AHEAD OF THE CURVE

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The ability to add Six Sigma Certification to your resume proves your commitment to improving your business acumen and analytical skills, as well as improving the business where you work.

 

The pandemic has accelerated the trends which were already shaping the nature of our work. Skill development has become essential to keep up with the demand of an ever-evolving workplace. Six Sigma certification will provide the edge you need to thrive at your work.

What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology, which is centered around defect reduction and variation management. It is executed in the form of a disciplined, data-driven and time-bound project, always sponsored by the top management in an organization. Therefore, Six Sigma, put in simple terms, is a problem-solving methodology and reduces defects by controlling any project’s variation. The sponsorship of top management is significant for the success of the process. Besides providing the necessary funding, the top management is committed to introducing this concept throughout the organisation by participating in regular reviews and making it an organisation-wide initiative.
A Radical Idea
It was developed by Michael Harry at Motorola in the late eighties but had roots stemming back to William Deming and the principles of zero defects and total quality management. Over several years that followed the initiation of its efforts, Motorola achieved a two hundredfold improvement in production quality. It saved a reported $2.2 billion in the process. Another early adopter was Allied Signal, as they implemented the early nineties methods so that it became more than just a system to measure production quality. Six Sigma became well known after CEO Jack Welsh (CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001) made it a central focus of his business strategy in 1995 to drive growth and cost reduction. In GE’s 1999 annual report, they attributed benefits of $2 billion net income to the method.

 

 

Key Principles

Focus on Customer
The primary goal is to bring maximum benefit to the customer. For this, a business needs to understand its customers, their needs, and what drives sales or loyalty. It requires establishing the standard of quality as defined by what the customer or market demands.

Measure the Value Stream and Find Your Problem
The process involves mapping the steps in a given process to determine areas of waste and concurrently gathering data to discover the specific problem area that is to be addressed or transformed. The company also needs to have clearly defined goals for data collection, including defining the data to be collected, the reason for the data gathering, insights expected, ensuring the accuracy of measurements, and establishing a standardized data collection system.

Get Rid of the Junk
Once the problem is identified, the process requires the company to eliminate variation, thus removing defects. It includes removing the activities in the process that do not add to the customer value. If the value stream doesn’t reveal where the problem lies, tools are used to discover the outliers and problem areas.

Keep the Ball Rolling
The method requires the involvement of all the stakholders and adopting a structured process where the entire team contributes and collaborates with their varied expertise for problem-solving. Six Sigma processes can significantly impact an organization, so the team has to be proficient in the principles and methodologies used. Hence, specialized training and knowledge are required to reduce the risk of project or re-design failures and ensure that the process performs optimally.

 

The company also needs to have clearly defined goals for data collection, including defining the data to be collected, the reason for the data gathering, insights expected, ensuring the accuracy of measurements, and establishing a standardized data collection system.

 

Ensure a Flexible and Responsive Ecosystem
The essence of Six Sigma is business transformation and change. When a faulty or inefficient process is removed, it calls for a change in the work practice and employee approach. A robust culture of flexibility and responsiveness to changes in procedures can ensure streamlined project implementation. The people and departments involved should adapt to change with ease, so to facilitate this, processes should be designed for quick and seamless adoption. Ultimately, the company that has an eye fixed on the data examines the bottom line periodically and adjusts its processes where necessary, and can gain a competitive edge.

Methodology
The two primary Six Sigma methodologies are DMAIC and DMADV. Each has its own set of recommended procedures to be implemented for business transformation.

DMAIC
It is a data-driven method used to improve existing products or services for better customer satisfaction. It is the acronym for the five phases: D – Define, M – Measure, A – Analyse, I – Improve, C – Control. DMAIC is applied in the manufacturing of a product or delivery of a service.

DMADV
It is part of the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) process used to design or redesign different product manufacturing processes or service delivery processes. The five phases of DMADV are: D – Define, M – Measure, A – Analyse, D – Design, V – Validate. DMADV is employed when existing processes do not meet customer conditions, even after optimization, or when it is required to develop new methods. It is executed by Six Sigma Green Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts and under the supervision of Six Sigma Master Black Belts. We’ll get to the belts later.

Your Path to Success
Irrespective of your current field, Six Sigma certification is a great way to enhance your career prospects and salary gains. Some of the world’s largest companies invest in Six Sigma certification because it offers a designed set of tools and techniques that help improve the processes within an organization. The primary goal of certification is to validate individuals who possess the skills needed to identify errors in a process and eliminate them. If significant, successful companies can profit from Six Sigma, so can you.

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