Six Sigma’s goal is process improvement and variation reduction. By improving processes and reducing defects, customer satisfaction is naturally improved.
Minimizing defects in production through continuous improvement. Six Sigma focuses on measuring the impact of an improvement project and uses the following phases:
- Improving, and
We’ve seen this before in the DMAIC process that we discussed when talking about KPIs & the Importance of Measurement.
A sigma is a measurement of variance and denotes the variance from a mean average of an event. “Six Sigma” assumes a failure rate of 3.4 parts per million or 99.9997%. Six Sigma focuses on efficiencies and reducing costs. It also accounts for the “cost” of poor quality and works to reduce it.
Reducing Poor Quality
We’ve talked about Quality and Customer service before, but it bears repeating again. To reduce poor quality, there are certain actions that need to be taken:
- Understand who your customers are and what matters to them.
- Understand customer feedback (the Voice of the Customer) and see how that applies to your product/service & then prioritizing resolution based on the issues related to your product
- Understand your internal processes and what causes variation
- Understand the right metrics to measure and how to standardize
- Understand what causes a defect and how it can be addressed
The Meaning of Six Sigma
I talked in an earlier post about 99% uptime and how great that sounds but in reality, it’s pretty horrible. 99% uptime actually equates to –
- Unsafe drinking water almost 15 minutes each day.
- 5,000 incorrect surgical operations per week.
- Two airplane accidents at most U.S. major airports each day.
- 200,000 wrong drug prescriptions each year.
- No electricity for almost 7 hours each month.
- At the 1st Sigma level – 690,000 defective parts/million occur
- At the 2nd Sigma level – 308,538 defective parts/million occur
- At the 3rd Sigma level – 66,807 defective parts/million occur
- At the 4th Sigma level – 6,210 defective parts/million occur
- At the 5th Sigma level – 233 defective parts/million occur
- At the 6th Sigma level – 3.4 defective parts/million occur (99.9997%)
- Reduced repair times
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Reduced order delays
- Reduced defects
- Increase productivity
- Decreased Measurement Error