What is Six Sigma and How Can it Boost Your Business?

Six Sigma is a popular buzzword that you have probably heard, especially if you are a business owner. If, like many people, you are unsure of Six Sigma but are still interested in what it can do for you, we’re going to explore the concepts and how you can implement them into your business. 


Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a business methodology that was created by Bill Smith in the 1980s.Today, it is the main business methodology of thousands of businesses and a Six Sigma Certification is in high demand. The name Six Sigma comes from a statistical term. In manufacturing, a very high production level vs. defects is 3.4 defects per million. As such, Six Sigma works by continually improving business processes until the waste and defect population becomes almost none.

The continual improvement process works in different phases. First, a business hoping to become Six Sigma measures their current processes. The critical processes – or, steps in the business cycle at which the entire process could fail – are then identified and measured to ensure they are capable. Next, the company isolates those critical steps to see how and where they affect the business. For example, if you’re a bike manufacturer, one of your critical processes would be tire production. If you have no tires, you have no bikes. In isolation, the tire production phase affects the frame production, the fork production, and slows down the final assembly, if it is not executed properly.

After identifying and isolating processes, a Six Sigma professional would then improve upon the process. For our tire example, the question becomes: would using a different tire material help reduce defects and faulty tires? Could we improve the pressurized air we are using to fill up tires? Should we revamp our training processes? These questions would then be tested to measure their potential improvements on the process. After the business has settled on the best solutions, they move on to implementing them on a large scale.

Finally, the business is able to control their improvements by measuring the outcomes and recording data.The company should constantly be monitoring their improvements and other processes to check for lack of improvements or detrimental slowdowns in their process. If the company finds one, the MAIC (Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process starts again.

How is Six Sigma different from other methodologies? One of the best things about Six Sigma is its ability to be measured – by focusing on reducing mistakes and defects to an acceptable level. In addition, the cyclical nature of MAIC means that your business processes are constantly improving. As technology and your industry evolves, your company will evolve with it. 

Making It Work for You

If you’re looking to implement Six Sigma into your business, one of the best things you can do is get a certification. Two-thirds of businesses now use Six Sigma methodology to improve their processes, and many of them have implemented certification-holding individuals to make it happen. Six Sigma Champions, as certified individuals are called, are those who manage implementation, so getting this certification for yourself is also a great choice.

Plenty of organizations offer Lean Six Sigma certification, but it’s important to make sure they are well-respected and accredited first. Find an organization that has good reviews and is registered with the Six Sigma council. Remember that a Six Sigma certification costs a substantial amount of money, so be sure that the organization you are turning to for your training is trustworthy. 

If you want to reduce defects and improve your business processes, Six Sigma may be the methodology for you. Research the available certifications today and see if your business would benefit from Six Sigma.