Six Sigma and How Your Organization Can Achieve it

If you are seeking to improve your company’s performance, either in manufacturing, development, customer service or in any other sector of your business, the tried and proven Six Sigma approach to improving business performance is worth your attention.

What is Six Sigma?

Developed in the mid-1980s by the Japanese electronics company, Motorola, Six Sigma took American businesses by storm when it was embraced in the 1990s by then General Electric CEO, Jack Welch. Six Sigma is a management philosophy that seeks to approach perfection using both statistical models and interdepartmental “cheerleaders/implementers” called green belts, black belts and master black belts.

The name, Six Sigma, refers to the manufacturing statistical model of the same name that means a manufacturing facility’s output is 99.9999998% or virtually error-free.

Though it was originally developed for manufacturing companies, Six Sigma principles can be adapted to most any type of business.

How to Achieve Six Sigma

You don’t have to be the size of Motorola or General Electric to reap the benefits of Six Sigma. Companies of virtually any size from manufacturing facilities to service organizations can benefit from Six Sigma. To achieve “Excellence” via Six Sigma, you need to get the process stakeholders onboard to support the project. In addition, you’ll need to set time frame goals for each of your company’s processes to achieve Six Sigma and develop a way to measure the changes. Such processes can be anything from manufacturing lines to hiring practices.

Tools to Use

Fortunately, you don’t have to create all of the training material and all of the process evaluation tools yourself. You can learn from those companies that have already adopted Six Sigma and are using it to make their company more efficient. Below are just a few essential tools:

  1. Templates: A wide range of free online templates and forms exist to help companies with their Six Sigma initiative. Among these are graphical analysis charts, process mapping, prioritization matrices and much more.
  2. Workflow automation process software: Workflow automation software is another useful tool to help ensure process compliance and measure progress. By automating many of the functions traditionally done by hand, you can all but eliminate human error, while freeing up employee time to interact with customers and otherwise improve workflow.
  3. Training materials: For Six Sigma to work, every employee and manager needs to thoroughly understand the concept. Training is essential. There are a myriad of training tools available, ranging from online classes to seminars to “The Six Sigma Handbook.”

Six Sigma won’t change your company overnight. However, the money and time to invest in this proven business philosophy will all but certainly result in large returns of both customer satisfaction and dollars.

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