Importance of Measurement Systems Analysis

Measurement Systems analysis is an integral part of the Six Sigma project. No matter what project is being conducted under the Six Sigma methodology, this part of the process can never be omitted out and the successful results still be obtained. Below is an explanation about what makes Measurement Systems Analysis such an integral part of the Six Sigma process.

Six-Sigma is Data Driven: The entire Six Sigma philosophy is data driven. Instead of basing decisions on subjective opinions which can be different in case of different managers, the Six Sigma philosophy proposes basing results on measurable facts. This is the core principle of Six Sigma that makes it the powerful tool it is.

Measurements Forms the Core of This Data: The facts that are often used to reach conclusion and adopt changes are measurements. There is a famous management saying which says, “That which gets measured gets managed”. The measurements which depict the levels of vital inputs, desired outputs and process behaviour are captured by measurements.

Measurements are Not Always Accurate: However, there is a basic problem with measurements forming the core of analysis. There is no guarantee that measurements are always accurate. In fact, under normal circumstances, almost all measurements have some kind of error. In case of Six Sigma projects, it becomes important to quantify the error, so that the management can take corrective action accordingly.

Example: Suppose, you were perusing a weight loss program. The first day you check your weight it is 76 kgs, the next day it is the same and after a week too it is the same. You would probably abandon the program!

However, if one sees the problem carefully enough, maybe you were using an analog scale which does not tell you the exact variation is weight. Possibly on the first day your weight was 76.9 kg and after a week, it has come down to 76.1 kg. Now, should you abandon this program? Or should you fix your measurement system so that it gives you measurements that you can base your decisions on?

Wrong Measurements Can be Wasteful: As seen from the above example, faulty measurement systems are capable of derailing process improvement initiatives. They are capable of misleading the managers to make wrong decisions both ways. Managers may abandon successful initiatives or may pursue unsuccessful ones.

Since Six Sigma projects are focusses on error elimination they rely on prevention rather than cure. They check the measurement systems to ensure that there are no faults and that their tools will indeed lead them in the right direction.


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