Introduction to Six Sigma

Introduction to Six Sigma is necessary as Six Sigma is seen only as a continuous improvement method. However Six sigma has many faces. It is originally developed as a Quality management program in Motorola in the 1980s; Adopted with a zeal by GE in mid 90s; Being used effectively all over the world now. The goal of six sigma is to achieve continual improvement. The term Six Sigma is used in many contexts with an aim of Continual Improvement. Some of them are listed below.
Six Sigma is used as a Management Philosophy focused on business process improvements to:

  • Eliminate waste, rework, and mistakes
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Increase profitability and competitiveness
  • Statistical measure to objectively evaluate processes.

Six Sigma is used as a business strategy by concentration on Quality and defect reduction resulting in increase profitability and competitiveness. Fewer defects will lead to increased reliability and brand popularity.
Six Sigma is used as a metric to define the Quality of the output and ability of production process to produce defect free output.  
Six Sigma Is a Method for Continual Improvement. This is the most popular use of this word. A six sigma project has a defined method of an improvement project. These are DMAIC and DFSS.
Six Sigma is a Benchmark or a Goal to achieve the highest standard of productivity. A Six Sigma Quality is equal to less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. This is the Vision for most of the organizations to make sure they deliver high quality to the customers.
Six Sigma is a Statistical Measurement to define the process Capability based on Standard deviation. For any normal distribution, the process capability is equal to six Standard Deviations.
Six Sigma is used in many other contexts which are most relevant and make sure customer satisfaction.
An organization can easily tell the customer about its quality by using the term six sigma.

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Prioritizing Generated ideas using Project Prioritization Matrix

Previously we have discussed various ideas which can be considered for a Continual Improvement Project. Once all the ideas are identified, you need to rank these ideas. A total value for each project is calculated and plotted against an ease of completion number to decide which projects have the most value for the effort expended. The tool used to complete this technique is called as project prioritization matrix

Why Prioritization

  • Prioritization will keep your focus on the high impact improvements. it is always advisable to keep the focus while attempting the improvements. Additional benefits include greater visibility and acceptance from the stakeholders. A carefully selected project can be a game changer with respect to the perception on the Continual Improvement in any organization.
  • Prioritization helps you to rank potential projects by both their weighted benefits and their relative ease of completion.
  • It also helps in reorder the ranking of projects if the weighting of the company’s strategic goals changes (such as, the last Quarter there will be very high focus on the Revenue and targets.)

How to prioritize ideas 

  • Identify a list of project selection criteria (For example Revenue, Cost, inventory customer satisfaction, etc)
  • Develop a list of potential projects and enter in the left column of the table
  • Assign weightage to the criteria on top of the list. A weightage can be given based on the impact like 0- No Impact, 1- Low Impact, 3- Medium Impact and 5 – High Impact).
  • Using a team, develop a score for the criteria.
  • You will get the Priority Number based on Multiplication of these two.
  • You can order them according to the priority Number
  • After a project prioritization matrix is created, you can easily update it by adding new potential projects and changing the weighting of the project values to reflect changes in organizational priorities.
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