Six Sigma For Small Businesses: DMAIC Explained

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Six Sigma is not just for large companies or Fortune 500 companies but for small to medium businesses and enterprises too. This essential business management strategy is increasingly important for enterprises to correct and improve their manufacturing processes to make their products flawless.

There are professionals thoroughly trained and certified as Six Sigma experts, of whom Peter Peterka deserves special mention as the President of Global Six Sigma. In his short articles for small businesses, Peter Peterka has asserted that even small to medium service-based companies can equally benefit from employing Six Sigma strategies. To cite an example, he has highlighted the importance of using standard deviation in Six Sigma. He says, “If you’re in logistics…you could use it to understand how many delivery drivers you should have.”

So the elements of Six Sigma are not confined to any particular service or product, nor any particular size of business. It can be used by any company for quality control, irrespective of size and nature. Six Sigma certified professionals use many tools and methods to ensure that the manufacturing processes adopted by enterprises are perfect, right from the beginning.

A few features of Six Sigma, that can make any SME flourish are –

  • Innovation is a must because greater the innovation, faster the growth.
  • Paying attention to human resources, management abilities, motivating the employees, etc. from the initial stage is important to make a business survive.
  • Constant improvement of the products, updating the features, keeping the products absolutely up to date are some important points all successful businesses take into consideration.
  • Extra attention must be paid while hiring employees. Skillful and trained employees are important to keep a business going.
  • Balancing the capabilities of the business operating in all the areas is yet another important factor that must be paid attention to.

Training the management to understand Six Sigma and DMAIC methodologies can take a company closer to success step by step. We first need to understand the concept of DMAIC to implement Six Sigma perfectly for small businesses to maintain the quality of the products or different projects from the very beginning. Let us now find out what DMAIC is all about…

  • Define – This is the first and the most important term which means you must first understand the issues or the motto of the project. If you define correctly then your measurement will be proper. A pilot project might help you in finding out the probable issues and the goal of the project will become more discernible to you. Define, requires a lot of brainstorming sessions and is the pillar on which the rest of the elements stand firmly as far as quality is concerned.
  • Measure – Now in this stage, the problems are quantified by looking at the performance of processing capabilities. In this stage, the expectation of the customers is also measured or understood. The team in this stage finds out how products can be tweaked to meet customer expectations. In a nutshell, the processing defects, costs, time, etc. are analyzed to optimize the factors.
  • Analyze – After measurement a detailed analysis is carried out. An analysis is done whether a problem is random, whether it can be rectified, etc. Datasheets, charts, fishbone diagrams, etc. are observed intently to eliminate the defects.
  • Improve – This is the stage of improvement to optimize the performance of the product. A plan is followed consisting of specified tasks, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. to ensure that the project continues smoothly.
  • Control – In the final stage results are observed to determine whether the product has lived up to the expectations or not. In this stage changes are made to validate the solutions, meaning, the chances of the recurrence of the problems are eliminated. Measurements in this stage are done from time to time say monthly or daily or weekly or annually. The documentation of the solution and processes are a must.

A company grows bigger only when it keeps its stakeholders, investors, customers, employees, vendors, etc. happy and satisfied. Quality programs can help businesses achieve what they want. Companies that are using Six Sigma tools and methods can witness drastic improvements by following DMAIC problem-solving methodology which is why this is an integral part of the Six Sigma technique.

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