Six Sigma for Non-profit

Many companies around the world have adopted Six Sigma methods and achieved great results. Many Non-Profit organizations around the world are also now looking to adopt these strategies in their processes. There are many challenges faced while applying the principles of Six Sigma to Non –Profits. There is a widespread belief that these principles cannot be applied to them as the objectives of such organizations is entirely different. But this is an inaccuracy. Let us look at this in detail.

Why Nonprofits Need Lean Six Sigma?

Six Sigma started out as being applicable to only manufacturing firms. This theory has been disproven as many other industries have adopted these methods and achieved great results. The fact is that any organization that uses a repetitive process to achieve its objectives can effectively use Six Sigma. The routine processes of Non-Profts can be streamlines using Lean Six Sigma.

Some examples include:
• Managing case files and updating them
• Inventory maintenance at shelters
• Maintaining the flow of resources for disaster relief
• Conducting community educational programs
• Maintaining financial records

Organization Culture:

Most Non Profits already possess an organizational culture that is well established. The employees of such an organization are loyal to the cause they support and are dedicated towards its success. Therefore implementing changes in the work culture that is more focused on efficiency and principles may be faced with resistance. They are devoted to improving the lives of people around them and make this their highest priority.

However, such a dedicated workforce may create a driven and motivated organization which has the potential for great results. They soon are able to acknowledge the savings and productivity that Lean Six Sigma can create, thereby helping them impact more people with the resources available.
With such an understanding they will be able to accept Six Sigma and adopt them to advance their vision.

Practicing Lean Six Sigma:

Six Sigma is not composed of hard and fast rules that can be implemented in one way only. The Non Profits will be required to try out various strategies to find the best suitable one. This is a process of continuous improvement that Six Sigma prescribes.
The organization and its goals are analyzed to develop a clear picture of what is expected of the organization and the current status of the needs being served. Its mission and objectives are taken into account to derive the expected outcome or the goal. Then its processes are aligned to it to help make a difference in the area where it is needed the most.

Benefits of Lean Six Sigma for Nonprofits:

• Increased Efficiency:
Most often Non-Profits are required to operate on small budgets and minimum staff. Therefore Lean Six Sigma gets the work done with a greater impact on the same amount of resources and manpower.

• Improved Service:
There are measurable benefits even in Non-Profits as with any other company. Helping more people, streamlines systems, the reduced time is taken, better planning of programs are all visible results of applying Six Sigma principles in Non-Profits.

Are you a manufacturing company? Know these 6 Lean sigma Principles!

As a manufacturing company, your main aim is to keep improving and figuring out ways to make your manufacturing processes better which can be very hard. Lean Six Sigma can aid you in this process. It is a methodology that has been tried and tested for many decades and proven itself with great results. This helps you save a lot of resources, time, effort and money by reducing defects. Let us take a look at the 6 most important Six Sigma Principles that you need to know to get you started. They are:

• Always focus on the customer
• Make your processes flow smoothly
• Reduce waste and concentrate on value
• Stop defects by removing variation
• Make your efforts systematic and scientific
• team collaboration

1. Always focus on the customer

So what is your main aim as a business? It is to drive your business forward by providing good quality output in order to satisfy the needs of your customer. So you need to improve the value for the customer by delivering products that meet the expectations of the customer. You need to analyze the requirements of your customer and improve your business processes to meet these requirements.

2. Make your processes flow smoothly

In order to do this, you need to understand the nature of the problems and study these. Six Sigma suggests the use of “5 Whys” to analyze a problem. If you find a problem, you ask why the problem occurred. This is repeated 5 times until you arrive at its root cause. Then this root cause is avoided to ensure smooth flow of the process.

3. Reduce waste and concentrate on value

The best way to improve quality and at the same time reduce cost is to reduce waste. The processes are observed to find possible areas of wastage. Then we can carry out various actions defined by Six Sigma such as being conscious, measuring waste, and eliminate the waste as effectively as possible. These actions are all data driven and hence very efficient and reliable.

4. Stop defects by removing variation

As discussed earlier, defects should be reduced in your processes in order to optimize them and save costs as well as improve quality. This can be done by standardizing the processes. The key to standardization is to remove variation. By studying the previous day, one will be able to corner in on the variations causing processes and modifying them to create a uniform, standardized process that will not produce any defects.

