Business process management and Six Sigma: why neither can stand alone

Business process management or BPM is a comprehensive methodology that helps design and maintains all aspects of an organization with the sole purpose of meeting their customer’s wants and needs both effectively and efficiently. Such ambitious endeavors require equipping BPM practitioners with powerful computerized tools and an overarching infrastructure to enable a wide range of problem-solving solutions. BPM tools can be classified into four groups and they are Strategy, Analysis, Design, and Implementation.

On the other hand, Six Sigma is also a comprehensive and highly disciplined methodology that helps you focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services, by analyzing the underlying business processes and removing defects or errors. Six Sigma also is a wide range tool and they are Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control.

What does BPM lack?

BPM tools are very effective in creating business interactions and communication models. But, very often, BPM teams struggle to understand which processes are the top priority for the business and which defects are the most critical to solving for any given process. BPM lacks quantitative ranking methods and statistical tools to prove significance. Here, Six Sigma has much to offer BPM teams in this area through tools like Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA), risk prioritization index and Value Stream Mapping (VSM).

BPM is a thin methodology to monitor the sustainability of any process change after implementation of such changes. Once process changes have been deployed, the project is closed. Six Sigma offers SPC which is a robust tool that is specifically tailored to particular quantitative variables; designed to monitor stability, trending and within control operational status.

What does Six Sigma lack?

Six Sigma usually tackles specific defects in a specific set of operations within a specific business process. This approach is very effective in eliminating defects. But in general, Six Sigma lacks a wealth of enterprise-wide view of the organization strategy, objective and goals, its factors and the organization surrounding. This is an area where BPM has a very strong approach. So, conceptually, BPM and LSS should be a great fit.

Six Sigma also falls short when tries to incorporate tools for computer automation and information technology designs. BPM lends a helpful hand with use cases, event modelling, business class models, subtype and package models. So, it can be again concluded that both Six Sigma and Business Process management can give a compliment to each other.

It becomes very apparent that Six Sigma and Business Process Management (BPM) neither can stand alone. Organizations that master the integration of both will have a higher rate of financial success when designing and implementing a process to take any organization for a closer level of customer satisfaction and global competition.

A few good reasons for implementing Lean Six Sigma for your organization

These days, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) has become a quotidian word in the business world. Lean Six Sigma is basically a combination of two distinct business techniques and they are Lean and Six Sigma. The prime focus of Lean Six Sigma methodology is to eliminate waste, variation, and non-value-added tasks from a process.

By embracing this Lean methodology, the companies are not only streamlining their businesses and improving their workflows but also they are saving a humongous amount in many cases. A plethora of studies has claimed that successful implementation of Lean approach increases efficiency, improves quality, and better customer service.

Let’s discuss some of the reasons why a company should adopt the Lean Six Sigma approach?

  • Increases efficiency and effectiveness: By implementing LSS methodology, a company can increase its efficiency on many levels. LSS Master Black Belts are adept and they have the capacity to analyse each process within a workflow for weaknesses that can be alleviated in order to achieve maximum efficiency in terms of time and resource allocation. Thus, it can be concluded that Lean Six Sigma allows you to create efficient processes so that your company can deliver more high-quality products or services.
  • High-quality output: Lean Six Sigma process helps you to achieve the highest level of quality in terms of products or services. This is accomplished by prioritizing areas of the operation such as quality control standards and practices, inventory control, production scheduling and elimination of quality issues in literally all operational processes.
  • Uplifts your profit: LSS enhances your company’s profit by streamlining your business processes. Streamlined processes result in products or services that are completed faster and more efficiently without adding any extra cost to quality. Lean Six Sigma approach not only increases your profit but it also reduces your cost by removing waste from a process. Waste is basically an activity within a process that isn’t required and waste also enhances your cost. Thus, by removing waste, Lean Six Sigma minimizes your costs.
  • Better customer service: Lean Six Sigma basically helps a company to improve their process and quality control. This will automatically lead to a better product or service in terms of price, quality, lower defect rates, and many more. Since your customers are getting better products and services, they will feel contented and will remain loyal to you.
  • A better work culture and improves employee performance: Lean Six Sigma is an approach which is not only related to company management. Rather, it’s evident in everyone’s day-to-day work. LSS also encourages every employee to learn how to perform better at their job. Lean Six Sigma also builds trust and transparency throughout all levels of a company. Thus, it promotes a healthy work culture and every employee feels that they play an important role in the success and growth of the company.

