Six Sigma and Quality Management

Six Sigma is a business management strategy which aims at improving the quality of processes by minimizing and eventually removing the errors and variations. The concept of Six Sigma was introduced by Motorola in 1986, but was popularized by Jack Welch who incorporated the strategy in his business processes at General Electric. The concept of Six Sigma came into existence when one of Motorola’s senior executives complained of Motorola’s bad quality. Bill Smith eventually formulated the methodology in 1986.

Quality plays an important role in the success and failure of an organization. Neglecting an important aspect like quality, will not let you survive in the long run. Six Sigma ensures superior quality of products by removing the defects in the processes and systems. Six sigma is a process which helps in improving the overall processes and systems by identifying and eventually removing the hurdles which might stop the organization to reach the levels of perfection. According to sigma, any sort of challenge which comes across in an organization’s processes is considered to be a defect and needs to be eliminated.

Organizations practicing Six Sigma create special levels for employees within the organization. Such levels are called as: “Green belts”, “Black belts” and so on. Individuals certified with any of these belts are often experts in six sigma process. According to Six Sigma any process which does not lead to customer satisfaction is referred to as a defect and has to be eliminated from the system to ensure superior quality of products and services. Every organization strives hard to maintain excellent quality of its brand and the process of six sigma ensures the same by removing various defects and errors which come in the way of customer satisfaction.

The process of Six Sigma originated in manufacturing processes but now it finds its use in other businesses as well. Proper budgets and resources need to be allocated for the implementation of Six Sigma in organizations.

Following are the two Six Sigma methods:

  • DMAIC
  • DMADV

DMAIC focuses on improving existing business practices. DMADV, on the other hand focuses on creating new strategies and policies.

DMAIC has Five Phases

D - Define the Problem. In the first phase, various problems which need to be addressed to are clearly defined. Feedbacks are taken from customers as to what they feel about a particular product or service. Feedbacks are carefully monitored to understand problem areas and their root causes.

M - Measure and find out the key points of the current process. Once the problem is identified, employees collect relevant data which would give an insight into current processes.

A - Analyze the data. The information collected in the second stage is thoroughly verified. The root cause of the defects are carefully studied and investigated as to find out how they are affecting the entire process.

I - Improve the current processes based on the research and analysis done in the previous stage. Efforts are made to create new projects which would ensure superior quality.

C - Control the processes so that they do not lead to defects.

DMADV Method

D - Design strategies and processes which ensure hundred percent customer satisfaction.

M - Measure and identify parameters that are important for quality.

A - Analyze and develop high level alternatives to ensure superior quality.

D - Design details and processes.

V - Verify various processes and finally implement the same.


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