People come and go but the process stays. -Anonymous
If you are someone who’s looking out to improve your business in 2020, then you’re reading the right article now.
Philip Crosby who was a major contributor to the quality movement describes Six Sigma (6σ) as a philosophical benchmark or standard of excellence. Six Sigma (6σ) principle is a tool that comprises a set of techniques that helps in improving the capability of any process.
You can use Six Sigma (6σ) as part of your process improvement to reduce the defects. Six Sigma has been an integral part of process improvement since 1986, when an American Engineer named Bill Smith introduced it in Motorola.
It is commonly used by Manufacturing and Business processes, but is continually expanding into other industries as well, due to its strive for perfection, as it aims for 99.999666 percent accuracy. It allows for only 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Here the defect can be anything from a faulty item to an incorrect customer bill.
DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) is one of the prominent data-driven methodologies which defines the Six Sigma Process. You can use DMAIC for enhancing,optimizing and stimulating your Business.
DMAIC follows a five-phase approach to achieve the six sigma state. Therefore, let me explain each one of them in detail.
Phase 1# Define
By Define, the DMAIC approach aims at determining the benchmarks or setting the baselines. The customer requirements and commitments are also defined in this phase. At the end of this phase, it is very important to map the benchmark to the existing process flow.
Phase 2# Measure
The main objective of this phase is to develop defect measurement. It also comprises a data development process which involves, collection of data, creation of form, compilation and display of data.
Phase 3# Analyse
This very important phase involves verification of data and drawing conclusions from the verified data. It is really necessary to test the conclusions to determine any improvement opportunities in the process. Determination of root causes is also a part of this phase after which the root causes are mapped to the effects that deter the process.
Phase 4# Improve
The primary objective of this phase is to create improvement ideas. This phase involves creation of models and experiments with the data collected from the previous phase. Goal setting with problem and solution statements will improve the process. All these steps will be followed by the implementation of improvement methods.
Phase 5# Control
By Control, the DMAIC approach means monitoring the improvement progress and measuring it statistically. This phase involves assessing the effectiveness and making the needed adjustments to sustain the improvements in the process.
Watch the below video to get a detailed explanation on the Six Sigma DMAIC approach.
Now let us see the 6 ways in which the Six Sigma DMAIC approach is put to use for maximum benefit.
- Identify Customer and their needs
- Define the process
- Eliminate waste effort
- Ensure continuous improvement
- Reduce costs
- Improve Customer Satisfaction
#1 Identify Customer and their needs
The first step towards a successful business is to identify the customer and to know what the customer needs. Any business needs to satisfy and hold back its customers. This is definitely a huge factor in deciding the accomplishment of a firm. In any case, consumer loyalty is very significant. Six sigma dmaic approach can be used for gathering data about the customers, analysing and identifying the customer needs in a better way.
One of the dmaic methodology examples is implementation of the approach in Bank of America. Bank of America is one of the world’s largest banks. Their goal is to be number one in customer satisfaction. The bank achieved its goal by:
- Using six sigma across its business.
- Hiring external six sigma master black belts to build workforce.
- Eliminating errors in core processes using Six sigma dmaic approach.
- Expanding six sigma into the sales environment for improving revenue growth.
Within two years of implementing the above approaches, Bank of America achieved:
- Growth in customer delight.
- Increase in customer households.
- Reduction in customer complaints.
#2 Define the process
Quality is the result of good planning. Considering the needs of both internal and external customers is very important to develop processes. Six sigma DMAIC approach is used for identifying the critical components and also the root cause of defects.
This in turn helps you to create a process that is to suit your business structure, culture and need. It is important to jot what you know of the existing process, verify the facts and set objectives before defining the process. This is achieved by using the Six Sigma DMAIC approach.
One of the dmaic methodology examples is implementation of the approach in the manufacturing companies. The reason why the manufacturing companies use the DMAIC approach is because this five phase approach helps in defining the thumb rule to:
- Increased productivity.
- Improvement in profitability ratio.
3# Eliminate waste effort
Six Sigma dmaic approach is used for distinguishing the pointless development of data, individuals and items. The data collection step advocated by the DMAIC approach during the beginning and towards the end of the process, can help as metrics to identify the performance of the project. This can lead to identifying the weak and improvement areas.
DMAIC helps you in following the standards and control exercises to make sure those mistakes do not occur often and that if mistakes do occur then they are corrected at the source.
One of the dmaic methodology examples is implementation of the approach in one of the world’s largest and most successful companies, The Ford Motor Company.
The company achieved its goal of eliminating waste by implementing the DMAIC approach which resulted in:
- Cost saving.
- Increased Customer satisfaction.
- Improved productivity.
- Proper use of resources.
4# Ensure continuous improvement
Quality improvement measures are essential in a business to keep the quality culture alive.
Focusing on all important factors to improve the performance for redesigning a process, we use Six Sigma dmaic approach. To test the identified solution, PDCA cycle ( Plan-Do-Check-Act) and Six Thinking Hats can be used. Five whys analysis or Fishbone diagram can also be used for brainstorming and identifying what is slow or rigid in the existing process.
In short, as experience is gained things can always be done better. It is for the management to take the initiative to encourage the employees to look out for opportunities for improvement.
One of the dmaic methodology examples is implementation of the approach in Motorola. By analysing how much a problem impacts the process speed and flexibility, Motorola has:
- Improved Quality and Services.
- Constant growth in revenue.
#5 Reduce Costs
What is missed often, is the cost that is lost due to poor quality. It is important to prevent poor quality from arising in products or services. The need to control products and services, to ensure high quality at all levels is important. Because deficiencies caused by both deficiencies in the products and inefficiencies in processes will lead to costs, which in turn can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
One of the examples of dmaic methodology is implementation of the approach in General Electric. This is one of the most successful implementation of the Six Sigma. The company introduced the Six Sigma approach and considered the goal of increased revenue. Due to DMAIC approach the company has streamlined:
- Manufacturing costs.
- Productivity cost.
- Operational costs.
- Material costs and
- Waste costs.
#6 Improve Customer Satisfaction
There are so many reasons why products do not function at the expected levels. It may be improper use or even manufacturing defects. There is a need to rectify these and make products or services perform up to the expected standard. Six Sigma DMAIC approach can be used for creating a system by which these possibilities are anticipated and attended to give customer satisfaction.
One of the dmaic methodology examples is implementation of the approach in the IT and Services industry. The DMAIC approach helps in making the customer requirements as the top priority. The challenge of identifying the key risks is eased with the DMAIC approach. Using the metrics collected will prevent any dissatisfaction arising for the customers.
To Sum Up
Whatever your existing process happens to be,the Six Sigma DMAIC approach can be used to help make your organization the best at what it does. Add Six Sigma Certification to your resume to increase your chances of getting a job or to enhance your business skills.
Is the Six Sigma principle applied in your workplace? Or what process methodology exists at your workplace. Please let us know in the comments below.