5. Team collaboration

While leaders and managers do a great job in designing the processes and reducing possible defects, the actual task of getting this executed falls on the team. Employees who use the process on a daily basis have very useful inputs on how it can be improved. You need to encourage the team to participate actively to identify problems and formulate solutions.

6. Make your efforts systematic and scientific

Six Sigma is not just a business methodology. It has a scientific quality as it is a data-driven approach. It leverages the data to create improvements and sustain them. This makes the approach systematic in nature that further enforces reduced variations and defects. It thus improves overall quality and customer satisfaction.

Personal Goals Count at Six Sigma

Every individual has a personal goal that he wants to work towards. If the company’s goals are not aligned with that of the individual, it can create a variety of negative impacts such as lack of motivation, lack of work satisfaction, and lack of team coordination. It also causes a rift between the various individuals working on the projects when their goals are misaligned with each other. Therefore Six Sigma provides a carefully crafted outline called DMAIC which helps individuals achieve their personal goals while also contributing effectively to the project at hand.
DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Let us look at what each of these phases means and how it contributes to Personal goals.

Define:The individual needs to define the goal clearly and be specific. The more specific the goal, the better are the chances of it being successful. Guage how important the goal is to you and how your life will change on achieving this goal. You need to also define why this goal is very important to you as this is the motivating factor for you to move towards the goal. It gives you a better perspective and makes the goal attractive to work towards on a continuous basis.

Measure:In this stage, you have to study your present state. Collect data surrounding your current position. Since the goal has not been achieved presently, analyze how it is affecting you. Convert this status into measurable metrics or numbers and keep tabs of this. Again, the key to efficiently executing this phase is to be specific.

Analyze:You may be following a number of processes to work towards the goal. Break these down into individual routines. Analyze if they are adding value to you and your personal goal. Figure out what are the obstacles or errors that inhibit you from doing these processes better. At this point, Six Sigma suggests conducting a Root Cause Analyses using the “5 Whys” method to determine the various obstacles and its root causes. With knowledge of these root causes, you can correct them to execute the processes better. Another methodology suggested is the Fishbone Diagram. This method helps you to explore the causes of your past failures and ensure they don’t occur again.

Improve:Once we know the reason for the past failures as well as the areas where the potential error may occur, these may be avoided. Create potential solutions to these issues and improve on them to make your approach failure-proof. Keep checking and validating your status to ensure that improvement is consistent.

Control:A lot of effort is put in to implement the new routine, but the actual success depends on sustaining the implemented routine. Here, Six Sigma suggests the use of the “Control Chart” that identifies standards and requirements that will ensure that the goal is achieved. Thus the final result is not just complete but also is of satisfactory quality. In case, you stray off the routine, it helps you identify this on time and take corrective measures to get back on track.

Six Sigma Strategy in data warehousing

A data warehousing system is used to gather information from different parts of the business process and then making them a part of a centralized database. In a broader sense, a data warehouse is the collection of data that is used by employees of an organization for easy and smooth working. Six Sigma is a business management strategy that is used to improve the quality of process outputs by removing the reasons for defects in a manufacturing or business process. It includes statistical methods for creating a special infrastructure within the organization.

The most important reason why organizations include six-sigma in data warehousing is because it affects the cost reduction in a positive manner. If the project is in the early stages, data warehousing and Six Sigma strategy will together allow for better planning, design and implementation.

Data warehousing components are complex in nature and are multifaceted. The various components are either developed in-house or by a third party or in joint development at the party’s place of business. Typically, designers focus on functional and business needs and not on performance constraints faced by the production environment. The consequence of this costly mistake is the possibility of missing deadlines and reworking the project, which are manifestations of operational inefficiencies.

It is not new that modern-day data warehouses are built for auto refreshing and/or compatible for at least real-time updating. ETL, as extraction, transformation and loading of data flow is a very resource-consuming exercise in data warehousing. The importance of data warehousing increases several times, considering the fact that data structures are both strategic and functional.

Even the real-time refreshing of data becomes a daunting task with the refresh window getting clogged straining server resources. Then there are some other factors that have a play in affecting the performance of ETL.

