Whether you’re a large company or a small business, those who have implemented Six Sigma methodologies and tools have seen an improvement in the company staff’s work-life balance, which has turned into a rise in employee loyalty.
Importance of Work-Life Balance
When a good work-life balance is cultivated, this keeps stress levels down. Chronic stress among staff members is one of the leading causes of other major health issues. These health issues can range from aches and pains to hypertension.
Preventing burnout is another important reason for maintaining work-life balance, whether you are a company owner or an employee. As an employee, when you experience burnout, this causes mood swings, fatigue, and decreased performance at work. The employer experiences a rise in healthcare spending because of the side effects of burnout.
According to Harvard Business Review, the psychological and physical consequences of burnout in employees costs an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare.
Six Sigma: What Is It and How Can It Help?
Six Sigma is a data-based methodology that with the use of specific tools, can eliminate defects in work processes and make those processes more effective and efficient.
DMAIC: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control. This template is used for improving existing processes.
DMADV: Define-Measure-Analyze-Define-Verify. This template is used for entirely new processes that have to be created because of a new product or service not available before.
Implementing Six Sigma will:
Improve time management, which will result in a more efficient business and productive staff.
Increase customer loyalty. Since VOC (Voice of Customer) tool is used, the customer is getting what they require in a product or service, thus customer loyalty will rise.
Increase employee motivation. Using the Six Sigma principle of teamwork that resides at its core, employee motivation will definitely increase, which will also help achieve work-life balance.
For more information on our Lean Six Sigma courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.
Quantitative surveys are a short, relatively easy way to find out specific information. These surveys have the primary goal to quantify something so that a numeric or statistical value can be obtained. The questions are to be short, concise and specific. Sometimes these questions work together in that the question would either rule out or build on the previous question.
In the world of Six Sigma, VOC or Voice of Customer surveys given at the right time are worth its weight in gold. These VOC surveys will give you insights into how your company is doing, and is your company doing right according to your customers.
The questions have to be short and as specific as possible
The answers to pick from should have a range of either numbers or a strongly agree through strongly disagree.
Target your audience correctly to your goal.
Six Sigma methodologies rely on accurate data, and Voice of Customer data is the reason you are in business. It is crucial that you keep tabs on how your business is doing according to your customers.
For example, if you have a variable you want to quantify, the most important detail to remember is to target your audience. Let’s say you have a restaurant and you’ve noticed that sales have dropped off on Sunday nights, and those were your busiest nights at the restaurant.
Your target audiences would be families and millennials. Studies show that millennial consumers (those born between 1981 to 1996) have the greatest spending potential next to baby boomers. The millennial knows a good value and does the research, so they will seek out honest reviews.
What do customers look for?
Value for money
As is noted, the target audience as well as how the questions are designed and the specificity of the quantitative survey is a great way to get the statistical information you need for your business.
For more information on our Lean Six Sigma training courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.
As many of those involved in Six Sigma have noticed, Six Sigma is very progressive and has kept up with the times. There is a traditional base to the methodology, but with the use of technology, it stays relevant with modern business practices. This takes education and exercising those Six Sigma muscles! The best way to do that is continuous Six Sigma training and connecting with a network of fellow Six Sigma advocates.
If you have never been involved with Six Sigma, a great beginner program is our Six Sigma White Belt training. This Six Sigma coursework will give you a heads up on the fundamentals of Six Sigma; understanding these fundamentals will give you the competitive edge. We, of course, suggest that you keep going, but even if you decide differently the fundamentals are the base template for every success story relating to Six Sigma.
Our Six Sigma White Belt training coursework is also short and perfect for the busy individual. This course only requires 6-8 hours of training time. This course will set you up with a strong foundation on the subject matter so that later you can build on that base.
You will also acquire a strong clear understanding of both Six Sigma and Lean methodologies and tools. When used together, these are most effective; we know them as Lean Six Sigma.
