Six Sigma Defined

By Priya Jestin, Staff Writer

We’ve probably gone so much into the intricacies of the process that we have probably forgotten to ask ourselves a very pertinent question: What Is Six Sigma? For those who came in late, here is a small orientation course on the management mantra that has taken the corporate world by storm.

The corporate environment today is highly charged and you have absolutely no room for error. Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps us focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.

So what’s in the name? The word Sigma is a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. The basic idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure the number of “defects” in a process, you can systematically figure out how to eliminate them. This will help you get as close to “zero defects” as possible. To achieve Six Sigma Quality, a process must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. An “opportunity” is defined as a chance for nonconformance, or not meeting the required specifications.

Small Business, Big Gains

By Priya Jestin, Staff Writer

If you are one of those who thought that Six Sigma was only for large corporations, you’re not alone. Many people believe that Six Sigma process improvement results can only be achieved by huge organizations. What they don’t realize is that small businesses too can succeed in implementing Six Sigma and reap the process improvement benefits of this approach.

Agreed, the implementation and results may vary depending on the size of your organization. For instance a small business doesn’t have access to a large pool or resources like a big business firm. At the same time, the very nature of its business – small in size – will ensure that the process flows are flexible, and the decision-making chain is shorter.

Another thing a small business cannot do is, undertake massive training programs for its employees. They also cannot afford to have full-time Master Black Belts on staff and may not have the personnel with the skills and expertise to step into the role of Black Belts without extensive training. In such a scenario, you can get a certified Six Sigma consultant to act as your Black Belt for the initial projects. Once you have generated enough savings, you can use some of this amount to train your own people. Financially, savings realized from the first set of projects usually justifies the entire cost of the Six Sigma training.

What Is Six Sigma?

One cannot continue to write about how to achieve perfection without understand the notion of perfection. The same theory applies for the Six Sigma method. Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. So what exactly is Six Sigma? It can be called a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any process. This means a firm using the Six Sigma approach, methodically tries to correct all defects from the manufacturing to the transactional process and from product to service.

If we go as per the definition, to achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. A Six Sigma defect is defined as anything outside of customer specifications. A Six Sigma opportunity is then the total quantity of chances for a defect. Process sigma can easily be calculated using a Six Sigma calculator. reports:

The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects. This is accomplished through the use of two Six Sigma sub-methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV.

Read more: Six Sigma – What is Six Sigma?

Creating A Connect Between Sales And Marketing

By Priya Jestin, Staff Writer

Even a rookie in the sales and marketing industry understands the co-relation between sales and marketing and how the quality of collaboration between sales and marketing directly impacts a company’s return on investment. And yet, there is a lot of hush-hush work that goes on in the sales process. In most organizations, only the sales team is privy to the actual creaking of the wheels that occur before a proposal or a sale happens.

And what’s worse? Most of these meetings are so private; very few people ever get to know what happens during the process. This means the marketing team has it doubly difficult. They are forced gauge the market and measure their revenue contribution, and lead generation ROI without any idea of why the sales team has decided to opt a certain method of operation. This leads to quite a bit of lost revenue for the firm.

The easiest way to rectify this problem is through process mapping. This technique helps create a common vision and shared language for improving business results. Next time, we’ll see how we can use the six sigma way to improve the communication flow between the two departments.