These are some benefits that a company can achieve If they have been implemented Lean Six Sigma methodologies successfully. With the help of the Lean Six Sigma approach, any company irrespective of its size can improve its efficiency, quality and customer service.

What CIOs and CTOs need to know about Lean Six Sigma?

Indubitably, information technology has transformed the way businesses undertake, manage and measure their processes and work output. However, when it comes to aligning IT systems to suit the project requirements of Lean Six Sigma implementations, most businesses fail to achieve the desired results. The CIOs and CTOs are responsible for all the managerial operations but very often they used to face a chunk of issues from corporate realignment to growth to dwindling budgets. Though they have a knowledge of Lean Six Sigma, they fail to understand its importance and benefits. They believe that the implementations of Lean Six Sigma will be an unnecessary effort and thus, they try to convince the top management to forego or waive the implementations.

But if they follow such conservative approaches for the businesses, then it would be very difficult for them to survive in this competitive world. Here, we are mentioning some of the common misconceptions regarding Lean Six Sigma that today’s CIOs and CTOs have and what are the realities.

Need to spend a chunk of money for Lean Six Sigma implementation: This is one of the most common misconceptions that a company needs to invest a humongous amount for Lean Six Sigma implementation. Though an organization needs to expand its budgetary allocations, still the additional funds required would never exceed beyond a level so that an organization can’t manage it. This is something that most CIOs and CTOs fail to understand. According to them, such implementations will lead to a resource crunch situation and this can create a negative impact on the company’s production targets and also tarnish the overall quality. But they often forget that Lean Six Sigma implementations are carried out according to a detailed plan. This plan is designed in close consultations with the production department. So, this will hardly create a negative impact on the production.

Required experienced people: This is another misconception that today’s CIOs and CTOs have. They often think that they need Six Sigma professionals like Greenbelt, Black belt, etc. to implement Lean Six Sigma approaches. But every organization have limited funds and thus, they can’t afford them. Fortunately, there is an alternative to this which CIOs and CTOs need to understand. These days, professional Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma training are available at a moderate rate, so that can train their own employees who will help the organization in Six Sigma implementation. The CIOs and CTOs should consider in-house Six Sigma training to achieve the main objectives.

This is not a quick fix or solution: These days, most of the organizations are hungry for a quick fix for their problems. But they need to understand the implementation of Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma is a time-consuming process and they can’t give a solution on a quicker basis. So, these approaches are ideal for the long-term basis and thus, you need to keep patience.

Many companies are getting benefited from Lean Six Sigma approaches. Today’s CIOs and CTOs should consider the long-term goals and objectives of the company. That’s why they should keep faith in Lean Six Sigma implementation rather than contesting it.

Can Six Sigma work for small organizations?

In earlier, when Six Sigma was introduced to the market, it was misconceived that Six Sigma was only for large and corporate companies. Though no such restriction was ever envisioned in its functional scope, it was rendered this status since only big businesses initially adopted and applied the strategies to improvise their business processes. But now, the experts think that Six Sigma is equally productive for the small businesses also. Its features of Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control, have the capacity of regulating work with proper standards irrespective of the size of the businesses.

Let’s take a look at how Six Sigma is beneficial for the small businesses.

A  better customer service and support: A small business needs its customers more than the large businesses. A company like Motorola or Samsung can afford to lose a few because of an inefficient process, but if your customers shift their interests, then you will meet a huge loss. A small business always gives more priority to its customers. Thus, a Six Sigma approach will help you to improve the processes within your company and make your success much better so that you can serve your customers in a better way.