Quantifying the effects of a data warehouse is to project whether challenges can be scaled. The recent trend in data warehouse development is to treat them as belonging to the same family or group. Consider dedicating each family to a particular geographical location, and other subsets of respective hierarchical data. Warehousing modules for individual data groups (families) are developed at their initial stages and new ones are taken care of as and when they arise and are just plugged into the main data warehouse. The database could contain three fundamental tables such as tables to store attributes of data; storage of linking information; and finally, aggregated data ready for use.

Applying Six Sigma elements into software development

Applying Six Sigma elements into software development typically helps in identifying potential problems in production if the development is done in the early stages of the project. Secondly, the mammoth task of data warehousing can return positive results if deployment plans are fine-tuned before implementation.

The self-assessing nature and the provisions for internal auditing shed light on the course of implementation. At the same time, one cannot forget that databases developed remain tied to the system architecture on which they are built and bear heavily on the accuracy of predictions in a fluctuating business environment, ironically for which they are built.


Quality control- How six sigma green belt training can help?

Six Sigma green belt training is essential if you work in any type of quality control environment. This training can help leaders within an organization learn about how to recognize problems with processes that might be the reason for defects occurring. You will learn how to analyze processes and the line and see areas that can be improved. The fewer defects a business has, the more money they will make. Six Sigma training online can help lower the number of defects by teaching you how to find ways of making improvements to the problems causing the defects.

Total quality is the goal of every product that comes off of a line, every piece of software developed for computer use, and even in customer service. Six Sigma green belt training can help people with every aspect of quality because it takes you to the core of the business, starting with the strategy. You will learn how to look at the entire operation and recognize wasteful behaviours and things causing the company to pay for unnecessary expenses. Six Sigma online training focuses on making improvements in all aspects so when change does occur, it saves the business money. Reducing costs and waste will be understood after lean Six Sigma training.

Bottlenecks often occur within an organization’s daily activities, and they can be difficult to recognize. A bottleneck slowing production may be due to too many steps to reach an end result, too many employees doubling efforts, processes people are doing that can be automated, and more. Six Sigma green belt training will teach you how to recognize a bottleneck slowing down production, how to eliminate a bottleneck, and how to change processes so they are more efficient.

Quality control is about producing a quality product for the customer. For most companies, there are often many processes before you get to the end result. Green Belt Six Sigma training can help improve quality control for industries providing a product or service to a customer by improving processes, minimizing defects, reducing waste and eliminating bottlenecks. The end result for a business is more productivity, total efficiency, cost savings, and higher revenues.

Becoming a six sigma green belt requires a certain level of training and therefore has an associated cost -many businesses mitigate this by hiring fully qualified green belts while others will provide training either through on or off-site courses. While some organizations might be put off by this investment they should consider the benefits that can be achieved through effective greenbelts with the associated quality improvements and impact on customers.

With increasing competition in the marketplace coupled with much greater cost control – business improvement will become a primary goal for many organizations over the coming decade – having skilled and experienced improvement professionals will be paramount to this and we can expect six sigma green belts to be at the heart of this charge.



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 in 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 in place.



6 reasons to take up Six Sigma Greenbelt certification

Confused about the different levels of Six Sigma Certification? Here is an overview of the Green Belt so that you can decide if this type of Six Sigma Certification can fit you in your particular role in your company or business.

Now, we are going to explain why should you go for a Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

Build an ability to eliminate errors: Six Sigma Green Belt certification indicates that one who is having this credential has the ability to identify and eliminate repeatable process errors. From the organization’s point of view eliminating errors is imperative and so as to hire skilled and certified six sigma professionals.

Improvised business processes delivered via quality performance: Attaining a six sigma certification reflects that you have all the skills to improve business processes. You have the knowledge to identify various characteristics of an organization processes-be it manufacturing or business process. As a skilled and certified Six Sigma Green Belt professional, you are expected to measure, analyse, control, and improve them. All thanks to Six Sigma Green Belt certification that helps you build all the necessary skills.

Widespread applicability across industries: There are so many sectors wherein Six Sigma methodologies are used. Naming a few of them would be, applied in aerospace, electronics, telecom, banking and financial services, IT, HR, marketing, and the list keeps on increasing. This shows how demanding and valuable six sigma green belt skills are to the organizations as well as to the aspirants.

