Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology which is mainly built on statistical tools. Any variation is always bad. If you’re running a manufacturing process, you need consistency & predictability. If you don’t have consistency, a certain percentage of the things that you make probably isn’t useful for your clients. Furthermore, if you have a process under control there’s a much better chance that the products you make are useful. Consistency in processes leads to a high-quality level for products.
The most important thing to understand about Six Sigma is that the goal is to have fewer defects and improved quality as a result of decreased process variation. The way to get there is by measuring processes & using mathematical tools to improve consistency.
These are the five steps to apply the Six Sigma as a process improvement methodology and these steps create the acronym DMAIC (pronounced “duh-may-ick”).
Design– define the problem & the ideal in terms of the target to achieve.
1) Define the Problem or Opportunity
2) Select a Project Leader
3) Select Team Members which includes Subject Matter Experts
4) Create a SMART Goal
5) Link to a KPI
6) Identify Stakeholders and perform Stakeholder Analysis.
7) Review the Project Charter & team with the project sponsor
7) Use a High-Level Process Map to define where the process begins & ends.
M) Measure– collect relevant data about the process and the problem.
1) Create a Measurement Plan.
2) Validate the Measurement System using Gage R&R.
3) Walk the Process.
4) Create a Current State Process Map or Value Stream Map
A) Analyze– analyze the process to identify the cause-effect relationship between inputs and outputs. Identify the vital few root causes.
1) Create a List of Waste, Sources of Variation and Overburdening
2) Perform Root Cause Analysis
3) Create a Hypothesis or theory for Input to Output Relationships, Y=f(x1, x2, …xn)
4) Clarify the Gap Between Current & Desired Performance
I) Improve– determine the optimum values for key contributing process inputs. Implementing a solution to eliminate the root causes.
Brainstorm Possible Improvements
2) Create an Improvement Plan
3) Implement the Process Improvements
4) Implement Mistake Proofing Devices
5) Validate the Changes that have had the Desired Effect
C) Control– establish standards and controls to sustain improvements in the long run.
1) Update Process Documentation
2) Train Operators & Leadership to the New Process
3) Validate the Process using Control Charts & Key Metrics
4) Establish Leadership Standard Work to Follow Up with the Operators
5) Document Project Savings
6) Create a Project Report Out if Required by Management Report
7) Out to Project Sponsor and Leadership
8) Reward and Recognize the Team
9) Share Best Practices with the Entire Organization.