Benefits of using Six Sigma

There are several benefits of applying Six Sigma:

It introduces rapid and almost radical improvements. Several of the quality initiatives of the earlier days a such as Quality circles, Kaizen and Quality Function Deployment are very necessary for an organization at all the times. However, by their very nature, these measures produce incremental improvements. The pace of improvement is therefore slow. In addition to these kinds of improvements an organization in today’s fast changing business world needs improvements to be brought in very rapidly in order to match the pace of changing technologies and changing customer requirements. Six Sigma is such an instrument of change, which can bring about radical changes in the way an organization functions.

It transforms the entire organization:
When Six Sigma is implemented, the entire Organization in all its constituent parts is geared for absorbing rapid and radical changes. One cannot possibly bring in large changes in one part of the organization, without adequate measures in the other parts. Six Sigma initiatives make the management to take a closer look at the various function and departments and the inter-relationships between them.

It provides a consistent metric:

By its very nature, Six Sigma provides measures and targets that are quantifiable. Specific defects – deviation from the customer requirement are identified and, measured. Improvement performance is also measured. A consistently uniform measurably is one of its important distinguishing characteristics.

Organizational changes are brought about by the implementation of Six Sigma. These transformations are general in nature. But, the improvement they generate can be and should be measurable against a yardstick. Six Sigma uses customer requirement’ as that yardstick.

The customer is always in focus:

The benefit of constant measurements is that the customer is always in focus with her requirements being the standard against which the measurements are done. Due to the presence Six Sigma, an organization is always aware of the changes in the market.

It is a continuous improvement process, as well:

Since Six Sigma is a measurement based initiative, the organization that implements this initiative would have to constantly keep itself appraised of the customer’s requirements. In short, a Six Sigma initiative ever stops, it is forever. It is true that Six Sigma signifies radical improvements. But a radical improvement system does not have to negate continuous improvement.

Methodology of Six Sigma:

Six sigma methodologies are about,

(i) Customers
(ii) Metrics
(iii) Processes
(iv) Employees and business associates and
(v) Organizational transformation.

The Customer: Total customer satisfaction is the goal of Six Sigma. Therefore, customer is the focus of Six Sigma action in any of processes. The customer’s needs are to be thoroughly understood in all its various dimensions and an assessment needs to be made about the present status of satisfaction of those needs to be taken to satisfy the needs.

The Metric: Understanding the customer and his requirements and a design of appropriate metrics are central to the Six Sigma efforts in an organization. Six Sigma is quantitative in nature and quite exacting at that. Hence, it is essential that an appropriate metric be established as to how customer satisfaction may be measured. A correct metric would lead to properly directed efforts. An incorrect metric would lead to wastage of efforts.

The Processes: With the customer requirements and the metrics in view, the processes leading to customer satisfaction have to be improved many of them radically. A study of the processes, a series of interlinked activities that lead to the organization’s goal is required to be made. How are the processes performing vis-à-vis the desired quantified goal? What are reasons that the processes are not achieving the targeted performance? What could be done to overcome the obstacles? An analysis which addresses these questions would give a plan of action for the Six Sigma program.