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Business & Career Improvement
An Introduction to Six Sigma Terminology
- Categorized in: Six Sigma Belt Levels (General)
It can be easy to get confused by Six Sigma terminology, especially if you are looking at it for the first time. In simple terms, it is about looking at the fundamental ways in which businesses operate in order to find a better way. Every part of this process is about improving the service or product a company offers to its customers.
The idea behind the Six Sigma Process is to eliminate defects. In this context, a defect is anything that impairs the quality of a product or service. This could be something physical such as the brakes not working in a vehicle, or it could be something that has gone wrong in the process of making a vehicle. A good example would be if you ran a bar and had two people serving for hundreds of people. The defect in this context is that there are not enough people serving at the bar for the amount of customers. In real life, inside real businesses, these defects are surprisingly difficult to see and point out.
The word Sigma itself has a statistical meaning. It refers to how far something is from perfection. The whole philosophy of Six Sigma is that everyone involved strives to achieve perfection by eliminating as many defects as possible and by making their products and services as efficient as possible. Trained and Certified Six Sigma Professionals are defined by belts in a similar method to martial arts. A green belt is a part time member who is responsible for improving processes, while a black belt is a full time project manager.
One way of achieving Six Sigma Perfection is by changing the mindset of a company. This process uses a number of terms to describe quality approaches or improving the process in which companies deliver products and services. One example of this is the DMAIC Process which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Each of these steps should be considered by a business when looking at how well their processes operate on a daily basis. This helps decide whether someone or something is achieving what they should do for your business.
Another way this perfection can be achieved is by using what are known as quality tools. These help people to look at how their businesses work on a deeper (and perhaps statistical level). One way of doing this is with a Control Chart. This is a method of monitoring the different aspects or variance of a business. It shows what can happen if any variance could change, helping to warn of any potential future problems Variance, or in this case, differences in the quality of the same product or service, is not ideal in a business, because when you are selling something to customers, you want and need it to be consistent for success.
Another version of this is called a Pareto Diagram. This is based on the Pareto Theory that 80 per cent of the problems a company faces can be attributed to 20 per cent of the problems. Finding those sources and eliminating them should increase the efficiency of your business. This is also covered by using a process called Root Cause Analysis, a method of finding potential causes of defects.
A Tree Diagram is also a useful for the illustration of this purpose. This diagram allows Six Sigma Professionals to break down a larger goal into a number of smaller and more achievable targets. It is also an effective way of getting people to consider possible solutions to problems.
In conclusion, Six Sigma Terminology is designed to get people thinking about how their businesses and products work. It is about improving customer satisfaction and making better products and services at a better cost. This well benefit both the business and the customers in the long run!