It is in demand because it is respectful: One of the reasons why organization value this certification is because of the level of difficulty professionals faces while clearing the examination. It is undoubtedly one of the toughest certifications to crack and those who manage to clear it, have proved to gain a necessary skill set. Organizations know this very well and hence hire managers and professionals at designated positions and asked salaries.

Excellent salary package: As we have said earlier that passing a six sigma green belt certification is not easy, hence not every single person aspiring to become a six sigma pro, does not qualify the certification exam. This is the reason why certified six sigma professionals are offered such high salaries along with other employment perks. By passing the examination, they have proved that they have the skills, and by offering the asked salary packages, organizations prove that they value the same.

Prepare professionals for managerial and leadership qualities: Six Sigma professionals are not only prepared to work on six sigma methodologies, but they are the one who takes a lead when it comes to taking business process improvement decisions. The certification helps them nurture managerial and leadership qualities which in turn helps in the timely delivery of quality products and services to the customers.

The benefits of taking up a six sigma certification are many but a few of them are listed above. If you are willing to build necessary skills in you, get up and join Six Sigma Green Belt certification courses as soon as possible.

Lean thinking and kaizen events can boost efficiency

All organizations have inefficiencies processes that don’t work well and are either slow or produce the too much substandard product. However, as a business owner, you don’t have to stand for this! Utilizing Lean Thinking and Kaizen tools can help improve your processes and reduce wasteful inefficiencies.

Kaizen events are focused activities which target quick and sustainable improvements to your business. Involving the key stakeholders from the business and utilizing a structured methodology to both measures the problems and to implement robust improvements.

Originating in the Japanese automotive world, lean thinking and kaizen are not just for manufacturing virtually all business can use this powerful tool to unlock their potential. For example – why live with excessive product quality issues? You just simply use a kaizen event to study the problem and resolve it.

How do Kaizen events work?

Kaizen events typically follow three stages

1) Initial preparation

  • Data gathering
  • Workshops to review issues

2) “The Kaizen event

  • Dedicated resources (main process stakeholders)
  • Enough time to review the process in sufficient detail
  • Review current process (consider process mapping) and capture key issues
  • Develop an improvement plan and new process
  • Develop implementation plan
  • Implement controls (i.e. metrics/reviews)
  • Finally, implement

3) Follow up

  • Review process or metrics to ensure they are within agreed tolerances of the new process
  • Carry out further training
  • Review any lessons learnt

Kaizen means, simply, continuous improvement. It is based on the fundamentals of scientific analysis in which you analyze (take apart) the elements of a process or system to understand how it works so that you can learn how to influence it (make it better). As such, it is the building block of all the lean production methodologies; it is the foundation upon which all of these methods have been built. Once your company has committed to supporting a culture of continuous improvement, kaizen events can be held periodically to make focused changes in the workplace. These events will take a magnifying glass, so to speak, to each process and every operation in the plant in order to eliminate waste and improve the product.

Many people who are unaware of Kaizen will ask “what benefits do use kaizen bring to the company?” it brings shortcuts; it brings new and better ways of doing things which makes the work easier and eliminate the unnecessary things we do.

Kaizen events are generally organized so that focus and emphasis can be laid upon the problems pertaining to the development of products along with the reorganization of the company’s methodology of working as well as matters relating to the administration. Companies having such problems must conduct Kaizen events so they can thoroughly discuss the issues and find optimal solutions to the same.

The key to kaizen is that it can involve all key stakeholders creating a workforce team to bring about improvement – this overcomes typical improvement plans which may be loaded onto the workforce without consultation.

Used correctly Kaizen can be a powerful tool for change that can deliver significant efficiency gains and increased profit.


Applying Six Sigma principles for job analysis

Job Analysis applying a quality process such as Six Sigma to job analysis can have interesting and positive benefits to your organization. Job analysis is a process common to any HR department; job descriptions are developed and analyzed to determine similarities and differences in work so that the right people can be hired and their compensation can be calculated appropriately.

