It is important for an organization’s sustainability and success to identify projects suitable for Six Sigma and to determine when these projects should be deployed. If the project is ineffective, it might be more successful with Six Sigma, but not have an effect on the organization itself.
A suitable Six Sigma project will help the business in several ways, including significant business process improvements and a large return on investment (ROI).
Project Selection Process:
- Identify opportunities for improvement and arrange organizational areas such as production, operations, finance, and strategy.
- Analyze opportunities and group related opportunities together.
- Evaluate and rank opportunities for improvement against the criteria of resources needed to implement the projects and the potential benefits in terms of ROI after completing the projects.
Some project selection methods include:
- Criteria-based project selection matrix, which is awaiting matrix to rate projects are criteria decided by stakeholders and customers.
- Pareto diagram, a prioritization tool known as the 80-20 rule.
- Hoshin Kanri, a method used to deploy organizational strategies and identify projects that will help an organization achieve its goals.
While six Sigma projects are focused primarily on customers other areas of six Sigma projects can focus on are:
- Performance improvement in critical to quality (CTQ) characteristics.
- Reducing customer complaints.
- Reducing defects, in-process or internal.
- Reducing warranty claims.
- Improving surveying customer research scores.
- Effectively capturing feedback from staff members.
- Increasing profits and revenue.
- Audit score improvement.
- Process performance and dashboard metrics improvement.
- Increased growth over the competitors.
The two basic Six Sigma models are DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) and DFSS (Design for Six Sigma), also called DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify). The methodologies use measurement based strategies to achieve the objectives of process improvement and variation reduction. DMAIC is used to add incremental improvements to an existing process, while DFSS is used to develop new processes, services, and products when more is required to existing processes than just incremental improvements.
The JDI (Just Do It) method of problem solving is deployed when the rigorous methodologies of DMAIC are not needed for the continuous improvement process. JDI is a shortcut approach, but is useful when management has sufficient information to bypass or shorten the Measure or Analyze phase. JDI is also used when the process improvement team wants to demonstrate results. This can reduce data collection and analysis effort and allow time and effort to be saved by moving on to the execution stage.
The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle is a basic four step process to carry out continuous improvement processes. The Plan step involves recognizing the opportunity for process improvement and to identify the plan for improvement. The Do step is the implementation of the plan. Employees are trained and activities such as scheduling and following up happen. If the desired process improvement is not achieved, the plan can be abandoned and the cycle start over from the Plan step. The Check step involves comparing the yielded results with the planned results. Deviations are recorded and a new improvement plan is proposed to achieve results. The Act step involves acting on the results of the check step and then either restarting the cycle or standardizing the results.
Total Quality Management (TQM) is structured to focus on satisfying customers via involving all members of an organization in the quality improvement processes. The main objective is sustained customer satisfaction, which is accomplished through systematic methods of problem solving, breakthrough achievement, and standardization. There are no hardline procedures for implementing TQM, and the PDCA is a popular TQM problem-solving tool.
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