Zero Defect in Quality Management: Possible with Six Sigma

The main aim of Six Sigma is to reduce defects produced in various business processes and thereby improving the quality of the results obtained. Thus companies that follow Six Sigma methodologies work towards designing a quality management system that produces Zero Defects. Many people feel that it is impossible to attain this goal of producing Zero defects. But when we say “Zero Defects” it does not mean achieving complete perfection. It refers to a state where wastes are eliminated and the number of defects produced is reduced as much as possible. This enables companies to achieve the best possible quality to its customers.

What Do We Mean by Zero Defects?

If we consider the term Zero Defects literally, we realize that it is technically not possible. Most projects that involve complex processing and are quite a large scale in terms of output cannot possibly be able to ensure not to produce a single defect. According to Six Sigma a target is set as to how many defects are permissible. The ideal target or the “Zero Defect” is defined as 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Six Sigma also prescribes a process of continuous improvement in order to improve quality slowly and steadily.

Zero Defects Implementation:

In order to achieve this concept of Zero Defect, we need to reduce wastage in all existing projects. This refers to eliminating all unproductive tools, employees, processes etc. Then a process of improvement is set up in place of those eliminated. This greatly reduces costs and time consumed.

This Zero Defect theory focuses on 4 aspects of projects:

1. Quality refers to requirements being met. Therefore Zero defect, in turn, implies that all the requirements of the customer are being met.
2. Quality is integrated into business processes from the starting. Therefore you need not solve problems at a later stage.
3. Financial terms are used to measure quality. It takes into account waste, revenue, and productivity.
4. Standards are set as close to perfection as possible and performance is judged based on this.

Pros of Zero defect:

As discussed earlier, Zero Defect helps get rid of wastes and greatly reduce cost. It helps us build products to customer satisfaction. This improves customer loyalty and helps you build a customer base and a better standing in the market. It invariably brings better profit and more sales.

Cons of Zero defect:

There is a possibility that the employees and leaders are striving towards a perfect process that is not realistic. The team goal, therefore, can never be met. This can negatively impact the performance and put enormous strain on employees. It adversely impacts their morale and job satisfaction. Another disadvantage that is overlooked is that the concept of Zero defect is variable from organization to organization. Therefore in a supply chain with other manufacturers, there may be negative impacts.
Considering all the Pros and Cons we may conclude that with proper planning and implementation along with the sustained continuous improvement of processes, it is possible to achieve great success by working towards Zero Defect.