A Brief Introduction to Six Sigma Methodology

The creation of Six Sigma Methodology is understood to be traced back to Carl Friedrich Gauss and introduced as a measurement in variation in organizations.  Six Sigma name comes from the Greek alphabet “Sigma” which mathematician or statisticians uses in statistics to find a standard deviation.  Motorola was the first company to use Six Sigma, to measure the quality of products and services from within.  In the process of Motorola using Six Sigma, it helped them to pinpoint mistakes such as finances and operations.  Six Sigma’s core philosophy was based on business process and customer requirements, extensive training to employees, focus on the organization, and creating an improved system.

Six Sigma Methodology describes a business improvement approach that seeks to find and eliminate causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and service processes by focusing on outputs that are critical to customers and a clear financial return for the organization.  Six Sigma has evolved into a high-performance system that executes business strategy.  Six Sigma is in place to prevent many errors in companies.  Six Sigma comes in different factors that are beneficial to companies such as the different belts, the DMAIC and DMADV Methodology, how the framework in TQM, and how it compares to the ISO9000 and Baldrige.

There are some large corporations that utilize Six Sigma Methodology, and they are Bank of America, Ford, and GE just to name a few.  Bank of America implemented the Six Sigma project team that relied on standard tools and created a matrix to measure the cost of failures in the company.  Ford prides itself on utilizing Six Sigma and engages in four core factors that include cost reduction, improving quality, poor customer satisfaction rates, lowering environmental impact by reducing solvent consumption.  GE used Six Sigma not only with their engineers but use it in other areas such as the Human Resource managers and sales manager.  Six Sigma implemented training employees on data-based problem analysis, and training covered the DMAIC procedure.

Six Sigma in service organizations can develop sectors that revolve around certain companies like the GE service sector.  Six Sigma Methodology asked three questions, 1) what is the problem that needs to be solved; 2) how to process the problem that exists, and 3) what measures the closing of the gaps that can watch the progress.  The thing about Six Sigma is it can be used in almost any company and applied in various ways such as administratively, transactional, and customer service.  In service sectors such as financial services, casinos, and medical services they are called transactional Six Sigma.  Just like Bank of America as a service sector implementing Six Sigma techniques to manage complex systems integration work. Six Sigma has helped Bank of America build a robust company, which created a new design, new products, and services that made Bank of America innovated to meet the needs of customers.

Six Sigma Methodology

Other services organizations are insurance companies like Allstate and Nationwide and financial services such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America.  In order to apply Six Sigma Methodology into these types of jobs first, an exam must be taken.  The exam covers four areas, which are accuracy, cycle time, cost, and customer satisfaction.  Service organizations have different problems and an inimitable set of processes, so they would have tools and methodologies that will improve such businesses.  Meaning, sometimes there are challenges and difficulties in organizations, and Six Sigma would utilize tools and techniques that would be applied to make organizations successful.

Within companies trying to implement Six Sigma Methodology in service organizations, problems do arise such as it is harder to collect data, and it harder to measure Six Sigma in industries.

Six Sigma operates under four different belts are Yellow, Green, Black, and Master Black Belt that analyzes and solves problems and improvements in companies.  There are certifications and training for the four belts.  The Yellow Belt is the lowest level of the belts in Six Sigma.  With this type of belt, it comes basic entry-level knowledge.  These employees want to improve their company by using this belt.  With the Yellow Belt Certification, it targets managers, supervisors, and directors.  Yellow Belts review the process improvement plans. The responsibilities are to determine which direction to move in, resolve issues that staff or team has by implementing solutions, and sporadic reviews.

Green Belt is an entry-level certification, which requires people to be skilled team players and wants to improve the process quality.  Green Belts collect data and analysis for the Black Belts.  The Green Belt responsibilities define who the team is, the scope, and the project. The certification teaches people how to set goals, use timelines and create milestones in companies.  Six Sigma Green Belt is a task with tracking and reporting team progress, need to know how to promote team meetings and manage staff organizational interfaces.

Black Belt consists of trained professionals that have job duties that include Six Sigma practices through all levels of the business, leading teams and projects, and providing Six Sigma training and mentoring to Green and Yellow Belts.  The Black Belt has four phases which consist of measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling the problems.  Six Sigma Black Belt was considered the most active and valuable certification.  Depending on the setup of the company Black Belt responsibilities to lead in problem-solving projects, define the teams, train, and coaching lower-level employees.  The type of professionals which will benefit from Black Belt certification is quality managers, analyst, testers, customer service, and engineers.

Master Black Belt is the more experienced people with the most education that has knowledge in all levels.  They are higher-ups like senior executives and managers and help in planning business objectives.  The Master Black Belts are mentoring the Green and Black Belt.  Their goal is to minimize the cost in an organization, by working with shareholders and other executives.  With this certification, people can achieve a competitive advantage over the competition.

Two methods that are used in Six Sigma Methodology are DMAIC and DMADV Methodology.  DMAIC is used to process or product that exists in companies but does not perform efficiently.  The acronym for DMAIC is to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. The acronym for DMADV is to define, measure, analyze, design, and verify.  DMAIC method defines who customers are and what customers want and their expectations.  Also, create an improved process flow.  Also, DMAIC measures outputs and modifies inputs.  The DMADV creates new processes to achieve what customers need.  The design phase is a phase in which the team will document the detailed process that meets the customer’s deliverables.  DMAIC focuses on making improvements to companies and DMADV finds processes to meet all customer’s needs.

Some companies are looking for better quality and functional workplaces, and there is a demand for Six Sigma that has grown popular.  Six Sigma Methodology is the essential concept of total quality management that integrates human and process improvements.  Some of the issues in the workplace could affect leadership and team processes.  TQM focuses on results and customers and sometimes affects the urgency of how employees respond.  Both Six Sigma and TQM have quality improvement systems, and both reduce errors and poor customer service.  Some questions have been said, that Six Sigma is a reincarnation of TQM, the textbook says it’s a repackaging Total Quality Management redefines the predetermined goals to and make sure the goals are accomplished.  Whereas Six Sigma focuses on end results, TQM focuses on improvement with accountability in a company’s finances.

How would you compare Six Sigma Methodology to ISO9000 and Baldridge, first would need to know the definitions of the three?  Again, Six Sigma measures the quality of products and services from within.  ISO 9000 was establishing and maintain quality assurance in the service industry.  The Baldrige criteria provide systematic ways to approach the development phase.  Baldrige Criteria provided a framework that an organization or business can improve its performance.  Baldrige used some sort of criteria that consisted of several categories such as leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement and analysis, and workforce focus.

How ISO 9000 and Baldrige compare with Six Sigma? ISO 9000, Baldrige, and Six Sigma complement each other but are driven by different project leaders and competing resources that give different end results.  If Six Sigma and ISO 9000 combines by delivered objectives such as prevention of defects that are designed through servicing. Six Sigma supported Baldrige by enhancing the ability of management to focus on the critical factors that can make a business successful.

Six Sigma was set up so that companies and/or organizations can align themselves up with the right objectives and targets, which makes quality improvement better for organizations and teams.  Today, Six Sigma Methodology is popular and used by many more companies. Six Sigma is the process that is meant to improve continuously upon several different aspects of a business.  When companies utilize Six Sigma the staff will understand how their work is produced, they will have increased profits, they would have learned to improve customer experience.

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