Since the 80s, there has been an increasing interest in the Six Sigma methodology within multiple sectors. From manufacturing to healthcare to education to construction; Six Sigma has been a prominent methodology that uses process improvement and quality control. It is not only used for improving business processes, but also for increasing customer satisfaction, by eliminating defects/errors, reducing cycle times as well as operational costs.
Some of the other key elements of Six Sigma programmes include making fact-based data-driven decisions, improving business processes, providing management leadership, teamwork and training that encourages innovation whilst managing risks. This quality approach is related to the reduction in process variability and decision-making based on statistical tools such as the Process Capability, Control Charts, Pareto Chart, Histogram, Gage R&R, Regression, and others.
According to the Global Business and Management Research Journal (2003), the manufacturing industry suffers a lot from excessive and uncontrolled process variations.
‘Variation’ is the property of a characteristic, process, or system that takes on different values when it is repeated. Sometimes, a variation in a process can cause low efficiency, poor quality, and slow cycle times down in manufacturing.
However, by implementing the Six Sigma methodology, businesses have the potential of reducing variation from new/current products processes via a design/redesign approach.
Six Sigma Implementation
Six Sigma is a data-driven management methodology that begins when stakeholders clarify what measures are essential to assess the manufacturing operation performance. After the conduction of assessment, analysis and data collection should be processed and updated to find out the main components for improving manufacturing process outcomes. Once the process has been implemented, businesses will be able to eliminate any potential defects.
Manufacturing practitioners of Six Sigma are extensively trained in the DMAIC methodology, with the objective of reducing cycle times, eliminating defects, achieving cost savings, reducing variations and process improvement in the operations.
The main viewpoints of Six Sigma in manufacturing comprise of:
- A focus on the impact of financial goals through process optimisation, tied with customer satisfaction.
- The emphasis on customer needs and measurable improvements in processes that are critical to the quality characteristics — each character is a distinguishing feature of the product or service.
- The internal critical quality parameters relate to the needs of the customer, for instance, timeliness.
- For the manufacturer’s product to be remunerative, the value of the output must be higher than the value of the inputs used. During the Six Sigma transformation, the inputs that are collected in the form of labour, material, machine, and energy, are used to create the output product to the customer’s stipulation.
Six Sigma training
Manufacturers can improve Six Sigma outcomes by introducing training initiatives, which are focused on leader efficacy. Successful organisations realise the importance of their human assets and how they play a major role in achieving success. The extent of success depends on the relevant level and significance of the organisation’s human asset’s knowledge and expertise.
If you are a manufacturing firm and want to implement Six Sigma in your business module, we have crafted a course/training for your specific requirement. Our courses are led by well-known Six Sigma Master Black Belts and Six Sigma Champion certificate holders who have been in the business for more than 20 years. Check out more about the course details and curriculum at Opex Learning.