Six Sigma is an incredibly powerful tool and a set of techniques that can help businesses improve their processes by identifying and eliminating the causes of defects. Ultimately, the tools aim to reduce variability in processes. It is of critical importance to integrate Six Sigma tools in your quality management programs for long-term success.
In fact, experts believe that Six Sigma, when used along with lean techniques, is actually a business improvement process that is a part of the continually evolving quality management system of an organization.
The Importance of a Quality Management Program
It is important for all corporations to have a quality management program in place. Businesses use quality management programs to integrate all quality processes that can meet the ISO and FDA quality requirements.
It is evident that quality takes a central role in any business and neglecting quality is bound to result in business process failure. The quality of a process is defined as its ability to meet the expectations set while delivering the products and services desired.
Businesses today operate in highly dynamic environments. As soon as high demands are placed on quality requirements, Six Sigma and related approaches come into play. It is imperative for quality to be measurable. The factors that affect quality can be identified and traced so they could later be controlled.
Streamlining Quality Control
Six Sigma is basically an effort to streamline quality control by improving the current processes, products, and services that the business comprises. In fact, it does so by recognizing and removing the defects prevailing in the current processes. The variance is thereby reduced. Defects basically refer to any challenges encountered in achieving seamless business operation or higher levels of customer satisfaction.
When Motorola trademarked Six Sigma in the year 1993, it referred to the tool using the Greek letter sigma that represents the metric of standard deviation in statistics. The technique is expected to result in processes that are free from defects 99.99966 percent of the time, which allows for 3.4 defect-laden features for every million opportunities.
This is the level of quality control Motorola sought to achieve in its manufacturing processes and has now become the global standard for industries around the world aiming to streamline quality control.
How do Lean and Six Sigma fit into a Quality Management Program?
Lean is actually a systematic approach that aims to reduce or eliminate those activities and processes that do not really add any value to the process. The technique will help remove the wasteful steps in processes, ensuring high-quality operations and greater customer satisfaction.
Six Sigma and Lean are processes that can help achieve a superior quality of products and services which also forms the aim of the quality management program. Companies can produce at a much faster pace in greater quantities and at a lower cost by integrating Lean Six Sigma strategies in their quality management programs.
What LSS does is that it provides a statistical approach to solve quality-related problems that the quality management programs battle with. The approach can reduce the process cycle time and improve the product/service delivery time which increases customer satisfaction level. The inventory levels can be reduced and the resources optimized for key improvements.
Employees benefit in that they are provided with greater job satisfaction. The process establishes a quality framework for the realization of both short-term and long-term objectives. Since this is a never-ending process where waste is continuously removed, improvements to take place on a continuous basis.
It is important for businesses to have quality management programs in place. Six Sigma is a data-driven approach that helps improve product and process quality. Combining it with Lean results in waste minimization as well.
Corporations need to focus on integrating Six Sigma and Lean approaches into quality management programs since these are geared towards quality measurement and help streamline quality control.