Six Sigma basically aims at improving the efficiency of business processes by reducing the number of defects. The aim is to achieve near-perfect processes wherein the number of defects does not exceed 3.4 per million opportunities that exist for such defects to occur under normal circumstances. Six Sigma concepts can be implemented in all types of organizations, be it a sole-proprietorship having a few simple processes or a large corporation having hundreds of complex business processes.
However, in order to realize the full potential of Six Sigma implementations, it is necessary to define and understand a few basics that are vital for the success of any Six Sigma implementation. Explained below are some of the key characteristics of Six Sigma that organizations need to understand before actually executing Six Sigma implementation projects.
Leadership support and commitment
The success of any Six Sigma implementation project depends a lot on the level of support that is provided by the top management to Six Sigma teams handling the implementations. Support and commitment is required in the form of time, effort and resources, which are vital for the success of any quality improvement initiative undertaken by an organization. The leadership cannot afford to have a laid-back attitude while Six Sigma implementation projects are being implemented in the organization.
Six Sigma concepts, if successfully implemented, do help in reducing defects and improving efficiency. This is because Six Sigma quality improvement techniques are based on sound reasoning and make use of statistical tools that provide accurate results. The data-driven approach helps in reducing the dependence on human experience and gut feelings, which can sometimes prove disastrous, especially when dealing with complex business processes having multiple sub processes. Statistical tools are utilized at every stage of the Six Sigma implementation process such as Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control to eliminate the occurrence of human-errors.
Training And Cultural Change
Six Sigma, as a quality improvement methodology, lays stress on providing the requisite training to employees so that they are able to carry out the implementations far more effectively. Appropriate training is necessary for all types of personnel associated with the implementation projects, be it a senior manager or a plant foreman dealing with routine tasks. Six Sigma also stresses making employees aware about the changes that are bound to happen after the implementations.
Employees should be made aware about possible changes in their work environment and how it will help them in reducing their workload and increasing their overall efficiency.
All the above stated characteristics form the core of any Six Sigma implementation project and should be strictly adhered to for ensuring the success of the implementations. Non-compliance to any one of the above stated basics can seriously undermine the effectiveness of the implementations and can even lead to redundancies that can prove very costly for the organization.