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Six Sigma Quality


What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma technique originally developed by Motorola with an aim to deal with defects thereby improving the overall quality of the process as a whole. Discovered by Bill Smith in 1986, Six Sigma is a quantitative analysis of measuring quality that has imbibed already existing methodologies.

Six sigma is a statistical representation of performance of an application. To achieve Six Sigma the underlying objective is implementing measurement based strategy that attempts to reduce variations in process.

Six Sigma Life Cycle:

  • Define: This is the initial phase in which a company defines project goals along with customer deliverables. This decision is taken with regard to the requirement specifications which helps to throw light on what are the functions, features, interface design and so on thereby helping in designing the ultimate goal to be achieved.
  • Measure: The next phase of Six Sigma involves measuring the ongoing activities to determine the extent to which the proceedings conform to the defined values.
  • Analyse: Analyses the expected outcome with the actual ones to find difference and thus to rectify the same by finding a solution to the problem.
  • Improve: This is where the strategies are applied for the sake of improvement in the process thus aiming to remove defects.
  • Control: This is a continuous process by which we control performance of the project in the long run.

Roles and Responsibilities in Six Sigma:

Implementing Six Sigma involves the following roles.

  • Quality Leader/Manager: Leader is the one who guides the team efforts in a manner which aims to achieve results as expected by customers.
  • Master Black Belt: This term is used to refer to those people who are responsible to carry out some of the important functions within the organisation. These activities may be specific such as HR, legal aspects of the company etc. They work simultaneously by collaborating with process owners to make sure the activities are moving on as per desired criteria and imparting necessary training whenever required.
  • Process Owner: A process owner is responsible for the specific team he is heading. For instance, a process owner gathers daily report from his juniors like which part of code has successfully implemented or which remains unsolved.
  • Black Belt: Black Belts are those people within the company who provide training to the Green Belts working on the project.
  • Green Belt: These people are specially trained in Six Sigma. They simply act as an aid who assist in the daily work of the project in addition to their assigned roles and responsibilities. Thus they contribute to a new style of working and give a new shape to a project.

There are great examples of Six Sigma implementation in real world which has helped to attain a breakthrough resulting in upgrading the quality of businesses.

A medical Centre observed that expense incurred on labour/staff is the largest. Gradually statistics showed that their expenditure was beyond 75 percentile of the national average. Eventually this medical Centre opted for Six Sigma project that comprised of a team of members from various disciplines including nurses, finance, physicians and so on. During their study in Six Sigma life cycle, they came across few facts like salaries, benefits and labour costs were much more than the prescribed budget.

The six sigma approach for this project progressed somewhat as follows:

  • To improve scheduling system for the staff, they began a new data collection process. Meetings with staff and nurses enabled them to gain an insight into the cause and effect.
  • The next step is to analyse the data by maintaining the same in a spreadsheet. By analysing the detailed data collection, predictions were made. This helped the team to evaluate their initial theories with their data analysis.
  • The observations were then implemented in order to reorder the staffing, patient admission and timing factors.