Long time, no see. I have come up with something more useful this time. Ever heard about Six Sigma? Well you might have, but here I will give a little more clear picture on how it is useful. You need not be an operations executive to know this, you can apply this in for improving any business process. I won’t waste your time by giving too much information about who and why they invented six sigma blah blah blah, this blog is about what is Six sigma? and how you can use it to improve your business. Without further delay let’s dive into the topic.
Six Sigma is a method followed to ensure the increase in performance by reducing the delays in the process and to improve the process further for better productivity. The main goal of Six Sigma is to reduce the time, variability and defects during the production. I got to know that, by using six sigma we can produce a defect free product 99.9996% of the time by allowing only 3.4 errors per one million opportunities, Isn’t that great? You know why it is so important? Because it identifies and helps correct the problems before the company incurs any kinds of loss and it has a proven track record of ensuring quality output and adding value to the business.
Six Sigma has two methodologies DMAIC and DMADV
This is the most commonly used methodology. DMAIC means Define, Mesure, Analyse, Improve and Control. Each step has its own significance in this method. This basically is used when you wish to fix an issue or improve the current process. An example would give you a better idea.
Example problem: Suppose that the sales of the company are not up to the mark and you can see the decrease in sales year by year. You know this is one of the major issues any company would like to avoid. You can use the DMAIC method to fix this.
Define: At this step you need to define the problem and see if there are any steps how you could improve the current process.
For example problem: You should understand that the problem is a decrease in sales. And you should check the way to improve the sales i.e replacing resources, modifying the product, etc.
Measure: This step requires and is based on the data of what is the current process and how is it performed.
For example problem: You can measure few metrics like sales done by each employee, most sold product, sales per month, least sold product etc
Analyse: Here you identify the cause of the problem, which might require the past data of the process and results.
For example problem: You might identify from the previous data that the product which was being sold more is being sold less in recent years.
Improve: Here you modify the existing process and ensure that all the problems identified in the above step are addressed. This is also called the solution-development phase.
For example problem: You change or add more features to the product to match it with the other competitive products in the market or make it even better than those that are in the market.
Control: This step is to maintain the changes to the process and to ensure that the new process is being implemented and the progress is made.
For example problem: Recording the new sales and maintaining the improvement.
DMADV is not as popular as DMAIC. DMADV is also called DFSS which means Design for Six Sigma. DMADV means Define, Measure, Analyse, Design and Verify. This method is basically used when you are planning to produce new products. I guess there need not be any example mentioned here as you can think of any new product for instance a new model watch etc.
Define: Collect information from the customers and note their requirements, understand what they are looking for in a product, what features they are getting attracted to etc and see what you can include in your product to make it successful.
Measure: Major part of this step is to create a specification for the product. From the data collected from the customers make a list of features as specifications to be included in your product so this can help you measure by comparing the product with the specifications.
Analyse: Here you see if there are better ways to design the products and check the areas of improvement to get better results.
Design: Based on the modifications made in the previous step the design is made. The analyse step can be repeated based on the required output. You can also take a sample of customers to share their feedback which helps in improving your product.
Verify: Once you launch the product in the market, you can check if your product meets the customer requirements through their ratings, reviews, and feedback which you can use to design future models.
That is it with Six Sigma, I hope this blog gave you an idea about how you can use Six Sigma for your business. Also, you can understand it better when you practically apply this method for various business processes in real-time. Let me know your feedback through the comments below or drop a message here. I am open to suggestions.