvement, and the rule of measurement.

SS is about making every area of the organisation better meet the changing needs of customers, markets and technologies, along with benefits for employees, customers and shareholders.

Six Sigma is customer focused;
Six Sigma project produce major returns on investment;
Six Sigma changes how management operates;
Six Sigma is a statistical measure of the performance of a process or a product;
Six Sigma is a goal that reaches near perfection for performance improvement;
Six Sigma is a system of management to achieve lasting business leadership and world-class performance.

METHOD

DMAIC – (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control)

* Define high-level project goals and the current process. Covers process mapping and flowcharting, project charter development, problem solving tools.

* Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data. Covers the principles of measurement, continuous and discrete data, scales of measurement, an overview of the principles of variation, and repeatability and reproducibility studies for continuous and discrete data.

* Analyse the data to verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Covers establishing a process baseline, how to determine process improvement goals, knowledge discovery, including descriptive and exploratory data analysis and data mining tools, the basic principles of statistical process control, specialised control charts, process capability analysis, correlation and regression analysis, analysis of categorical data, and non-parametric statistical methods.

* Improve or optimize the process based upon data analysis using techniques like Design of experiments. Covers project management, risk assessment, process simulation, design of experiments, robust design concepts and process optimisation.

* Control to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability, move on to production, set up control mechanisms and continuously monitor the process. Covers process control planning, using SPC (statistical process control) for operational control.

Six Sigma is a rigorous, focused and highly effective implementation of proven quality principles and techniques. SS relies on tried and tested methods that have been around and in many of the large world-wide organisations for decades.

Since Six Sigma has been tried and implemented in the big cat companies, what are you waiting for? Get identifying those Six Sigma projects now and start saving the company money.

More coming later, stay tuned to the blog.

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