Six Sigma is a business management system that can lead to significant increases in both quality and profitability. It uses a set of procedures to identify and eliminate defects, and is usually implemented on a project-by-project basis.
The most commonly used approach to implementing Six Sigma is known as 'DMAIC' - define, measure, analyse, improve and control:
- define the customers, their requirements, the process or the project boundaries
- measure the performance of the current process
- analyse information and identify where improvements can be made
- improve the process to achieve required performance
- control the implementation, monitoring results and introducing training and incentives to maintain process improvements
To successfully implement Six Sigma in your business you will need:
- a small, committed, talented and well-trained team of current employees who are given the authority to implement Six Sigma on a particular process
- support, talent and financial resources from senior management
- championing at board level - in larger organisations by a full-time director, and in smaller businesses by a part-time director, who must be adequately resourced
- employees trained to Six Sigma black belt or green belt
- financial resources committed to training employees
- regular planning and review meetings to ensure successful and on-target implementation
- monthly board reports from the Six Sigma team, which are then critically reviewed with recommendations for improvements/changes as necessary
Once your trial projects have been successfully completed, results should start to show within a few weeks, and deliver a return on investment within months. You can then implement it across the business.