You will understand how important it is to eliminate waste and variances and why it affects many businesses in a tragic way — usually, businesses find out when it is too late.
We offer a self-paced option for our White Belt coursework for online users. However, we recommend going to one of our locations near you, since our locations offer the community and network of people that creates and keeps motivation among our students and alums. The online option is a great learning opportunity for those who are very busy.
For more information on our other Six Sigma training certification courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.
Spreading the Six Sigma philosophy comes second nature to 6sigma.us CEO and founder Peter Peterka, who was recently interviewed for Vonigo’s blog on how service companies can improve the customer experience in 2019. Vonigo is a business management software that helps service companies manage their business, offering everything from online booking to sales management tools.
Service companies can borrow strategies from major companies like eBay to improve their customer’s experience. It only takes one time for something to go wrong. If the customer experience is handled poorly, it can put that customer’s loyalty in jeopardy. Peter discusses tools like Kaizen and the VOC (Voice of Customer) that can help make a difference in improving the customer’s experience.
Believe it or not, using Google analytics with Six Sigma methodologies can make your business even more powerful. Since Six Sigma is a data-driven practice, Google Analytics can give you powerful data that you need to make your business grow at a rapid speed.
Just plain data for data sake is meaningless unless you know what to do with it, and Six Sigma does that. The beauty of GA (Google analytics) is that you can collect all sorts of data, and the beauty of Six Sigma is its simplicity. We all know Six Sigma works, so if you take the tried and true method coupled with accurate data, it is a sure win.
For example, let’s say you want to sell a particular product on your website. You will want to use GA to see how the traffic to your site is generated. What are your potential customers looking at when they visit your site? This is built-in VOC, Voice of the Customer. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Watch the traffic in your site’s data, and see what your potential customers are liking by how long they stay on one page.
With this kind of information, you can advertise online more effectively because you can target any audience in any part of the world. This is one of the benefits of Google analytics and its diverse platforms.
Six Sigma is a data-driven and customer-focused methodology, Google analytics is the customer-driven data that is needed. Together, this is the superpower that could turn your small online business into a force to be reckoned with.
The code that Google uses can give you specific data that would normally be deemed impossible to obtain. For example, your particular product might not be a hit in the United States, but people in Europe love it. This is the type of information that can be generated through Google Analytics.
For more information on our Six Sigma training courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.
When designing a new product, you might get caught up in the excitement of the possibilities of the success of the product, so much so that using the Six Sigma template for Design for Manufacturing (DFM) might not have caught your eye.
Yet, it should be the very first place you go before you start this journey. There are many inventors and entrepreneurs on sites such as Indiegogo who had their great ideas go south due to lack of diligence. Maybe if they had used the methodologies of DFM, they could have had a better result.
So in the spirit of helping others, we thought that a review of some basic rules of DFM is necessary.
The Rules for Design for Manufacturing (DFM)
Make sure your product uses components. Components can easily be taken apart for inspection, or to assemble. If you happen to have an “after-thought” the components make it easy to redesign.
Use standardized components if possible, do not custom make the components, as it is expensive to replace. Standardized components are easy to replace and relatively inexpensive compared to the custom-made alternative.
Less is more. Keep the number of parts to your product down to a minimum; this will keep the manufacturing costs down and the process easier.
If the parts can be multi-functional, this too will keep costs down.
Use high-quality parts that include compliance built-in so as not to cause damage to the part or equipment.
Multi-use makes it easier to make several different products with different uses when they share the same components.
Keep assembly directions going in one direction if it is possible. Take it from the top, the easiest direction to assemble is from above.
Keep it simple when designing a product, from the directions to its use. Your customers will thank you for it.
For more information on our Lean Six Sigma courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.
There is a reason that steps were created to follow for success when you decide to use Six Sigma methodologies. The naysayers that say Six Sigma doesn’t work may be impatient and start skipping steps, or perhaps it is due to lack of support. The point is if the correct conditions aren’t met, you will not achieve the desired objectives for your project.
