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Six Sigma and Government Practices

Aug 17, 2007
Six Sigma was originally developed for reducing defects and improving the quality of business processes in the manufacturing industry. However, with the development of new concepts and methodologies, these concepts are increasingly being implemented in the services sector and in governmental organizations as well. The basic concepts can be implemented in all types of governmental organizations such as local bodies, state level organizations and federal government bodies.

By implementing Six Sigma concepts, governmental organizations can improve their customer services and increase the overall efficiency of the organization as well. This process offers the same benefits to governmental organization as it offers to business organizations in spite of the fact that it has its roots in the manufacturing sector.

Similar Goals and Objectives

Many business organizations have successfully implemented Six Sigma concepts in their business processes and reaped the associated benefits such as reduced operational costs, increased profits, and increased customer satisfaction. Although governmental organizations do not function for making profits, they still have plenty of reasons for implementing these concepts and methodologies in their work processes.

The main reasons are often related to reduction of operational costs and improvement of services offered by the organization. The main goal of Six Sigma is to reduce defects or variations within processes and that goal is as valid in governmental organizations as it is in any other business or industry.

Increase Customer Satisfaction

Just as businesses serve their customers, governmental organizations also have to serve their customers, who are the citizens of the country. Governmental agencies have realized that the best way to increase customer satisfaction is to improve the quality and efficiency of services rendered, which can be easily achieved by implementing Six Sigma. The services offered by governmental organizations involve interactions with people who can be treated as customers of the organization.

Six Sigma helps in increasing the efficiency of the interaction process by putting in place effective systems and controls that are based on facts and statistics. It also helps in altering the opinions, behavior, and decisions of those involved in rendering services to citizens. The task of altering human behavior is as complex as making positive changes in a manufacturing process, but by using Six Sigma concepts; governmental organizations can do it with minimum efforts and costs.

Focusing on Improving Processes

Governmental institutions must realize that for getting the full benefits associated with these implementations, they will have to work from the ground up, i.e. the concepts will have to implemented at all levels of the organization even if it takes time. All during the implementation stage, the focus should be on improving the efficiency of processes rather than on achieving a particular task or objective. Once the processes are improved, the goals and objectives will automatically be achieved. This will not only help in getting short-term benefits but also help in achieving significant long-term improvements.

Practical Uses of Six Sigma Concepts

Implementing Six Sigma concepts will improve processes in all types of governmental organizations whether it is the public works dept, law enforcement agency, or the sanitation department. Improved processes in turn will help the organization in offering better services to customers. Six Sigma will also help agencies to handle financial transactions, manage human resources, reduce waste and reduce operational costs.

Six Sigma implementations in governmental agencies is a relatively new concept, but the fact that it offers potential benefits has already been proved. By implementing these concepts, the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, has recently managed to save more than three million dollars. Other governmental organizations can also follow the example of Fort Wayne for reaping the benefits associated with Six Sigma implementations.
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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