Six Sigma is basically a disciplined approach that is based on the analysis of available data to improve the quality of the process as well as the product. Qulaity management is one of the key roles played by Six Sigma in an enterprise. Let us look at an overview of Six Sigma and it’s role to improve quality in all the processes right from order to delivery.
What is Six Sigma?
The quality of a process is basically the ability to deliver products or services consistently within the specification limit. It is possible for a company to just deliver products without paying attention to the efficiency of it’s processes. This however will result in increase in the costs. This kind od processes also cause a high number of defects and variations that will make it very difficult to predict the performance. Implementing Six Sigma drastically reduces the number of defects and ensures high quality outcome by studying the processes and modifying them to best possible efficiency. Let us now look at the methodology used by Six Sigma to achieve such high levels of quality.
The methodology used by Six Sigma to ensure quality outcome can be best described using the acronym DMAIC. It stands for five different phases that are interconnected and work together as a whole. These phases are:
Lets us now look at each of these phases and how they affect the the quality management process.
Here a Six Sigma team develops a clear definition of the expectations, issues and scope of a project. They map the process flow and also define project boundaries to be maintained.
The Six Sigma team capture the main issues associated with each of the processes. Here they are required to use their audit management capabilities to better understand the issues and this is a key role played by their Qulaity Managemenent System. They use this as a metric or a measure which is used for process performance improvement. This allows the team to quantify the improvements made.
The data collected by the team is analyzed. This helps the team identify the root cause of the issues. It also helps them identify opportunities for improvement. They are required to identify the gaps between their current quality metrics and their goals. They use the technology available to them to prioritize opportunities and implement corrective actions.
The improvement identified earlier are implemented in this phase. The Quality Management system closely monitors the actions to ensure successful implementation. The changes are also documented for further reference. Real time data analysis is used to further monitor the effectiveness of the actions taken.
The team ensures that controls have been put in place to keep the improvement process on track. This essentially prevents the process from going back to it’s previous state or lagging.
Thus using DMAIC and its wide range of performance improvement tools and tactics, Six Sigma plays an effective role in the Quality Management System of the Enterprise.