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Six Sigma Implementation: Main Goal & Plan

Instructor: James Kuhn

Jim has taught adults for more than 20 years and has a Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

Organizations of every size, function, and location have to seek ways to stay sharp with their processes and procedures. This lesson will describe how a proper six sigma implementation, with solid goals, can help to improve any organization.

Main Goals of Six Sigma

Six Sigma Goals
6SigGoals

Every organization that seeks to implement Six Sigma, or any improvement program, should have a firm idea of what it expects to gain from the initiative. Rather than a vague thought, such as 'we want to get better,' project leadership needs to establish concrete and measurable goals that can be anticipated from implementing any improvement strategy, including Six Sigma.

The main goals of Six Sigma need to incorporate these specific expected outcomes for the program, and typically fall within the following three key areas:

  • Quality
  • Variability
  • Productivity

Quality

Quality is a natural primary goal for virtually every Six Sigma campaign. Without attacking quality issues in any process, all other improvement efforts will certainly come up short. Them main quality-related areas of focus for typical Six Sigma projects include error/defect reduction (or error proofing) and reducing the waste involved in producing a product or service. Using a defined methodology and statistical tools, the project team will seek to identify and eliminate the causes of defects in a given process. In doing so, the goal is to improve the end product of the process with as few defects as possible. Secondary objectives associated with quality goals include increases in customer satisfaction and increased profitability (due to reduced waste and rework from errors).

Variability

Variability in this context refers to the variance between the designed standard and actual output of a product or service. Imagine a bull's-eye, and think about arrow shots that hit the target, but miss the center ring. Often, out of specification outputs are not acceptable to the end user/client and are rejected, causing excessive waste, reduced profits, and increased costs. Variability can come from common causes (steady, random fluctuation) or special causes (one-time, non-random fluctuation). The goal of Six Sigma is to reduce variability, resulting in stable processes that produce a consistent output.

Productivity

Increasing productivity is a very common goal for many Six Sigma implementations. Even nominal improvements in the efficiency of a process can result in significant benefits for the organization. Six Sigma projects typically focus on reducing cycle time (the time it takes to complete one process to produce an output), such as a bank teller handling a single client. The faster the cycle time, the more cycles (clients) can be processed in a single shift. Other areas of improvement include reducing steps in a process that are duplicative or don't add value. Streamlining the processes helps to increase cycle time and reduce wasted time, thereby increasing the overall productivity of the process.

Six Sigma Implementation Plan

Six Sigma implementation can differ widely between organizations, depending on their individual goals and operational strategies. However, all Six Sigma implementations must focus on three main areas in order to be successful:

  • Leadership
  • Scope
  • Infrastructure

Leadership

Leadership of the organization's Six Sigma initiative is of critical importance. Since you'll likely be changing the status quo of existing workflows, you will need the support of company leadership. This ensures that you have been empowered with the authority to implement the necessary changes that will bring about improvement in the organization. In addition, program leadership will help to determine areas of priority for improvement efforts and help to resolve any challenges, roadblocks, or barriers to implementation. In short, leadership is your Six Sigma champion!

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