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The 3 Characteristics Of Six Sigma

Aug 17, 2007
Six Sigma basically aims at improving the efficiency of business processes by reducing the number of defects. The aim is to achieve near-perfect processes wherein the number of defects does not exceed 3.4 per million opportunities that exist for such defects to occur under normal circumstances. 6 Sigma concepts can be implemented in all types of organizations, be it a sole-proprietorship having a few simple processes or a large corporation having hundreds of complex business processes.

However, in order to realize the full potential of Six Sigma implementations, it is necessary to define and understand a few basics that are vital for the success of any 6 Sigma implementation. Explained below are some of the key characteristics of Six Sigma that organizations need to understand before actually executing 6 Sigma implementation projects.

Leadership support and commitment

The success of any Six Sigma implementation project depends a lot on the level of support that is provided by the top management to 6 Sigma teams handling the implementations. Support and commitment is required in the form of time, effort and resources, which are vital for the success of any quality improvement initiative undertaken by an organization. The leadership cannot afford to have a laid-back attitude while Six Sigma implementation projects are being implemented in the organization.

Data-Driven Approach

6 Sigma concepts, if successfully implemented, do help in reducing defects and improving efficiency. This is because Six Sigma quality improvement techniques are based on sound reasoning and make use of statistical tools that provide accurate results. The data-driven approach helps in reducing the dependence on human experience and gut feelings, which can sometimes prove disastrous, especially when dealing with complex business processes having multiple sub processes. Statistical tools are utilized at every stage of the 6 Sigma implementation process such as Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control to eliminate the occurrence of human-errors.

Training And Cultural Change

Six Sigma, as a quality improvement methodology, lays stress on providing the requisite training to employees so that they are able to carry out the implementations far more effectively. Appropriate training is necessary for all types of personnel associated with the implementation projects, be it a senior manager or a plant foreman dealing with routine tasks. 6 Sigma also stresses making employees aware about the changes that are bound to happen after the implementations.

Employees should be made aware about possible changes in their work environment and how it will help them in reducing their workload and increasing their overall efficiency.

All the above stated characteristics form the core of any Six Sigma implementation project and should be strictly adhered to for ensuring the success of the implementations. Non-compliance to any one of the above stated basics can seriously undermine the effectiveness of the implementations and can even lead to redundancies that can prove very costly for the organization.
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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