How Manufacturers Put Six Sigma Into Practice

In case you missed it, we recently explored all things Six Sigma, including what it is and how it can benefit your business. But that brings us to the question: how exactly can you put it into practice?

Here, The Manufacturing Institute’s Six Sigma Practitioner, Eunice Cinnamon, highlights  how Six Sigma works in the real world. Read on to gain the insights.

Busting myths

First, let’s bust an urban myth: Six Sigma isn’t a black art or a complex process. It’s split into two halves: structured data-driven decision making, and problem solving. Six Sigma uses the DMAIC framework, which is very meticulous and robust, but has actually been proven to simplify the problem – time and time again.

Often, I’ve found people join the course and state they’ve already identified the issue at hand, and that they only signed up because they had to. However, there’s a distinction between observed and real difference. When you look at the data, you can cut through emotion and perceptions and view things from a factual stance. You can get to the actual root cause of a problem.

Applying the framework

What people find valuable about DMAIC is that it’s not about jumping to a solution; it depends on principle. A tiny problem at the beginning of a process can snowball. But complex issues can fall away if you tackle them in a slow and simple manner, and these are things that wouldn’t be on the radar otherwise. 

Ultimately, it’s about unravelling issues to make them more manageable, and encouraging proactive problem solving rather than firefighting. Let’s take the example of a pharmaceutical company. They initially faced a complex challenge, but through the DMAIC framework, they discovered it lay in a much simpler part of the process.

Taking the logical approach

Six Sigma promotes non-monetary conversations and helps to prioritise actions – a valuable trait, as it gives you confidence that you’re doing the right thing. You can create a useful roadmap, and employ a logical approach to problem solving and data-driven decision making, instead of a numerical one.

Not only that, you’ll be able to look at the same data you’ve seen previously, but this time use it correctly. Facts will enable better understanding and identification of real problems.

Putting Six Sigma into practice

Many of our clients have benefited from using Six Sigma, whether it’s being able to understand data in a different way and question its validity, or taking the emotion out of decision making. The structured approach has also enabled them to make improvements from downtime, to throughput, to quality.

People like DMAIC because it’s a very literary process. It’s also flexible, and can support different projects. The tools gained help clients take a step back from the situation and actually make sense of the problem. And, if utilised properly, it can be applied equally as well in other areas, meaning you don’t need to be part of the manufacturing industry to experience the benefits.

Training from The Manufacturing Institute

All Six Sigma courses are different – and that’s the feedback we’ve received from ours. Some manufacturers sign up having completed other training, which, although was a lower cost, wasn’t as in depth and so not really value for money. As a result, people do the wrong analysis and make the wrong decisions or investments.

The Manufacturing Institute’s Six Sigma training is at the quality end of the market. It’s incredibly well received and has triggered excellent feedback. To benefit from our courses, view the available Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt programmes. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

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