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Six Sigma Process Simulation And Modeling

Aug 17, 2007
Six Sigma has become a buzzword in industry circles since its introduction in the 1990's. The methodology is based on a disciplined and data driven approach and is used for eliminating defects and achieving near perfection by restricting the number of possible defects to less than 3.4 defects per million. It is being used effectively for managing processes of both, manufacturing and services industry. In the manufacturing industry, it is used for limiting defects in the goods produced whereas in the services sector it is used mainly for reducing transactional errors.

What Is Process Simulation And Modeling?

Simulation software based on Six Sigma methodologies can be used for simulating a wide range of processes in order to eliminate common industry problems related to defects, wastage of productive resources, and quality control. The basic idea governing Six Sigma process simulation is to provide an accurate system of measuring defects in a process, so that these can be eliminated during the actual production. The emphasis is on measurement and statistics for ensuring that the process is properly set up and measured. The methodology is also used for measuring baseline performance, which helps predict the effects of any improvements made in the process. Proper application of Six Sigma methodologies leads to tangible improvements effected by decisions that have been explored and proven in detail.


The Six Sigma philosophy covers different aspects of industrial processes ranging from pure defect management to process performance improvement. With the increasing use of Six Sigma methodologies, it has become widely accepted that process simulation and modeling techniques can be used for improving almost any type of manufacturing or transactional process. Most of the process simulation and modeling techniques are based on DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control). In the 'Define' phase, the process simulation techniques are used for identifying the changes that would have made the most impact on the outcome. This helps in making the most appropriate changes. Various simulation tools are used throughout the other phases for providing detailed statistical data on the effect of any proposed changes related to throughput, utilization, delays, service levels, and any other factors related to the process.

How The Simulation Model Works

- The simulation software coverts numerical data into graphic representations, which are relatively easier to understand.
- Commercial companies that specialize in providing Six Sigma services offer customized services, wherein the simulation model is an exact replica including all the elements used in the actual process such as machines, labor, conveyor and belts.
- All these elements are represented by icons and once they are in place, one can define the link between these elements, establish the process flow, and add as much detail as possible for simulating the actual process more accurately and more effectively.
- After setting up the simulation, one can simulate an infinite number of hypothetical scenarios both positive and negative that might affect the process. For example with the help of simulation, a manager can know exactly what will happen if a crucial machining tool breaks down or half the labor force does not turn up for work.
- All these factors can severely affect production. However if the extent of potential damage is known beforehand, appropriate contingency plans can be put in place for restricting or even eliminating the possible loss of production.

Process simulation and modeling techniques help executives make informed decisions. The data generated by the simulation tools empowers decision makers with a deep insight about the process and procedures, allowing them the ability to make the necessary changes.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta
Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online href="http://www.sixsigmaonline.org">six sigma training and certification
classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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