A healthy work environment and training: If a small organization implement Six Sigma, then it can speed up the implementation of Six Sigma strategies. In small businesses, individuals who are trained as Six Sigma Green Belts and Black Belts can be used as trainers for coaching other employees. This helps in achieving more since the trainers and trainees work in the same environ and the former can demonstrate live execution of Six Sigma procedures. In such an environment, employees who were initiated into Six Sigma implementation are able to see for themselves, the process errors being made and are able to often come up with innovative solutions to overcome those and improve productivity.

Decreases cost and improve revenue: A plethora of statistics has claimed that when a company (irrespective of the size) apply Six Sigma approaches, their Cost of Quality decreases to one to two per cent of revenue. The reason for this cost saving is their quality costs move from failure costs such to prevention costs. The wasted failure costs go directly to the bottom line of the Six Sigma organization, to be re-invested in value-added activities that boost sales. Thus, the organizations who adopted Six Sigma strategies can fully utilize its resources in revenue generation. This infusion of capital helps the sales side of the equation, so Cost of Quality as a per cent of revenue drops that much quicker.

Six Sigma is very beneficial for the small organizations if you have implemented it properly. Don’t get fooled by those who used to tell that Six Sigma is very expensive and it won’t work. You don’t have to spend a lot to hire a consulting team to complete the Six Sigma projects and you will certainly see ROI within 4 to 6 months. This sound quite interesting and amazing if the projects are completed properly. Alternatively, you can motivate your employees to get a professional Six Sigma training so that your business can grow rapidly and you will earn a humongous revenue from it.

A comparison between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma

Both Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma have become an integral part of every business as they help the organizations to establish their presence firmly in this steep competitive market. Though the benefits of both are unfathomable, still there is a strong debate on the business world whether they should go adopt Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma when it comes to streamlining their business process and efficiencies. Let’s compare these two methods and find out which one is the best.

Primarily, there are many resemblances between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma because their goal is the same. But they follow a different approach to achieve this goal. The main difference between Lean and Six Sigma is that they identify the root cause of waste differently.

  • According to the Lean Six Sigma experts, unnecessary steps in the production process generate wastes and they don’t add any value to the finished product. While on the other hand, Six Sigma experts believe that wastes result from variation or discrepancy within the process.
  • Six Sigma has the capacity to eliminate the defects or errors of a process but it can’t address the issue of optimizing process flow. On the other hand, the Lean Six Sigma method excludes the use of advanced and complicated statistical metrics that are required to estimate. This method simply compresses the process capabilities so that they can truly become ‘lean’.
  • Lean Six Sigma is applicable only in the manufacturing industry whereas, every business is getting benefitted by using Six Sigma methodologies.
  • Six Sigma uses many statistical metrics to calculate but Lean Six Sigma is totally based on a comparison of best practices and the current.
  • From Improvement perspective, Six Sigma reduces variation and Lean reduces waste. Six Sigma aims at a process performance of 3.4 Defects per Million opportunity and Lean focuses on improving speed.
  • The length of a Six Sigma project is nearly 2 to 6 months and for a lean, the project length is 1 week to 3 months. This is because Six Sigma projects have higher intricacies as compared to the Lean Six Sigma projects.
  • Data plays an imperative role in Six Sigma project because data is the main driver in a Six Sigma On the other hand, demand is the prime driver for a Lean Six Sigma project.
  • Six Sigma principles usually improve the cost of poor quality, the Lean Six Sigma approach improves the operating costs of a project. Six Sigma has a longer learning curve and lean has a shorter one.

So, if efficiency is concerned, then Lean Six Sigma is definitely the best approach. But as you know “there is no one cure for all ailments”, similarly there is no particular one solution to the problems that the corporates are facing regularly. That’s why companies are adopting both these methodologies and are identifying and rectifying the problems at the root level by using the most relevant toolkits.

