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At SW, we place quality control at the forefront of our business operations. Our company is focused on customer satisfaction and ensuring that we have a credible reputation with our customers. They rely on us to reassure them our business operates at the level that consistently produces high quality materials and efficiently as well. In order to ensure that, our employees at SW are Six Sigma certified.
Six Sigma is a data driven, statistical method that businesses use to reduce procedural errors, improve quality assurance, and increase company profits. The name is derived from the statistical term, sigma. Sigma is a unit to describe the difference of standard deviation from the mean on a bell curve. The value of six sigma, three above and three below the mean, denotes a success rate of 99.9%. To give a more statistical context, that would be less than 3.4 errors in one million opportunities. This methodology originated from Motorola and was registered in 1991 when the company was looking to conduct quality control in their manufacturing business. General Electric (GE) later adopted it and centered their company policy around Six Sigma. In 1998 GE announced that they had saved over 350 billion dollars in using Six Sigma teachings.
Due to the success of GE, about two thirds of the Fortune 500 businesses in the 1990s had incorporated Six Sigma methodology in order to reduce costs and improve their own business’ quality control. In recent years, there has also been an extension to include lean manufacturing praxis with Six Sigma to form Lean Six Sigma values. Lean manufacturing is about optimizing the life cycle of waste in a manufacturing process. Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma methods have slightly different perspectives on quality control. Lean Six Sigma optimizes the production process and often eliminates unnecessary steps. While Six Sigma instead opts to maintain steps, including or even expanding into advanced statistical calculations to ensure product quality. However, the core concepts are similar.
The three main principles and disciplines are: a focus on achieving measurable, reproducible, and quantifiable financial returns, an emphasis on supportive management leadership, and a commitment to making decisions on the basis of verifiable and quantitative variables rather than assumptions and guesswork. There are two applications of Six Sigma depending on the project specifications, DMAIC is the process used for improving pre-existing business processes and DMADV is the process used for creating new business processes. They are both based on W Edwards Deming’s Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle and each contain five main steps.
This blog will expand a bit on how both applications are carried out. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. Define the system or the issue at hand. Measure and identify the variables that are critical to quality (CTQ), including baseline operations. Analyze the cause and effect of the determined variables while making sure to understand the relationships between each value. Improve or optimize the current procedures used. Lastly, control the future outcomes of the proposed procedures. This part would be where businesses implement control systems to account for statistical deviations from their desired outcomes.
DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify. The beginnings of both procedures are similar but DMADV requires innovation as it is tackling new or unknown circumstances. Instead, we would define the project’s goal or customer’s desired goal. Measure is the same, and we would still be measuring the CTQ variables. Analyze would be analyzing data to develop new alternative business processes to suit the project. Design would be to design an improved alternative system or procedure. Finally, verify the design and implement some pilot or test runs before determining a control system.
In order to be certified, our employees attended multiple courses and were required to pass examinations or complete personal projects. It showcases the problem solving capabilities of our staff as well as their initiative in using verifiable quantitative data to back up their arguments. Six Sigma certification also showcases our employees’ commitment to quality control and waste reduction in their daily job specifications. SW is focused on customer satisfaction, and we hold great trust in our employees’ capabilities in developing efficient processes to make sure we service our customers well.