The Six-Sigma Concept: An Organizational Myth or A Governing Reality?

It is since time immemorial that organizations have been running on various implementations that kept on altering with the variant passages of time. More improvisations led to the formulation of another set of improvisations and this is how it kept on wheeling until this present day. The original conceptualization of the terminology, six-sigma, was of Michael Harry and Bill Smith. It is they who are credited as the originators of the concept of six sigma for their automobile company Motorola in the 1980s.

Quite quickly, the concept spread like wildfire and after Motorola, GE (General Electricity) was the second company to execute the theory of six-sigma. At the grassroots level of the question, what is six-sigma concept, it is primarily understood as a customer-focused strategy to induce improvement. The elementary requirement of an organization to understand and comprehend the potential in serving customers better is made thorough with the six-sigma concept.

Supported with tools and techniques, six-sigma further relies on its well-structured major objectives, which are:

  • Reducing Variation
  • Congregating with the voices of customers

Basically, putting in simple words six-sigma is an approach or methodology that focuses on improving revenue structures via customer satisfaction. The dual-goal oriented methodology is therefore what we need to clarify here as an organizational myth or a governing reality.

The Six-Sigma Approaches

Using a scientific and symmetrical approach, the six-sigma outlines its approach into two major acronyms, namely DMAIC and DMADV. The first approach that is DMAIC intricately locates its kernel point of action in improving existing processes. Being a widely accredited methodology that is attached with the six-sigma concept DMAIC can be further explained in the following breakdown of its acronym:

D- Defining and locating what are the customer needs, requirements, and project goals.

M- Measuring the key aspects of the ongoing process and planning to initiate the exact time of operation followed by a data collection.

A- Analyzing data so that differentiation between error variants and error locations and be executed smoothly in order to chase the greater targets.

I- Improvisation of processes via a thorough testing and verification session at work.

C- Controlling implementations of the future processes and ensuring that errors are not repeated once again.

On the other side, DMADV casts its light of importance on optimization of new products or processes. The significant breakdown of its acronym is as follows:

D- Defining and understanding what can be the possible goals of the company and its prospective customers.

M- Measuring selected characteristics that have been categorized as critical to quality and assessing the product’s competence, manufacturing process capabilities, and risks.

A- Analyzing data based on the measurements.

D- Designing and outlining the new process that is supposed to be initiated on the basis of analysis executed in the previous step.

V- Verification of the design while following a pilot run, implementing fresh processes, and ultimately submission of the same to the respective process owner.

The Six-Sigma Tools

The basic crux of understanding how six sigma works, is to understand and take a note on the various tools designated for its operation. The six-sigma process cannot be initiated without these tools and the methodologies mentioned above falls irrelevant due to the absence of the former.

  • Control charts
  • Five Whys
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • CTQ Tree (Critical to Quality)
  • Analysis of repeatability
  • Statistical method management
  • Process mapping
  • Pareto charts
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Business method Mapping or Checksheet
  • Cause and effects diagram or bone diagram or Ishikawa diagram
  • Taguchi technique

Principles That Administrate Six-Sigma

There are few of the governing principles that ensure the basic and pre-defined outlines of the six-sigma approach being followed appropriately. Guiding the approach in an auxiliary manner, here are six administrating principles:

  • The constant loop of evolution and stability needs to be wheeling in order to keep the profitable results of the business in the future picturesque.

 

  • Defining the outlined characteristics of manufacture and business processes as laid out and explained in the DMAIC breakdown passage and diagram.

 

  • Sustaining quality improvements needs a commitment from the entire organizational body. This principle is highly relatable and applicable to especially the upper and middle management.

 

  • Every process need to have an appropriate definition and analysis to its in-depth segments and once controlling the inputs have been achieved, doing the same for the output units won’t be that difficult.

 

  • The unsighted continuous evaluation is not what is recommended here. A wise and alert mind needs to work on this considering re-evaluating on what is going right or wrong.

Summing Up

Understanding and analyzing the six-sigma concept and the outlines at its grassroots level, it can be said that it is definitely not an organizational myth. Rather, it truly enacts to be a governing reality. The fully structured approach that sits in an absolute symmetrical equation cannot be denied. Multiple organizations have accepted the productivity of growth and success, post the implementation of the six-sigma approach.

Moreover, the success that is expected to gain after the application of the six-sigma concept depends on how effective and responsible is the respected organization and how well defined are its processes. The hand of expertise that is involved in doing the task is also principally critical in achieving the apex results from the six-sigma methodology.