Six Sigma is a collection of tools and techniques that are focused on eliminating defects in a product, process or a service.
It is a disciplined and data-driven approach. It was developed by Motorola based on the fundamentals of quality management. The six sigma process includes many activities like measurement, improvement, and validation. It emphasizes the relationship between the performance of the product and the corrections that are required during the manufacturing of the product.
Six Sigma projects are used to measure the cost of improving the processes that are producing substandard products or services. Whether in service or manufacturing industries, these projects quantify the effect of process changes on delays or rework. The aim of each Six Sigma project is to produce statistically significant enhancements in a particular process. These projects use suitable tools within the Six Sigma approach to producing financial benefit and improved performance of processes or services.
The purpose of a Six Sigma Project:
As the cost of material is rising and the competition is increasing day-by-day, organizations look for techniques that are capable of increasing the efficiency of their projects. Six Sigma projects focus on improving the efficiency of the organizations. By implementing the Six Sigma methodology, an organization can enhance the efficiency of their products, processes or services through identification and resolution of product or defects that might affect the organization and minimize the variation within the process. Every Six Sigma project follows a defined series of steps which include specific targets for improvement. Few examples include:
● Reduction in the process cycle time
● Reduction of scrap generated by a process
● Increasing customer satisfaction
● Reduction in the number of factory defects
● Reduction or elimination of costly reworks
The scope of a Six Sigma Project:
Project scope is a part of the Define phase in the DMAIC process and is included in the Project Charter. A project scope describes the limitations of a project. It keeps the team in alignment, on purpose, contained, focused, and motivated. The project scope might include:
● Beginning time and end time of the project
● Duration of the project
● Process boundaries of the project i.e what is within the scope and what is outside the scope.
● Sub-processes involved in the project
● Product lines of the project
● Locations involving the divisions, states, territories, and countries.
The most important component of the project scope is addressing the beginning and the end of the project. This is often outlined in the SIPOC diagram.
Importance of defining the scope of a project:
● The project scope explains what the project involves so that all stakeholders can understand what is involved
● It provides a roadmap to the managers in order to assign various tasks and schedule work and budget appropriately
● It helps the team members to focus on common objectives
● It prevents complex projects from extending beyond the fixed vision
How to define the scope of the project:
The criteria under which the scope of the project is defined is:
1. Deliverables: The end project delivered to the user and the deliverables generated by the project itself. These are called internal and external deliverables.
2. Data and functionality: Licensing agreements, payment processes, and customer management.
3. Technical structure: The focus of the project on infrastructure.
The value of a Six Sigma Project:
The value of a six sigma project is defined as the business case of a project. It is a document that uses the problem and goal statements of a project and converts them into a business value statement. There are five different cases:
● Strategic case – It is a compelling case for change that suits the strategic goals of the organization.
● Economic case – It is the solution that represents the best value for the problem.
● Commercial case – It is the recommended solution that is attractive to the market and can be obtained using suitable terms so it is commercially feasible.
● Financial case – It is the proposed financial investment that is affordable.
● Management case – It is the input required from all individuals involved in the project.
The steps to write a business case for a project:
The steps to write a business case are as follows:
1. Research the competition, market and any other alternatives for a project.
2. Compare it with the other approaches and finalize it.
3. Compile the final data and
In addition to the above metrics, six sigma projects have seven different responsibilities. These are:
1. Leadership: The team defines the goals and the objectives in a six sigma process.
2. Sponsors: They are the individuals who understand what six sigma is and are dedicated to its successful implementation. They solve problems which might occur during the process.
3. Implementation Leader: These are the individuals who are responsible for supervising the team effort. They support the leadership team by ensuring the timely completion of the processes.
4. Coach: An individual who is an expert or consultant in Six Sigma who sets a schedule for the team and resolves any conflicts among them.
5. Team Leader: The person responsible for managing the team. They also act as a medium of communication between the sponsor and the members of the team.
6. Team Member: The individuals who work on a six sigma project. They have specific roles and work collectively with other team members.
7. Process Owner: The person who is responsible for the management and monitoring of various processes after the team has completed their work.
Six Sigma methodology focuses on a better understanding of what the customer requirements are and how the quality of the products delivered can be improved. It concentrates on waste reduction and cost reduction.