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Misconceptions About Six Sigma

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Unlike many quality improvement initiatives, Six Sigma is a very structured problem solving methodology that can generate big impact to the bottom line of business if it’s being applied correctly. The scientific approach and process orientated characteristics of Six Sigma are proven to drive business transformation for continuous improvement. Yet many organizations are reluctant to start a Six Sigma program or even fail during the implementation phase because of common fear they have in mind about Six Sigma. Below three is the most common misunderstanding about Six Sigma that I would like to share with everyone :

  • Six Sigma only bots well in manufacturing industry. Manufacturing industry normally has more solid activity data and undeniably gives an advantage for running a Six Sigma project. However there are relatively more waste associated with hidden, redundant and virtual processes found in the servicing line and there are more opportunities for improvement. Applying Six Sigma would help to identify and eliminate the waste in service processes and therefore give better business performance. It actually magnifies the significance and benefits of Six Sigma.
  • Six Sigma is costly to implement. It is indeed ‘expensive’ to implement Six Sigma because investment is required in setting the structure & organization of Six Sigma and training & developing the people. But bear in mind that without doing it, the cost of poor quality from process waste is even greater and it will become an endless lost to a company. It’s basically a choice between “pain now, easy later” or “easy now,pain later”. If you can really prove to your top management the return of investment in Six Sigma, you will gain the commitment and continuous support from them for the deployment.
  • Six Sigma is all about applying statistical techniques. History shows that companies who master the hard knowledge of Six Sigma such as advance statistics, analytical software etc. Do not necessarily achieve a sustainable result. The main reason being is they are lack of the soft skills, i.e. the development of people and philosophy within the organization. Giant corporations like G.E. or Motorola have spent a great amount of time and costin training and development of their people before they launch the Six Sigma project in full speed. Without a strong foundation of people, any improvement program won’t last because it’s not followed and inherited in day-to-day practices.
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