6 Sigma as a Metric
“a common yardstick of measurement of business processes: “ what you cannot measure you cannot improve”
6 sigma being a data driven methodology necessitates collection of data for all Critical Process Metrics and their contributing factors. And organizations that use 6 sigma as Metric develop a habit of fact based decision making . They commenced to use dashboards and scorecards which facilitates decision making. That’s why 6 Sigma was used as a common yardstick of measurement for business processes.
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6 sigma as a Management System
Like many other management systems, 6 Sigmaa also provides three frameworks for process improvement initiative namely DMAIC, DMADV and DFSS.
- DMADV( Define, Measure, Analyse, Design, Verify)
This framework is mostly used to create new product or process design. Almost synonymously used for DFSS.
- DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control)
This frame work is mostly used for process improvement initiatives where we already have one existing process that needs to be reviewed for better performance.
- DFSS ( Design, For 6 Sigma)
This framework is a separate and emerging business process management methodology related to traditional 6 Sigma. While the tools and order used in 6 Sigma require a process to be in place and functioning, DFSS has the objective of determining the needs of customers and the business, and driving those needs into the product solution so created. DFSS is relevant to the complex system/product synthesis phase, especially in the context of unprecedented system development. It is process generation in contrast with process improvement.
6 Sigma as a Philosophy
Upon usage of 6 sigma industries and consultant understood a few very critical takeaways from 6 sigma implementation story.
- Customer Focus
One of the significant shift in approach that 6 sigma bought was the fact that everything was more focused towards the customer. The definition of the term defect changed from being an error, mistake etc. to anything not meeting the customer requirement(even while it were as per the organizational design and it was not a defect) Collection of VOC (Voice of Customer) emerged as the greatest mantra for success, success is no longer about creating a fantastic product (which was enhanced /improved from experience ) but from the needs of the customer. And this became very important takeaway for businesses which were struggling to create their own niche in the market.
- Employee Engagement
A critical success factor for success of 6 sigma initiatives has always been the participation of the on ground team. Participation of the on ground team is imperative as they are the closest to business, interface to the customer , closest to the process bottleneck etc. And hence they are the ones who can give you correct Xs.
- Distance to defect and variation
Implementation and organizational orientation towards 6 sigma meant that as an organization we are promulgating a culture where we look at/attempt eradication of every defect and reduce variation in the organizations processes.
6 Sigma as a Problem Solving Methodology
The 6 sigma approach enunciates Y=f(X) i.e. instead of superficially attempting to improve Y or applying quick fixes to Y, we identify the contributing factors (or Xs) to them, statistically validate the relationship between Y & X , and work on improving Xs such that Y is permanently improved.