Paloma Consulting is a provider of business improvement consultancy and training services. We use Six Sigma as one of our key methodologies to help organisations improve performance.
Six Sigma is a powerful and rigorous methodology which focuses in depth on a business problem, using data and statistical tools systematically to uncover root causes, improve processes and install sustainable solutions. It is regarded as a business philosophy that enables organisations to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction and retention.
The Six Sigma approach is project-based. A trained practitioner, sometimes called a Green Belt or Black Belt, uses the Six Sigma tools to solve a business problem. Training of belts is also practical and students learn the Six Sigma tools by applying them to a real problem in their work place. As training proceeds, candidates carry out a project and receive coaching leading to the successful completion of a project that provides a real benefit to the organisation and a significant return on investment.
The basic Six Sigma methodology consists of five phases: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. It is therefore called the DMAIC model.
The DMAIC model
In the define phase the customer needs are stated and the processes and products to be improved are identified. Projects are selected that align the organisations' strategic goals to their customer's needs.
The measure phase determines the baseline and target performance of the process, defines the input/output variables of the process, and validates the measurement systems.
In the analyse phase data is used to establish the statistical relationship between the key process input and outputs.
The improve phase includes statistical analysis to identify the improvements to optimise the outputs and eliminate or reduce defects and variation.
The control phase documents, monitors and assigns accountability for sustaining the gains made by process improvements.
Where products or processes need to be designed, the five phase DMAIC model is modified to Define, Measure, Analyse, Design and Verify (DMADV). Many of the same tools are still applied to produce robust processes and products that meet customer needs.
Increasingly, organisations are seeing the benefits of combining the tools of the Six Sigma methodology with Lean tools to solve business issues where improvements in both defect reduction and waste reduction are required.