In today’s competitive market, having the highest possible product quality is more important than ever before. With the way the internet has revolutionized marketing and provided all customers access to real product reviews, even a small percentage of defective products can seriously hurt the reputation of your company and the things you produce. Nearly 40 years ago a quality control system known as Six Sigma was created, with the potential to significantly reduce the amount of manufacturing errors for any given business, across all different industries! The question is: is Six Sigma still relevant today?
Well, the answer is a resounding yes! The principles of Six Sigma still hold true today, because even modern manufacturing and the world of marketing today doesn’t change basic good business practices. While an official Six Sigma certification may no longer give job applicants the competitive advantage it used to, the basic concepts still are and always will be relevant for any business that wants to increase their efficiency and decrease their margin of error in business practices and manufacturing.
What is Six Sigma?
If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely familiar with the basic idea of Six Sigma. If you aren’t, however, don’t worry! It sounds intimidating but the Six Sigma methodology and philosophy is pretty simple. Six Sigma is a process designed to help businesses improve the efficiency of their systems. Customer service issues, manufacturing defects, and other issues a business might face can be improved by the application of the Six Sigma process. The core philosophy is that any process that has errors at a rate higher than six sigma needs improvement. A sigma is equal to one standard deviation, effectively meaning that for a process to fall within the guidelines of Six Sigma it needs to have less than 3-4 errors or defects for every million repetitions of the process. Now this philosophy alone doesn’t solve any problems, the power of Six Sigma is in the application. Six Sigma includes a methodology for helping to improve business systems to meet this requirement.
Different Methods of Six Sigma
There are two different methods which an organization can use to implement Six Sigma, and while they follow slightly different processes either one can be a significant help for your business. In this section we’ll outline the different Six Sigma methodologies and how they can help your organization create the results you want.
The first method of implementing Six Sigma is known as DMADV. This simple acronym breaks the process down into 5 steps, which are as follows:
The second, more popular, methodology for implementing Six Sigma is very similar to the first, but with a few key differences. In fact, the first 3 steps are essentially the same, and the real change comes in the last two. Where DMADV focuses on creating one new system and ensuring that it works with an organization’s current resources and needs, DMAIC is a longtime process that helps an organization establish a pattern of continuous improvement. The last two steps of DMAIC, replacing ‘Design’ and ‘Verify’ in DMADV, are:
As you can see, although the term ‘Six Sigma’ isn’t heard nearly as much these days as it used to, the process can still be applied to great effect to manufacturing practices of today. Many other modern methodologies for improving efficiency and product quality have been inspired by Six Sigma, and a Six Sigma program can still provide a competitive advantage for individuals who want to increase their job outlook and for organizations seeking to minimize their errors and in turn, maximize their reputation.