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How are you Levering Six Sigma in Small Business?

written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource Dr. Dwayne D. Jakes

Small Businesses face the same challenges and expectations as large corporations in providing continuous process improvements to their clients. Total Quality Management (TQM), Total Quality Management can be described as managing the business so that it excels on all dimensions of products and services that are important to the client. It has two objectives: 1. Careful design of the product and service. 2. Ensuring that the business systems can consistently produce the design.

Many organizations prefer levering Six Sigma as their continuous process improvement tools. What is Six Sigma? Six Sigma is a highly disciplined process that helps organizations focus on developing and delivering near perfect products and services. The word is a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection. To achieve Six Sigma Quality a process must produce no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO).

At its core Six Sigma centers on these key concepts.

• Critical to Quality: Very important to clients.

• Defect: Failure to deliver quality to the client.

• Process Capability: Defines what your processes can deliver

• Variation: What the client review and touch

• Stability: Consistent, predictable processes that the client reviews and touch

There are two aspects to Six Sigma programs, the people and the methodology sides. The standard approach to Six Sigma projects is the DMAIC methodology developed by General Electric. Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. The analytical tools use in Six Sigma has been used for many years in traditional quality improvement programs. The tools common to all quality efforts, including Six Sigma are flow charts run charts, pareto charts, check sheets, cause and effect-diagrams, and control charts.

At Dwayne D. Jakes & Associates Management Systems, LLC, http:www.ddjakes.com; we have designed and implemented many TQM and Quality Circle Programs to improve our client’s strategy, leadership, quality, productivity, and compliance issues. We trained Managers and Supervisors in the use of the seven quality circle statistical tools: Pareto Analysis, Flow Chart, Check Sheet, Histogram, Scatter Diagram, Statistical Process Control Chart, Cause and effect Diagrams. The positive effects of the use of these processes were to reduce inventory, improve quality, lower cost, reduce space requirements, increase capacity, and increase productivity and to simplify scheduling and control activities. Each of these statistical processes is directly tied to the use of Six Sigma principles implemented by many organizations today.

Six Sigma Roles and Responsibilities

• C-Level Executives committed to Six Sigma who market it throughout the business, and champions , who take ownership of the processes that are to be improved

• Organization wide training in Six Sigma concepts and tools: There are three levels of certification measurement in Six Sigma; black belts, who coach or actually lead a Six Sigma improvement team; master black belts, who receive in-depth training on statistical tools and process improvement; and green belts; who are employees who have received enough Six Sigma training to participate in a team.

• Setting of stretch objectives for improvement

• Continuous reinforcement and rewards

Dr. Jakes is Area Chair, Management, Organizational Development and Behavior, School of Business, University of Phoenix.

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