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Business & Career Improvement
The Six Sigma Quality Management Tool
Six Sigma is regarded as a wonderful business management strategy that was originally developed by a USA-based Motorola company in the 1980s. Nowadays, it is applied by many sectors of the economy due to its numerous benefits. The quality of any process can only be improved by identifying and removing the causes of errors. However, this is not fully adequate until variability in business and manufacturing processes is minimized.
Quality management via the Six Sigma Methodology is done by experts using different methods that grow and maintain talent in an organization. Any project carried out within an organization should follow a defined sequence of steps and must have quantified financial targets. The financial targets are meant to reduce costs and increase revenue or profits. A properly designed Six Sigma manufacturing process creates almost 100% defect-free products. This is what Six Sigma strategies are meant to achieve. The actual goal is less than 3.4 DPMO (defects per million opportunities), or in other words, 99.9997% perfect products.
A defect is any process output that does not meet consumer specifications or leads to the creation of an output that is not desirable. Businesses and manufacturing processes have features that can be measured, controlled, analyzed, and improved. Participants in an organization, especially the top level management, must be committed to achieving sustained quality improvement for the Six Sigma Methodology to succeed. Efforts aimed at achieving predictable and stable process results are a necessity for businesses to succeed.
Decisions should be based on verifiable statistical data rather than guesswork and assumptions. Emphasis on strong and passionate leadership must be of concern to the top level management. Project methodologies composed of several phases were first developed to assist managers working at Motorola, and have evolved over the years into the current quality improvement methodology that we refer to as the Six Sigma Process today.
DMAIC, a process of steps within the methodology to improve current business processes, has five major phases; Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. In any manufacturing process, define a problem while specifically considering customer needs and goals of an organization. The key aspects of current processes are measured and relevant data is collected. Analyze the collected data through tools and statistics in order to find relationships that are causing positive or negative effects.
Never forget to consider all key factors in a process. Any causes of defects must be eliminated in full. Current processes are optimized and improved by making sure that there are no wasted resources. The capability of a process is established by setting up pilot runs. Remember, the control phase of the DMAIC corrects deviations from targets that usually result to undesired defects. Monitoring and implementation of control systems is done to ensure that employees do and continue to meet expected standards and goals.
DMADV is another process of steps used within the Six Sigma Methodology to design a process to create a new product or service and also has 5 steps; define, measure, analyze, design, and verify. The two processes are very similar in their approach with a few differences. Design goals are defined in such a way that they are consistent with the strategies of an organization and consumer demands. Risks and other characteristics that are critical to quality are identified and accurately measured.
Factors that affect a process are properly analyzed to determine if there is another cheaper alternative. Simulation is an important process in designing the new product or service. Design details are supposed to be properly implemented by making sure that optimization and verification are adequately done. Pilot runs must not be left out as they assist in determining the capability of a process. Quality management methods and tools such as charts, trees, and scatter diagrams among others, are very important in realizing desired results.
Six Sigma Basics
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