Businesses are always looking for ways to improve efficiency to increase their overall success. One method many use today is Six Sigma, a quality-management process featuring a set of tools and techniques designed to increase product and service quality, as well as sales and profits.
What Is Six Sigma?
Engineer Bill Smith first introduced the concept of Six Sigma while working at Motorola during the 1980s. The methodology relies heavily on data for problem-solving, primarily through identifying and eliminating unnecessary elements to reduce waste and improve production processes. A Six Sigma approach combines statistical methods with quality-management methods and is used in many industries, including manufacturing.
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What Are Lean Six Sigma Tools?
A long list of Six Sigma tools has been developed over the years to address and solve waste and quality control issues. Different tools used in Six Sigma were created for various purposes, though KaiNexus and others focus on DMAIC, 5S workplace organization, value stream mapping, seven wastes, and flow as the most valuable.
The below video shines some light on the important Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques -
Let us now get into the details of these Six Sigma tools.
DMAIC is a five-phase cycle focused on the ability to define, measure, analyze, improve, and control processes. It is designed to help a project run more efficiently and provide structure. Using this method, each change throughout a project is carefully analyzed based on relevant data. If a new change or opportunity arises during a project, the DMAIC cycle is repeated.
5S Workplace Organization
An organized workspace often can increase productivity, but knowing where to begin can be daunting. The 5S system simplifies this process using the concepts of Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuske:
Seiri (sort)Get rid of clutter and keep only what is necessary
Seiton (set)Sort what is left, and organize it accordingly
Seiso (shine)Clean and inspect the workspace daily
Seiketsu (standardize)Set and record standards for the three previous steps
Shitsuske (sustain)Once a system is in place, use and regularly maintain it, and ensure all team members understand and follow it
Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping makes it possible to see the necessary steps for product delivery and project completion. This lets team members quickly know every part of a project, from work in progress to essential timelines. This value stream map illustrates the process and offers downloadable templates.
This Six Sigma method identifies, reduces, and eliminates the seven leading causes of waste, which include:
- Producing too much too soon
- Delays from team members, materials, or equipment
- Unnecessary moving of materials
- Overprocessing as a result of the poor product or tool design
- Inventory exceeding the bare minimum
- Unnecessary team member movement throughout a project's duration
- Making faulty parts
Flow refers to the continuous completion of tasks throughout a project’s development, launch, and delivery. It is designed to produce results that don’t have a scrap, stoppages, or backflows.
It also focuses on waste reduction within a process, so a company’s products and services produce faster results to meet customer demand. When this step is achieved in the Six Sigma process, it means the primary causes of waste have been eliminated so that the focus can be on the most critical aspects of a project.
How Six Sigma Tools are Helping Individuals and Businesses
Six Sigma tools and methodologies are designed to help everyone from entrepreneurs and startups to established companies by increasing productivity, saving money, and reducing waste.
Specifically, the process has been proven to help reduce production costs. For example, according to Villanova University, the U.S. Army reported $2 billion in savings after taking a Six Sigma approach to business operations. It is also a great way to identify and eliminate the causes of customer dissatisfaction to retain business better and sustain or increase profits.
Virtually every business today has room for improvement, making Six Sigma a viable approach to consider, no matter the industry. More and more companies today are doing just that. They see the value in adding team members who thoroughly understand Six Sigma techniques as well, including those who are certified in the technique.
|Test yourself on concepts covered in quality testing like using Minitab with the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Exam Practice Test. Try it now!|
Enroll in Certification Training Today
Simplilearn’s Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification is the ideal course for those preparing for the IASSC exam to achieve Six Sigma certification. In addition to mastering Six Sigma, students learn DMAIC methodologies, quality application and project implementation, and the Minitab tool. Students receive 40 hours of instructor-led learning and gain lifetime access to self-paced learning, as well as 56 hours of high-quality e-learning content.
Take your career to the next level and start learning by opting for the Six Sigma certification course today!!