When jobs are analyzed, however, there is often variability in the results and an absence of consensus and consistency and the internal structure that is created. Applying Six Sigma techniques to improve steps in the job analysis process can make it a more consistent and reliable process and should help to generate a perceived sense of fairness. If Six Sigma techniques can improve quality in other part of the organization then why not in job analysis too?

The key steps of the Six Sigma methodology are spelt out in the acronym DMAIC which stands for:

  1. Define (D):This usually means defining the goal, which in this case is to identify and fix the lack of consistency in the job analysis process. This is usually observed when job descriptions are analyzed and rank ordered in a hierarchy from greatest to least importance, and there are inconsistencies.
  2. The measure (M):In this step, data are collected on the current process to establish a performance baseline. A process flowchart is developed to document the sequence of steps in the job analysis process. An examination of the steps involved in the process enables the HR professionals involved to pinpoint potential steps where, and how often, inconsistencies might occur.
  3. Analyze (A):During the Analyze phase, steps are taken to determine the root causes of the defects. Specific causes are pinpointed using a number of analytical tools, such as brainstorming, cause-and-effect diagrams, design of experiments, fishbone diagrams, root cause evaluation charts, ABC/BOC analysis, and cycle time reduction, among others.
  4. Improve (I):In this phase, the focus is to develop and implement solutions that address root causes of defects, as well as to validate the solutions by collecting and analyzing additional data. Through the tools applied in the Analyze stage, it is anticipated that possible solutions for the root causes of variance can be identified.
  5. Control (C):This final stage is to ensure that the new process put in place is maintained. More specifically, the process must be standardized and the changes and improvements successfully implemented for at least twelve months, and until future improvements build on the current work, to sustain the gains.

So, explore job analysis inconsistencies in your organization by critically reviewing how job descriptions relate to one another in the hierarchy. If you can, enlist the help of a Six Sigma expert in the organization to help you work through the DMAIC process outlined above, it may pay off big time in terms of organizational effectiveness.


Motivation on Six Sigma: Where does Organization lose its focus?

Data is causing a revolution in businesses and this has been brought about by realizing the potential of effectively analyzing the data that is available to us. Six Sigma allows businesses to reduce or even totally eliminate defects in their business processes by analyzing data. Most companies better themselves by working towards the ideal Six Sigma goal and produce outcomes that improve customer satisfaction and beneficial outcomes multi fold.

It is generally a tool that modern companies use to evaluate existing processes and the possible outcomes, thereby identifying areas for the scope of improvement. It defines goals, measures progress, Designs new methodologies and verifies the outcome. Let us now look at some of the major areas that companies should lay focus upon to achieve the best possible results from Six Sigma.

1. Customer Satisfaction:

While attracting new customers to your business is a very important aspect of your business, retaining your current customers and maintain long-term business links with them is very advantageous for your business. The rapid improvement of customer satisfaction facilitated by Six Sigma, Ensures that your customers remain loyal to you. Six Sigma studies the data available and points out the critical aspects of a product that plays a major role in customer satisfaction.

2. Time Management:

A lot of companies lose sight of their goal or their quality standards while they rush to meet deadlines. These goals or standards are often not set taking time management into account. Six Sigma helps you set Smart Goals on an efficient Timeline that helps achieve the best possible results.

3. Cycle Time:

Very often the timelines planned out at the beginning of a project are not adhered to. This results in shabby work performed closer to the deadline, or the deadline being pushed altogether. Six Sigma implements a special team that watches the performance of the team and decide upon an ideal time frame for a task and ensures that problems related to the same can be identified and fixed.

4. The motivation of Employees:

The more motivated your employees, the better they perform. This makes them work with the company’s interest in mind. Six Sigma’s tools and techniques help employees to stay motivated and put in their best. This, in turn, improves the morale of a team and makes it easier for employees to work together towards a common goal.

5. Strategy Development:

All good businesses need a good strategy. This is one of the main areas Six Sigma focuses on. It identifies specific areas where a company need to perform better to improve its status in the market and works on building a strategy for the same.

6. Supply Chain:

The products that a company produces largely depends on the suppliers. By decreasing the supply points in a chain, the number of defects can be reduced significantly. Such improvements can cause a lot of improvement in the overall outcome of the products. Six Sigma is a tool that can greatly assist in identifying such flaws and making improvements to your business as a whole.