Achieving 100 percent efficiency in business or production is impossible. However, there are processes and methodologies that businesses can adapt to improve their efficiency as much as possible. One such process is Six Sigma, a quality management process created by Motorola in 1986 to help reduce defects and improve process efficiency to about 99.99966% perfection.
This may seem like an unreachable goal, but it is achievable through data-driven problem-solving techniques. Here is a look at what Six Sigma is and how to use it to reduce defects in your business.
What is Six Sigma, and what are its goals?
Six Sigma is a business management strategy that relies on data and statistical analysis to improve the quality of products and services. Its goals are to reduce defects and improve customer satisfaction.
Six Sigma is a popular quality improvement system that uses data-driven decision-making to reduce defects in products and services. It is important to note that Six Sigma is not just a manufacturing process. Adapting Six Sigma in your organization not only reduces defect rates but also helps to improve employee morale and, by extension, profitability.
It can be used in any business process, from sales and marketing to operations and finance. This data-driven process aims to improve cycle times while reducing manufacturing defects to no more than 3.4 defects per million units or events. There are two major Six Sigma methodologies: DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify).
The DMAIC methodology focuses on improving existing processes, while the DMADV approach focuses on designing new projects. To apply these lean quality improvement methods, you need to know the basics of statistical process control (SPC). SPC looks at data collected from a production process and uses it to monitor the stability of the process over time. It can identify areas that may have an abnormal variation or noise.
How to use Six Sigma to reduce defects in manufacturing
At this point, it is important to discuss how Six Sigma can be used in your business. Although it is not a specific process, it is essential to mention that for an organization to use Six Sigma to improve its processes, its employees must have a good grasp of what it entails, the use and handling of data, and how to use it to improve the business.
Encouraging or even making it a requirement for advanced-level employees to get an advanced degree such as a Master in Lean Manufacturing at Kettering University Online to help them become experts in lean enterprise development and Six Sigma will go a long way toward helping a business adopt lean strategies.
You can reduce defects in manufacturing using Six Sigma by following this protocol:
Define: Clarify the process and its objectives
This involves understanding the process, defining its objectives and identifying areas of potential improvement. This is important because it helps you focus on the problematic areas that need to be addressed.
Measure: Collect data and analyze it
Make sure you collect all relevant data related to the process and analyze it using statistical tools such as SPC or control charts. You should also analyze customer feedback and complaints to understand their needs better.
Analyze: Look for patterns to identify problems
Look for patterns in data that indicate a potential issue or defect in your process. You should also review any existing documentation related to the process, such as quality control reports and customer surveys.
Improve: Make changes to reduce defects
Once you have identified areas of improvement, it is important to make changes accordingly to reduce the number of defects. This may involve redesigning processes, implementing new quality control measures or making other adjustments.
Finally, it is important to continuously monitor the process to ensure improvements are working. This may involve gathering data regularly, such as by tracking customer satisfaction or analyzing production output.