Six Sigma is becoming increasingly popular with each passing day. Organizations around the world are using it to reduce waste and process variation. In doing so, they are giving customers more and consistent value. In turn, this has allowed the organizations that have successfully implemented Six Sigma to increase both customer satisfaction and their bottom line.
As with anything popular, there are bound to be myths. These are just misunderstandings that appeal to common sense but fall apart when closely examined. When deciding whether Six Sigma is the right methodology for your organization or not, it helps to separate facts from myths.
Let’s look at six common Six Sigma myths and find out if there is any truth to them.
Myth #1: Six Sigma is a Fad
If you are hearing about Six Sigma for the first time, you might think it is a fad. However, Six Sigma has been around since 1987. It was introduced by Motorola to compete with Lean manufacturing. The methodology, which is a set of process improvement tools and techniques, has proven so successful that it has seen widespread adoption since its conception.
Myth #2: Six Sigma Causes a Lot of Stress
Six Sigma requires a dramatic shift in organizational culture, which many people think is hard to do. They think change can cause unnecessary stress on employees who have become accustomed to working a certain way. While you might face some initial resistance, when communicated clearly and implemented gradually, people will find it easier to adapt to change.
Myth #3: Only Manufacturing Companies Need Six Sigma
When you hear that Six Sigma is the brainchild of Motorola, a manufacturing powerhouse, you might think it has little use outside the assembly line. That can’t be further from the truth. Six Sigma is an industry-agnostic methodology that works on any process with repeatable steps. This can be anything outside manufacturing, from restaurants and hotels to house cleaning and hospitals.
Myth #4: People Will Lose Their Jobs
Six Sigma was designed to improve processes, which can trigger anxiety in people who think they may no longer be needed once it does its job. This is a myth because employees who know how to use Six Sigma become instantly valuable to the organization. Six Sigma professionals are in high demand, and becoming certified is a good way to not only retain your position but move on to bigger and better Six Sigma projects.
Myth #5: Six Sigma and Total Quality Management are the Same
People in business circles also like to conflate Six Sigma with Total Quality Management (TQM). Yes, both Six Sigma and TQM are methodologies that aim to improve the quality of products (as well as services), but there is a difference in which each one is approached. Six Sigma seeks to improve all processes throughout the entire organization, while TQM seeks to improve only a single process within a respective field.
Myth #6: Six Sigma Needs a Lot of Resources
When talking about Six Sigma and its ambitions, it is natural to wonder just how much time and money it will take to make it a success. Unfortunately, Six Sigma does take a lot of time and money to make it successful. This begs the question: why even do it at all? Well, simply because the benefits outweigh the costs.
Six Sigma organizations consistently deliver quality products. This means customers are perpetually satisfied and eager to do business, which drives up profits considerably. And with an efficient process on hand coupled with extremely low defects per million opportunities (DPMO), the cost of production goes down significantly as well.
Anything that is widely discussed in the business world as Six Sigma is bound to have myths spreading around. You will probably come across the above-mentioned myths in one form or another. If not armed with the right information, they can turn you off to a methodology that can take your organization to the next level.