Article No. 1
SIX SIGMA CONSULTING
Six Sigma Consulting is the act of providing consultancy in the field of Six Sigma Quality Management System. Companies today, like to differentiate themselves from their run of the mill contemporaries and this prompts them to obtain this quality certification. Another reason for companies embracing this concept is the cost reduction that it leads to, in the company’s designs, processes, functions and services. Six Sigma Management system is a disciplined, fact based approach to managing a company’s businesses and its processes.
Six sigma, six sigma consulting, cost reduction,
Six Sigma Consulting is the act of providing consultancy in the field of Six Sigma Quality Management System. Companies today, like to differentiate themselves from their run of the mill contemporaries and this prompts them to take up this quality certification. Another reason for companies embracing this concept is the cost reduction that it leads to in the company’s designs, processes, functions and services. Six-Sigma Management system is a disciplined, fact based approach to managing a company’s businesses and its processes
The basic improvement methodology of six-sigma comprises of the following steps:
Define tells us to define the current products/services/systems, so that we can
Measure the current performance of these products/services against customer expectations. So that one can
Analyze the root cause of any defects that may arise in the product/service, and one can
Improve the same so that one can
Control the quality of the product/service. This is also called the DMAIC methodology.
We also have the DFSS methodology. This methodology comprises of the following stages, namely:
The DFSS methodology speaks about redesigning the processes, products/services, to rid them of the defects. It would not be useful if one just replaces the old processes where improvement is required.
Six sigma consulting DMAIC methodology can be illustrated with an example from the construction industry. In the construction industry, invariably, concrete is used as a primary construction material. Either the concrete is produced at site or it may be from a Ready Mix Concrete Plant. There is an attempt made to explain the first six-sigma methodology as applied to the construction industry.
Defining the current process is nothing but laying down the process in which concrete is produced at site, using machine-mixing methodology. This concrete will be said to be of good quality only if it can be measured against the set benchmark of 30% strength gain at the end of 3 days after casting. Here we are measuring the actual strength of the concrete produced at site
with the benchmark of 30% strength gain at the end of 3 days. In case of more than 5% of the samples of concrete taken, deviate from the benchmark then the concrete is said to be of inferior quality. We do this by taking cubes of the concrete produced in the mixer We analyze the reasons for the variation from the benchmark. In addition, the standard deviation of the actual value of strength from the benchmark value is calculated. If this standard deviation or variation as we call it, is having a large absolute value then the concrete is to be of bad quality. A large variation will lead one to improve on the quality of machine mixed concrete produced. In this way, we are controlling the quality of concrete produced.
Here the customer expectation is that the quality of concrete that is produced match with the values of strength gain given in the IS codes for quality construction. Our endeavor is to follow the six-sigma methodology to accomplish it. The above process goes on until we reach our goal of producing good quality concrete. Here the problem is producing good quality concrete. The process is as elaborated above. We measure how many cubes of concrete meet the criteria laid down in the IS code for good quality construction. This is an iterative process until we obtain concrete of good quality, at optimum cost and in the optimum time.
There are three groups of people involved in the above process of ensuring quality concrete. They are the stakeholders, who are the end users of the apartments built by the builders. The builders are the champions of six-sigma and the people who are directly involved with implementing six-sigma are the black belts and the green belts.
The Champions promote awareness and execution of six-sigma within the various lines of business and/or functions. They identify potential six-sigma projects to be executed by the green belts and the black belts. The Champions also support the Green Belts and Black Belts. The Champions also participate in 2-3 days of workshop training.
The Black Belts use six-sigma methodologies and tools to execute business improvement projects. They are dedicated full time to the cause of six-sigma. The Black Belts serve as six-sigma knowledge leaders within the business units. They undergo 5 weeks of training over 5-10 months.
The Green Belts use the DMAIC methodology and basic tools to execute improvements within their existing job functions. They further bring the knowledge of six-sigma concepts and tools to their respective job functions.
The other people involved in this whole procedure are the Subject Matter experts, who in our construction industry are the various consultants who lay down the standards which should be met by the product(concrete in this case). The Subject Matter experts provide specific process knowledge to the six-sigma teams, and adhoc members of the project teams.
Finally, we have the Financial Controllers, who ensure the validity and reliability of the financial figures used by the six-sigma project teams, and assist in the developments of financial components of initial business case and final cost-benefit analysis. In our case of concrete manufacturing, they assess the cost of producing good quality concrete vis-à-vis the cost benefits enjoyed by the company in producing good concrete.