Thus, it can be concluded that Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are two sides of the same coin.

Six Sigma and its avant-garde application in the retail industry

Over the past few years, you have seen an unparalleled growth in the field of the retail sector. The retail sector also involves a chunk of operations that bring a product from the supplier’s warehouse to the customer’s cart. So, you can improve each and every stage of a process in a retail company by prudently implementing Six Sigma methodologies. Six Sigma in the retail industry is highly successful and is growing rapidly.

Let’s take a look at how can Six Sigma benefits the retail industry.

Know your customer in a better way: Let’s consider the example of McDonald’s Milkshake story. Rather trying to focus on the product, McDonald’s focus more on what their customers are looking for? They found that most people would like to have a milkshake in the morning to get rid of the boredom and it also helps them to control their hunger till lunch. Based on this story, McDonald’s adjusted their product and they marketed their products to the right customers. Basically, Six Sigma helps them to understand the customers’ desire with the help of various tools like the Kano Model. The businesses which ignore their customers may face a huge loss in the future. According to research which is conducted by Deloitte & Touche, customer-centric businesses are 60% more profitable compared to those that do not focus on building customer relationships.

Improves the quality and services of a product: These days, the customers are very demanding and freaky and they want high-quality either in products or services. Untimely services and low-quality products can disappoint customers. And they will shift their interest to your competitors and thus, the decline in profits. With the help of various Six Sigma tools, a retail business can implement statistical methods to turn data into high-quality products and services.

Better checkout process: If your customers are not happy with the checkout process, then they will divert their interest and focus. Some important parts that are associated with this process are engaging with customers, predict the demand, collect the information effectively, provide a personalized service, and customer satisfaction. By using Six Sigma tools like value stream analysis, Lean principles, analysis of store data, etc., you can solve the problems by focusing on your customers.

Cut the wastes: Six Sigma plays an imperative role in cutting the wastes. The eight areas of waste which you can eliminate by using Six Sigma are motion, waiting, unused employee talent, managing inventory, defects, overproduction, transportation, and non-value adding processing. The retail operations have many moving parts and thus, the challenges can arise in a wide variety of areas. By employing Six Sigma strategies wisely you can conquer all these challenges.

Helps in the documentation: Data and documentation are an integral part of the retail industry. If you want to run your business smoothly, then impeccable and flawless documentation are needed. Six Sigma tools help you to improve the fundamentals of data collection and analysis. Hence, your entire business gets benefitted from Six Sigma principles.

These are some ways where Six Sigma methodologies can get leveraged with the retail sector. So, you may conclude that Six Sigma in the retail industry can diminish the chances of variations, errors or faults and greatly increases sales and profits.

Lean Six Sigma: does it have any role in Government sector?

Lean Six Sigma is not at all a new-fangled thing in these days rather people are fairly aware of its practical applications in many sectors. Lean Six Sigma has received a grand welcome in the private sectors. But you must be astonished to know that Lean Six Sigma has become an integral part of the government bodies because it makes a process more effective by eliminating and reducing the wastes. That’s why these days, government bodies are adopting this method to make their process more efficient and powerful.

Let’s discuss in a deeper way how lean Six Sigma plays an imperative role in government sectors and agencies.

Improves operational efficiencies of the processes: When it comes to process improvements in the government sector, they can often be more critical than there are in the private sector. Because every government in every city, as well as state, should have their own standards for providing the best services possible. If a government body can apply the right lean Six Sigma principles along with the right people, then it can easily achieve the ever-demanding efficiency of the processes.

Eliminates unnecessary position and reduces cost: Lean Six Sigma allows government organizations to eliminate unnecessary positions and is helping them to find out ways so that they can cut the costs and provide better services. This thing is similar to the private sectors who have already adopted and applied Lean Six Sigma methodologies on their projects. However, for the government organizations, this thing is applicable on a much larger scale. Because the government’s use of this particular method provides them with much bigger solutions and successes because of their level of power and authority.

