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Six Sigma And Business Continuity

Jan 8, 2008
To overcome business continuity challenges, a business will be required to formulate emergency or disaster management plans, also referred to as business continuity. Further, businesses also need to ensure that the plans prove effective, for which they can use the highly effective concepts and methodologies of Six Sigma.

Six Sigma can certainly help in devising the most effective contingency plans because it follows a statistical approach for solving problems rather than using gut feelings, that can prove to be wrong.

Employing DMAIC For Business Continuity

Most businesses nowadays are using the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) methodology for devising contingency plans for the future because the methodology is supposedly the best project management tool available. DMAIC was originally devised as a method for improving the efficiency of business processes, but now businesses are employing it for managing all types of projects, be it a quality improvement project or a business continuity project.

The DMAIC Process For Business Continuity

When DMAIC is being used for managing a business continuity project, the first step involves defining all the potential threats that can affect the company's productivity and profitability. Once the threats have been defined, the next step involves measuring the exact effects that each of these potential threats will have on the business. This is done with the help of advanced statistical tools and techniques or Six Sigma simulation software tools, all of which help in making the most accurate predictions.

After this, the project management team conducts a brainstorming session to analyze the threats in detail and to seek innovative and cost-effective solutions for dealing with such problems. To get better results, businesses need to ensure that suggestions and recommendations are solicited from experienced personnel working in different functional departments such as sales, purchase, warehousing, and others. This is necessary because the external threats not only have the potential to disrupt a company's production but can also have disastrous effects on the efficiency of other functional departments.

Based on the recommendations, improvements are then made wherever required across all functional departments. These improvement initiatives are aimed at either reducing or eliminating the potential damage that can occur in case the company were to face the threats for real. In the last phase of the DMAIC process, effective control systems are put in place so as to keep a regular check on the efficacy of improvements that were made earlier. Deploying control systems is necessary because disasters and contingencies can occur at any time and if the improvement measures are not up to mark, they will fail to provide the requisite level of security and protection.

Once all the requirements of DMAIC are met, a business needs to do nothing other than concentrate on its core processes, something that becomes a lot easier when both the external and internal threat perceptions have been eliminated with the help of business continuity plans.
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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