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Six Sigma For The Service Sector

Aug 17, 2007

6 Sigma is all about quality improvement and was first pioneered by Motorola in the 1980s. Over the last few years, this methodology has received much recognition and several companies have adopted it in order to meet their targets. Six Sigma's clientele include a long list of well-established manufacturers like General Motors, Ford Motor Co., GE, Honeywell and many more. However, there are still many non-manufacturing companies that have come to the conclusion that 6 Sigma will not work for them. This is because Six Sigma was originally developed for helping the manufacturing industry. Organizations such as health care systems, financial service providers and educational systems all doubt the usefulness of 6 Sigma.

Why The Service Sector Feels That Six Sigma Is Not For Them

The most obvious reason why service companies keep away from 6 Sigma is because they perceive it as a manufacturing tool. Service organizations feel that because their companies have a large amount of human work force, there are no measurable defects to be corrected. However, experts say this is not true. A recent survey has shown that service companies that have invested in Six Sigma are all saving millions of dollars for every project. Human resources makes up a large part of all service organizations. To conquer this problem, leaders of the industry can be trained in 6 Sigma to balance their employment expertise with statistics-based analytical tools.

The fear of metrics is another obstacle that stands in the way of the service sector and Six Sigma. Most people feel that 6 Sigma sounds too technical. The importance of metrics is to give an insight into the business working processes. Service based companies need to focus all their attention on developing Six Sigma projects that specialize in their business needs like customer and cash generation. Convincing the service sector about the merits of taking up 6 Sigma has proven to be a big challenge. Most service companies still believe that Six Sigma can only benefit the manufacturing industry.

How 6 Sigma Can Benefit The Service Industry
Six Sigma goes in to the details of improving customer service, generating business expansion and gaining knowledge about the service sectors business processes. Most service industries revolve around areas of finance, human resources and sales and marketing. Hence, 6 Sigma delves deeply into the subject of soft skills. Six Sigma can be applied to a company that provides housekeeping services. Firstly, the companies working processes would need to be understood. Using the DMIAC method or the define-measure-improve-analyze-control method, 6 Sigma can definitely implement quality in any industry. As the main aim of this methodology is to reduce defects, the first step would be detecting the particular defect. Secondly, data will be collected to observe how, why and how often these defects occur. Next, the Six Sigma team implements an outstanding employees method of working as the normal method for all employees. Finally, new employees are taught the correct techniques.

6 Sigma is useful in the field of sales and marketing as well. According to Six Sigma data, during sales, too much face time with a customer can prove to be counter-productive. Changing this process can result in an increase in the percentage of sales per product. Other industries that 6 Sigma has assisted in the past are the financial service sector, insurance companies, management companies, educational institutions, high-tech companies, state agencies and many more.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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