Improves administrative coordination: The application of Lean Six Sigma methodologies would facilitate process improvement by establishing clear, value-adding roles, and responsibilities across the government organizations. Not only that, this Lean Six Sigma will also provide the management with much-needed information which is required for effective process management controller-ship and governance.

Customer satisfaction: The customers are the pillars of every business. If you have a strong and satisfied customers’ base, then it will enhance your profit and growth. Customers play an imperative role in the government and the public sector also. A government agency can serve its customers in a better way by employing Lean Six Sigma principles. Because lean Six Sigma process will help them in improving their customer service by eradicating the defects or errors.

Governments are using Lean Six Sigma principles quite a some and are getting immensely benefited by this. Lean Six Sigma principles help them in reducing cost, eliminating errors, and improving efficiencies. Not only that, it also helps them to accomplish a project in a hassle-free and stress-free way. However, the government organizations need to focus on Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma training to their employees so that they can get more benefits in the future and can reach the zenith of the success.

Six Sigma software tools: types, uses, and definition

Managing Six Sigma right from data collection to final success is a long walk and indubitably, this is a daunting task for you. Here, enters Six Sigma software tools which are basically statistical interpretation tools while a small number of them are also available for data collection itself.

Types of Six Sigma Software tools

These days, the markets are thronged with a chunk of software tools which will help you incorporate Six Sigma methodologies into the various process of your business. Here, we are going to mention some of the popular Six Sigma software tools which will make more efficient your business.

  1. DMAIC and lean collaboration Six Sigma tool: These are basically process management tool. You can use these tools to define, measure, analyse, improve, and control processes.

  1. Design for Six Sigma or DFSS : This is a design tool
  2. Data collection tools: These tools generally feed information into the analysis tools and lessen the time spent gathering data.
  3. Quality improvement package: This is a quality control tool
  4. Programme management tools: These tools have the capacity to manage and track a company’s entire Six Sigma program.
  5. Production management package: This is a process simulation tool
  6. Project optimization and simulation: This is an analytical tool
  7. Testing and measurement: This is a testing and control tool

Benefits of using Six Sigma software tools

Most of the companies are using Six Sigma software tools for managing and analyzing data for various Six sigma projects. The core purpose of the tool is to assist teams in accomplishing Six Sigma projects in a hassle-free way. These tools also reduce the effort spent on six sigma projects. Let’s discuss elaborately some of the benefits of Six Sigma software tools.

Improve efficiency: The organizations usually apply Six Sigma methodology to identify and eliminate the errors or weaknesses of a process. Six Sigma software tools measure and identify those errors effectively and leaving the business processes measurably more efficient. That’s why these tools are very popular among large and medium organizations.

Better customer service: These Six Sigma software tools not only minimize human effort and improve the efficiency of a process, but they also ensure that the customers will get the better service and support. By minimizing the defects effectively, they always provide the best customer support to the end-users.

Minimize the workload: These tools also reduce the workload of the people involved in the project such as Six Sigma team members, leaders, Six Sigma champions, Black Belts and Black Belts. They also complement the existing skills of Six Sigma professionals.

Make your employees happy: If your staff are not satisfied, then this will affect the prospect of your business. Suppose your employees need to spend more time on a project with inefficient process, then this will increase their workload as well as their frustration levels. Eliminating the processes which are causing this frustration, these tools improve the morale of your staff and also give them a healthy and contented work environment.

Hope, this article will give you the sufficient knowledge of Six Sigma Software tools and their importance in your business.

The ease and benefits of Six Sigma online courses

The Six Sigma methodologies have been of great interest since their inception as they have been proven to be useful in industries across the grid. There are many institutes which provide in-house Six Sigma training to the aspirants who want to make a scintillating career in the business world. But over the past few years, the popularity of Six Sigma online courses is increasing rapidly because of the penetration of the internet in every sphere. Many people are preferring online training courses on the traditional one because the benefits are unfathomable.

Let’s dig a deeper why people are showing their inclination to online Six Sigma training courses.

