Manufacturing companies in America were facing heavy competition from the Japanese in the late 70s and 80s. Though their products were good, their costs were high due to high operational costs. This means that the spent too much of money on making their products within the factory, and to deliver it to their customers. The Japanese on the other hand, had used methodologies in production that greatly reduced their costs. Thus, they were able to provide people with high quality products at half the price of what American companies were charging.
This made companies all over the world realise the importance of operational efficiency. Supply Chain efficiency has never had so much importance before. Companies all over the world are trying their level best to adopt tools and methodologies that will help them gain the best level of operational efficiency.
A very powerful tool in this aspect is Six Sigma. Manufacturing companies, sometimes end up producing defective products. For example, a camera with a broken film or which doesn’t capture the colours of objects correctly. These defects could also be related to quality standards. Producing such damaged goods create huge losses for the company.
With the use of Six Sigma methods, a company can reduce the number of defects and can increase the efficiency of the production to a whopping 99.99996% This means that instead of having defective products every batch of 1000-10000 products, the number of defects can be brought down to 3 defects per million products produced. To achieve this, Six Sigma comprises of a series of steps to follow. If companies follow these methods carefully and to the T, they will be able to achieve this level of efficiency.
Six Sigma is implemented in a company with the help of Six Sigma consultants. There are many levels to achieve mastery in Six Sigma, and each level comprises of training and projects. When you achieve excellence at these projects, you are sent to the next level. Usually, a master black belt manages all the six sigma projects and gives his trainees guidance and help.
These days, Six Sigma methods which were originally used for manufacturing industries are now also being implemented in services. A defect is now being defined as any characteristic in the product or service, which displeases the client, or doesn’t comply with standards. This has given huge efficiency levels and has helped companies raise their efficiency greatly. Thus, we can now get quality products at much lower prices, with excellent services.
We can also apply Six sigma to our life. It will help us reduce the number of mistakes we make. We usually make mistakes due to carelessness and erroneous judgement. Using the six Sigma method of fish bone analysis will help us identify the root cause of our problems by careful analysis, and reach the root cause. By reducing the activities that waste our time, such as useless ranting, or being aimless, we can achieve higher productivity in our personal as well as professional lives. There are many other ways in which we can apply the concepts of Six Sigma and achieve excellence.
By: Anindita Chatterjee