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What Makes Six Sigma A Good Choice

Dec 7, 2007
Present Day Six Sigma Approach

Six Sigma is a much-talked about issue these days. 6 Sigma can be defined as a series of metrics that are used to measure defects and improve quality by the application of a methodology, to reduce defect level to under 3.4 in per million. 6 Sigma was originally created and copyrighted by Motorola and its implementation saved the company at least $17 million.

The Cardinal Concepts Of Six Sigma

It has been proven time and time again that customers do not judge a product by performance or efficient quality. It is operational procedure that is responsible for performance, but they customers buy a product when they get what they want out of that product. So we can say that overall customer satisfaction depends on the consistency with which a product or a service is delivered. And to achieve this level of customer service, an organization needs to apply a combination strategy of reduced process variation and improved process capability.

Presently, Six Sigma processes concentrate only on process variation and defects in any operational process. Defects can be defined as offsets from the standard and the measurement tool for evaluating the defects is known as defects per million opportunities or DPMO. All the parameters of defect measuring strategies are quantifiable and not subjective. The basic measurable dimensions include cost or price, delivery, quality level etc. In industrial jargon, these dimensions are known as critical to price or CTP, critical to delivery or CTD and critical to quality or CTQ. Each of these dimensions has a different effect on different industries, identifying which is the most important before commencing on a Six Sigma implementation journey.

Measurement dimension is not subjective, but experience tells us that a little bit of subjectivity is present in all man-made measurement units. Thus, we can say that there are small chinks in the measurement system also and the same can be said about the company's relationship with customers.

The next core concept is process variability that indicates that the more a process is variable the larger the probability of a defect is. For instance, if a carriage transports a 5-ton load to a place 10 miles away in 40 minutes and at 99.9997% defect free Six Sigma measurement, it is good. However, if with the same load and distance it takes 45 minutes, then it is not good because now it is only 99.94% defect free according to Six Sigma measurement. And though to some it may seem good enough, it will almost equal a 20% defect in the product that will be passed on to the customer. Therefore, those who are fine with the idea of 99.94% perfection need to rethink this before implementing 6 Sigma strategy.

Six Sigma implements a methodology known as DMAIC, short for defining opportunities, measuring performances, analyzing opportunities and improving and finally controlling performance. The responsibility to evaluate the whole system lies with Black and Green belt professionals.
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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