Six Sigma. What's in it for you?
Your manufacturing process is made up of a number of different and complex activities. Some are easy to keep a track of, providing a healthy, efficient output. But, there are going to be a number of other cases that you will eventually have to deal with. And exactly when you’re scaling up or when things seem right, arises the most difficult of all problems, Quality! It can burden you in terms of time and money if you try to minimize quality issues intuitively, as you will always land a situation that sneaks past your best efforts. Quality, or its optimization, is therefore a process rather than an end goal. And talking of quality, Six Sigma is the most widely use methodologies to improve business processes.
So, how do we deal with these issues? How do we, if not get rid of, at least try reducing these quality issues?
If you have done your fair bit of research, you would have definitely come across a number of solutions and philosophies to deal with quality issues. But having the right knowledge to implement them is what gives companies an advantage over the others.
And as mentioned above earlier, the most widely implemented and time tested ideas in the land of supreme quality production, Six Sigma!
In layman language, Six Sigma is the concept of getting things done in an accurate and simplified manner, by ensuring a reduction in variation. It is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects. Basically, Six Sigma helps in ensuring that every time a process is run, the outcome is as close to the expected outcome as possible.
Every company dreams to achieve zero defect production, but fall short due to the presence of several process variability factors. This results in a certain degree of variation which causes an increase in defects, However, with the help of Six Sigma, companies can design systems in such a way that the production is well within control limits, minimizing the number of failures, defective items, variations, deviations and eventually rejection rate. A number of companies have reached Sigma levels 3 and 4. For reference, here’s what Six sigma levels mean and what it takes to reach and maintain those levels. The massive, non-linear drop in Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO) is evident of the effort that goes into ensuring process control as we go up the Sigma levels –
In other words, companies that live and breathe the Six Sigma ideology produce a mere 3.4 defective pieces from a production of a million items. Just 3.4 out of 1,000,000!
But how is Six Sigma implemented, and why is it being used in a number of companies?
Born in 1979, Six Sigma is a philosophy that works on the DMAIC principle. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. It starts with identifying a problem in the process, then defining a problem statement, and identifying the metrics that need improvement to solve the problem. Once the target is set, the company proceeds towards obtaining the current status of the process and chalking it out for further analysis. Once the team has gathered the necessary data to analyse the process, they sit and decide on the suggestions on how to deal with the root cause of the problem and give a green signal for the improvement phase to begin. After making the required changes to improve the process, the analysis is redone and subsequently a control plan is drawn to ensure that the changes affected remain relevant and that the system does not revert to the earlier state of affairs.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And yet, most of the companies find it difficult to implement this strategy in their daily activities.
The answer lies in the very basic definition of Six Sigma. It requires the user to be disciplined and data driven. And with the “Save Money” approach to business, it is fair to say that quality management is not something which might grind your gears. Several techniques can be employed to capture data that assists in decision making, ranging from simple to use apps like Qoti, to expensive solutions like automation and robotics. However, the one obvious thing is, capturing data data can make or break your company’s profitability. With every passing day, the importance of capturing data timely is growing. So what can you do to get started on the Six Sigma journey? For starters, if you simply Define and Measure digitally, analysis becomes significantly easier with the use of simple analytical tools. Based on your analysis and the results generated, improvements are made to the process and there lies the beauty of Six Sigma.
Qoti helps you in all steps along your Six Sigma journey by documenting (Define), capturing (Measure), generating real time reports (Analysis), and tracking (Control) and after some use, suggesting key red flags (Improve) by spotting previously unidentified issues. It is only a matter of time that real time analysis and inspection shall be your go-to solution to deal with quality issues and minimize variations. The ball is in your court now, and we are here to help you make the most of it!