Amir Zakaria Marketing Branding Agency | Six Sigma
Six sigma is a business management strategy that allows companies to drastically improve their bottom line by designing and monitoring everyday business activities in ways that minimize waste and resources, while increasing customer satisfaction. The usual quality control programs focus on detecting and correcting commercial, industrial, and design defects. Six sigma encompasses something more. It provides specific methods to recreate the process so that defects and errors never arise in the first place. It should be noted that six sigma does not bring an overnight change. It is a long-term forward-thinking initiative. It is a philosophy (kiran, 2017).
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Six Sigma

Six Sigma

Six sigma is a business management strategy that allows companies to drastically improve their bottom line by designing and monitoring everyday business activities in ways that minimize waste and resources, while increasing customer satisfaction. The usual quality control programs focus on detecting and correcting commercial, industrial, and design defects. Six sigma encompasses something more. It provides specific methods to recreate the process so that defects and errors never arise in the first place. It should be noted that six sigma does not bring an overnight change. It is a long-term forward-thinking initiative. It is a philosophy (kiran, 2017).

Six sigma is a well-assessed methodology for optimizing the performance of the enterprise through the reduction of the variability of their process outputs. Six Sigma is one method for improving performances that focuses on reducing the number of defects in products, processes and services. It was successfully introduced in many major groups such as General Electric and Motorola, but many obstacles were identified in its implementation in SMEs (Fouweather et al., 2006). In fact, SMEs lack the requisite resources such as skills and human resources and funding to implement six sigma (Alhuraish et al., 2017; Antony et al., 2005; Cherrafi et al., 2016; Jessica Hwang et al., 2006).

Six sigma training can be of great benefit as it gives opportunities for any company to become more efficient and competitive. However, the cost of this training is often too high for SMEs (Fouweather et al., 2006). The basic principle of six sigma according to (Antony et al., 2003) is to take an organization to an improved level of sigma capability through the rigorous application of statistical tools and techniques; hence, the heart of six sigma is the use of statistical tools to control variability.

Six Sigma basically involves the following factors:

  • Customer perception of quality
  • Defects that prevent delivery of what the customer wants
  • Process capability
  • Variation as seen and felt by the customer
  • Consistent and predictable processes for improvement
  • Designing to meet customer needs and process capability (kiran, 2017).

There are two types of key factors in the success of six sigma: methodological factors and human factors. The use of a methodology for the selection of Six Sigma projects has to take into account Critical to Customer (CTC), company strategy and financial profitability objectives.

Six Sigma is a five-phase, problem-focused, process improvement philosophy that relies heavily on data collection and statistical analyses to improve process uniformity, minimize errors, and improve quality (Kalra and Kopargaonka, 2017; Gras and Philippe, 2007). Identified by the acronym DMAIC (Design, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control), this philosophy is primarily directed towards minimizing errors to achieve world-class performance (3.4 errors per million opportunities) which is typically expressed as a Six Sigma metric or simply a Sigma value (Randell et al, 2018).

There is a growing concern that six sigma and other process improvement programs fail because they do not consider the human side of implementation. Previous research (e.g., Chakravorty et al., 2008) has shown that effective management of human aspects is critical for a successful six sigma implementation. (Zimmerman et al., 2005) point out that companies need to pay attention to the human side of six sigma implementation (Deeb et al, 2018).

Reference

  • Alhuraish, I., Robledo, C., Kobi, A. (2017). “A comparative exploration of lean manufacturing and six sigma in terms of their critical success factors”. Journal of Cleaner Production, 164, 325-337.
  • Antony, J., Escamilla, J. L., Caine, P. (2003). “Lean Sigma [production and supply chain management]”. Manufacturing Engineer, 82 (2), 40-42.
  • Antony, J., Kumar, M., Madu, C. N. (2005). “Six sigma in small and medium-sized UK manufacturing enterprises: Some empirical observations”. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 22(8), 860-874.
  • Chakravorty, S.S., Hales, D.N. (2008). “The evolution of manufacturing cells: an action research study”. European Journal of Operational Research 188,153–168.
  • Cherrafi, A., Elfezazi, S., Chiarini, A., Mokhlis, A., Benhida, K. (2016). “The integration of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and sustainability: A literature review and future research directions for developing a specific model”. Journal of Cleaner Production, 139, 828-846.
  • Deeb, S., Haouzi, H.B., Aubry, A., Dassisti, M. (2018). “A generic framework to support the implementation of six sigma approach in SMEs”. IFAC-PapersOnLine, Volume 51, Issue 11, Pages 921-926.
  • Fouweather, T., Coleman, S., Thomas, A. (2006). “Six sigma training programmes to help SMEs improve”. Intelligent Production Machines and Systems, 39-44,
  • Gras, J. M., & Philippe, M. (2007). “Application of the Six Sigma concept in clinical laboratories: a review”. Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine, 45(6), 789-796.
  • Jessica Hwang, L. J., Lockwood, A. (2006). “Understanding the challenges of implementing best practices in hospitality and tourism SMEs”. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 13(3), 337- 354.
  • Kalra, J., & Kopargaonkar, A. (2016). “Quality improvement in clinical laboratories: A six sigma concept”. Pathol Lab Med Open J, 1(1), 11-20.
  • Kiran, D. R. (2017). “Six Sigma”. Total Quality Management: Key Concepts and Case Studies. Pages 347-361.
  • Randell, E. W., Short, G., Lee, N., Beresford, A., Spencer, M., Kennel, M., Moores, Z., Parry, D. (2018). “Clinical Biochemistry”. Autoverification process improvement by Six Sigma approach: Clinical chemistry & immunoassay.
  • Zimmerman, J. P., Weiss, J. (2005). “Six sigma’s seven deadly sins: while the seven sins can be deadly, redemption is possible”. Quality, 44(1), 62-67.

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