Six Sigma is one of the most important developments in the field of business improvement. It is also one of the most over-hyped and misunderstood initiatives, leading to confusion and controversy. Those studying or working in the area need to understand not only the mechanics of conducting Six Sigma projects, or even implementing the wider initiative. They must also grasp the underpinning principles and logic. This book looks at both the academic and practical aspects of Six Sigma to give a deeper and more subtle understanding of how and why it works, and the limitations of the approach.
Six Sigma is one of the most important and popular developments in the quality field. It has saved huge amounts of money and improved the customer experience for a large number of organizations across the world, yet it is applied in an inconsistent and often reductive fashion in many companies. This has led to criticism in the literature and a number of abandoned implementations. This study guide is designed to provide an overview of the key elements, important historical context and current debates in the field of Six Sigma. It aims to give a coherent view of the underlying principles, and how these relate to practical application in a range of organizations as well as to other areas of study. The broad Quality Management context, within which Six Sigma fits, will not be explored in this book in detail. More information on this can be found in the companion guide: “Quality Management in the 21st Century” also available at Bookboon.com.
The guide flows from principles and background to more detailed consideration of Six Sigma as both a business level initiative and project-based improvement methodology. Due to the complexity of many of the issues addressed, it is possible to write much more on any single topic but I have tried to cover most of the key points in order to provide a foundation and further literature linked from the text allows the reader to investigate any topic in more depth if they wish. Finally, at the end of each chapter there are a number of questions for you to develop your thinking in the area.
Background and History
Development of Quality Thinking
Six Sigma: The Next Evolution
Definition of Six Sigma
Why Six Sigma?
To Improve Financial Performance and Profitability
To be Responsive to, and Focused on, Customers
To Improve Product and Service Performance
Contributing to Organizational Learning
Six Sigma: Key Strategic Concepts
Six Sigma is Strategic
Six Sigma is About Customers
Six Sigma is About Variation
Six Sigma is About Process and Scientific Investigation
Six Sigma is About People and Learning Not Cost
Strategic Six Sigma
Vision, Mission and Values
Hoshin Kanri and Six Sigma
Customer Satisfaction and Customer Value
Special and Common Cause Variation
Processes and Scientific Investigation
Business Processes: The Reality
People and Organizational Learning
Key Six Sigma Roles
Belt System Issues
People and Change
Sustainable Six Sigma Deployment
Deployment Model: Kotter
Deployment Logic: System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK)
Steps 1 to 3: Envisioning the Transformation
Steps 4 to 7: Enacting the Transformation
Step 8: Institutionalise the New System
Six Sigma Projects: Key Concepts
Basic Statistical Concepts
Variation, the Normal Distribution, DPMO and Sigma Levels
The Scientific Method and the DMAIC Cycle
The Four Focuses of a Six Sigma Project
People and Change
The Define Stage
The Measure Stage
The Analyse Stage
The Improve Stage
The Control Stage
Customer Focus in DMAIC
What Does the Customer Value?
What is the Value Stream?
What Design/Process Elements Affect Customer requirements?