  1. Cost effective: This is the prime reason for the popularity of Six Sigma online training courses. Six Sigma courses taken online are significantly more cost-effective than other methods of training in Six Sigma. That’s why most of the people and many companies choose to educate themselves or their employees through online Six Sigma courses. A plethora of statistics has claimed that online Six Sigma training cost is nearly Rs. 15000, while at the same time, the classroom fees are nearly Rs.30000-350000. However, the cost effectiveness of the online courses is not the only reason to choose this option.
  2. More flexibility: If you choose online courses, then you will get more flexibility as a student and a business owner. You can take this online courses at any time of the day, so students who are preoccupied with their homework or have a busy school life, with the online courses, they can easily adjust their time schedule. The student will have the convenience of learning Six Sigma through the internet at their work or school place and will also have the option of learning Six Sigma in the comfort of their own home. The same thing is also applicable for the entrepreneurs or the business owners. The company owners who have a packed schedule will also be able to find the time for their employees to take these online courses.

3. Can take these courses from your home: This is another prime benefit of online courses which you won’t get in the classroom training. The online Six Sigma course tools facilitate the student’s ability to learn at their own pace. If you face any problem with a particular Six Sigma Concept, then the Master Black Belt instructors are usually just an email away. The aspirants who take their Six Sigma courses online will also be able to gauge their progression through the material with online quizzes and exams.

Being certified as a Six Sigma black, green, or yellow belt is of tremendous benefit to someone’s career and also benefits the company for which they work. Online training is faster and more convenient than traditional in-house training and certification and that’s why, nowadays, people are enrolling themselves with these online Six Sigma training courses.

How can you find the best Six Sigma professionals in your business?

Six Sigma is one of the pristine strategies that many organizations are using and are getting a chunk of positive results in their products and business. But if you want to achieve an unparalleled success in your business by employing Six Sigma approach, then you certainly need some best and dexterous Six Sigma professionals who will help you in achieving your goals. It is an arduous and challenging job to find the best Six Sigma professionals for your company.  Still, there are some ways by which you can identify the best one from the standout.

  • Check their resume thoroughly: These days, the markets are crammed with many Six Sigma training institutes who provide some professionals training on Six Sigma courses and certificates after the completion of the course. Most of the aspirants should include “Six Sigma certified” on their resumes. So, check the resumes of the candidates in a detailed way and find out if they have written anything like “Six Sigma certified” or not.

  • Written test: If you want to hire the best candidates for your organization, then it is advisable to go for a written test. A written test will help you to evaluate how much knowledge your potential candidate possess. A written test should include a mixture of multiple choice questions related to Lean, Six Sigma, and even Theory of Constraints. The exam should be designed with a minimum passing score of 80% and generally no less than 30 questions. If your required take help from the executives who have a competence knowledge of Six Sigma in order to set up the questions. If your candidate passes the exam with flying colours, then he is the perfect choice for your organization.
  • Personal interview: This is a very effective step in the candidate evaluation process. Granted that the candidate has already passed the written exam, this gives the interviewer a chance to see how the individual might interact with people in your organization or whether they need an advanced training or explanation during the Six Sigma projects. Don’t forget to ask him how many Six Sigma projects he has finished in the past, the project details, what are the issues that they found earlier, how they detected and eliminated the errors after using Six Sigma approach, etc. All these questions will help you to understand whether he is suitable for your organization or not.
  • Offer an exceptional package and incentives: Even after finishing the Six Sigma training, most of the employees remain underrated by their organizations. So, if you can offer a lucrative package, incentives, and astounding growth opportunities to the candidates, then you will definitely get some good and adroit candidates for your organization. This will also help the people who deserve better positions in your company because you are appreciating their hard work and dedication.

Indubitably, finding a proficient and skilled Six Sigma employee for your organization is a daunting task for you. But if you can follow the above-mentioned ways, then you will definitely get the best employees for your organization who will ameliorate the growth and profit of the company.