Applying DMAIC in the telecom industry

DMAIC is a classic Six Sigma methodology used to facilitate process improvement. While the telecom industry does pose some unique challenges with Six Sigma implementation, simply thinking creatively when applying the DMAIC process can be beneficial.

Applying the define phase to the telecom industry involves understanding the cost of the service delivery process, and recognizing it as an important tool and index. This allows those working on a project to properly evaluate it based on the service processes critical to the telecom industry. Defining the problems is most desirable with a set vision and a clear strategic approach for improving service quality.

During the measured phase of a Six Sigma telecom project, the focus shifts to the defects found in the delivery of outstanding service. A helpful Six Sigma tool often used during this stage is the CTQ (Critical To Quality) chart, which shows which processes are vital to success. During this phase, team members are reviewing the current state of processes and no changes are to be made. This phase should provide the team with the baseline performance of the telecom delivery process. This is the part of the project where all of the data is collected. It is very important to walk the fine line between gathering enough data to make your project reliable and wasting time to gather too much irrelevant data.

The measured information then needs to be analyzed in order for action to be taken on it. A list should be created that ranks the sources of variation, starting with those that need attention directly. There are several Six Sigma tools that can assist with this, including the Cause and Effect Diagram, frequency plots and graphs, and scatter plots and diagrams. Threats to success and improvement should be identified.

Improving performance in the telecom industry can be challenging, as there are many variables present. The emphasis is on the customer, and the demands of that customer are often changing at a fast pace. When a team is looking to improve the performance of processes at a telecom company, they must keep this in mind. Flexible options for solutions are sought and recommended to the key stakeholders in the company. These improvements must be realistic, while also bringing about improvements. Risk assessments should be done, and the focus should be on improvements that enhance the quality of service.

Controlling these changes is also a challenge, as the industry does change so quickly. The Control Phase is the last step of the DMAIC process. Therefore, controlling the improvements made to the system must include a checks-and-balances system that ensures that improvements continue to deliver on their promise of improved service delivery.

This is the best way to implement Six Sigma┬áin the telecom industry. Telecom is an industry with a clear focus on the customer, and while this makes process improvement a challenge, it’s definitely something that can be achieved with the right Six Sigma programme┬áin place.