Six Sigma is a great way to improve process efficiency and performance. Six Sigma Tools and techniques are used widely to capture the potential of six sigma methodology to its fullest. With the growing demand of lean six sigma green belt, its concepts are being read and practised by several organizations on an industry-wide level. As much importance as six sigma holds, let’s start with some of its basics.
Six Sigma is a methodology for improving business processes that focuses on the following main areas:
- Denigration in errors, defects, and process variability.
- Increasing the quality of service and the profitability of the company.
Quality improvements are one of the most important benefits of reducing mistakes and defects. These increases in quality may be felt across the company, in both the business and the goods and services.
- Increase in customer satisfaction.
- Usage of data and statistics to get results.
Naturally, a thorough grasp of Six Sigma and correct use of the methodology’s tools are required to reap these advantages.
The following are a few of the most well-known and widely used tools and techniques in this methodology:
Define, measure, analyze, improve, and control are the acronyms for DMAIC. This is the most important tool in Six Sigma for enhancing and improving business processes. It is intended to be used regularly to improve procedures and results over time.
This is a systematic technique for continuous development that originated in Japan. Sort, place in order, shine, standardize, and maintain are English translations of the Japanese phrases. It is feasible to organize and increase a workplace’s productivity by using this technique on a regular basis.
The goal of brainstorming is to come up with a lot of new ideas. This is often done in groups in the workplace, and it may produce unexpected results, boost creativity, assist management in identifying issues, develop new solutions, and more.
Kanban is now widely used in project management and task management software, such as Zoho Projects and Trello. It’s a mechanism for arranging actions into a process, as it’s called in these applications. However, a more complicated structure originally controlled the flow of supplies and resources via a production pipeline.
These are just a handful of the Six Sigma tools available.
Some of these are also employed in lean business process improvement approaches. These strategies may have a significant and beneficial influence on an organization’s performance, efficiency, and revenues if they are used correctly.
The more consistently a company applies these best practices, the better its results will be.
Six Sigma techniques include a plethora of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. While each method has a special purpose, this part will go through the most vital techniques used in Six Sigma projects. The following are some examples of common techniques:
The brainstorming approach is an important aspect of any Six Sigma problem-solving activities, and it must be completed before any other particular tools or analyses can be carried out. A facilitator (usually the lead Black Belt or Green Belt) and a small but varied group of participants convene for an ‘open-think’ session to produce ideas and solutions to the topic under consideration in the brainstorming approach. The major goal is to promote creative thinking in an atmosphere devoid of criticism and conflict (as moderated by the independent facilitator).
The brainstorming session follows a structured format to ensure that all participants have an opportunity to participate, but it is also flexible enough to enable the team to build on each other’s ideas. To boost the group’s brainpower, the Black Belt/facilitator may employ various techniques, such as concept rotation (everyone contributes in sequence until no more ideas are generated) or word association. When the action under consideration has ‘always been done this way,’ this strategy may be highly useful in breaking the status quo of established procedures. The ‘Improve’ phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC cycle is the most typical time for brainstorming (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control).
- Voice of the customer
The voice of the customer approach is used in a Six Sigma project to get input from consumers about their experiences with the process being improved. This proactive strategy involves all customers—internal and external—and aids the team in understanding all of the needs that your product or service may encounter. Suppose your team is aiming to improve product time, for example. In that case, you may get input not just from end users (external customers/clients) but also from internal stakeholders (such as warehouse/shipping, accounting, and service departments). In a supply chain project like the one you’re working on, the image depicts the many sorts of clients you can encounter.
To better clarify the issue to be handled, the voice of the customer approach is most typically used during the ‘Define’ step of the DMAIC project cycle. Direct chats or interviews with suitable clients are the most popular methods of performing the procedure. However, the voice of the customer exercises may also be conducted through surveys (online or offline) and group discussions/focus groups. The Six Sigma team may use this information to collect and record particular criteria that should be included in the enhanced product or service.
- Root cause analysis (5 Whys)
A technique for tracing the source of a problem is called root cause analysis. The 5 Whys is a Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology approach utilized in the Analyze phase. It’s a fantastic Six Sigma technique since it doesn’t need data segmentation, hypothesis testing, regression, or other complex statistical tools, and it can be accomplished without a data collecting strategy in many circumstances.
You may peel away the layers of symptoms that might lead to the main cause of an issue by constantly asking the question “Why?” (five is a decent rule of thumb). The apparent cause of an issue will almost always lead to a new query. Although the strategy is known as “5 Whys,” you may discover that you need to ask the question fewer or more times than five times before you uncover the issue at hand.
Six Sigma has grown in popularity in recent years. At the end of the day, each company will use the six sigma technique that is best for them. In many circumstances, this entails merging many techniques and using a subset of each tool.