It is unfair to blame Six Sigma methodologies for said failure. It would be like saying that exercising doesn’t work because you have tried exercising and your objective hasn’t been met, while your eating habits are out of control. The first step before starting an exercise regimen is to follow a healthy diet and cut back calories. So if you don’t follow directions, you won’t lose weight.
Six Sigma works can work for every organization, regardless of the size of your business or company, but you must be committed to the cause — exactly like following a good exercise program to get into shape.
Using DMAIC for Identifying Six Sigma Failure
Define: Your objectives for this project. You must include why you decided to use Six Sigma to improve your business. Understand exactly what is wrong, include problems, issues, what you did to prepare, did you go to a certified Six Sigma Master for help, are you a Certified Master? Are you trained at all in Six Sigma or Lean? Are your teams educated in Six Sigma and do they know their role in the process improvement?
Measure: Do you have the baseline current data to support why you need to use the methodologies? Is the data accurate? Do you have graphs and charts that are dated to support your claim?
Analyze: Have you analyzed the data with management and gone through the process of finding where the glitch is, perhaps using the Root Cause Analysis tool as well as 5 Whys and Pareto Chart?
Improve: Go through the above to figure which is the best choice and try it out to see the results. Then chart it and from that choose the one that yields the best result and make that the new normal. Is everyone on board and on the same page? Chart the results of the improved and compare to see the improvement.
Control: You have gone through the entire DMAIC template for the wrongs and have found what works. Now monitor and keep it closely monitored for continued success.
If you are committed and have patience you will not fail with Six Sigma! For more information on our training courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.
Animal rescues could all benefit from subscribing to Lean Six Sigma tools, but only a few actually use Lean Six Sigma as part of their philosophy. Well, one such success story in the animal rescue industry is that of William Brown III, who is the CEO of the Humane Society for Greater Savannah.
William Brown III acquired his Lean Six Sigma knowledge and strategies from his past experience of being in the U.S. Air Force, then working at the Department of Defense in Washington, as well as his experience at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Brown had seen success from implementing Lean Six Sigma, so he decided to use Lean strategies to help with various issues at the Humane Society of Savannah.
The first priority was to get a baseline measurement and all data that would lead to what needs improvement. Lean Six Sigma is a combination of Lean tools and Six Sigma methodologies to improve processes by eliminating waste and variation.
The more efficient the team performs the daily processes, the less time it takes to complete these processes and the more time and effort can be put into the actual animals. The more time taken with the animals in socializing, training and exercising them, the less time they are going to spend at the shelter because they will get adopted. Their success was astounding: the length of time spent went from 45 days down to 6.6 days.
One way that Brown made a brilliant change using Lean Six Sigma was to coordinate the right people to do said job. He did this by re-interviewing his staff and assigned their tasks based on their strengths. Now, the job of one person wouldn’t take more than just that one person. This reduced operating costs and freed up time to be better used.
Brown made sure he followed important guidelines by using Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters as well as Lean Six Sigma tools and methodologies to make important changes, which led to success.
We just gave one example of how and what changes he made at the organization; there were many which we didn’t mention. One true testament is that there were many dogs living happily in their forever homes who are grateful to Brown and his use of Lean Six Sigma.
For more information on our Lean Six Sigma courses and services, please click visit 6sigma.us.
Quality control in Six Sigma is an ongoing endeavor and requires a mindset of having a success rate of 99.9997%. This requires consistently monitoring for defects, waste, and variation using specific Lean Six Sigma tools, such as:
Value Stream Mapping
Now let’s talk about what creates a habit. A habit consists of the cue, the behavior, and the reward. Since quality in Six Sigma has a strong emphasis on the customer or Voice of Customer (VOC), let’s see why it is important to always be checking in with that customer. Depending on what line of business you’re in, your biggest challenge is always going to be change.
Do you remember the company MCI? They were the second largest long-distance provider back in the day. We won’t get into all of the issues MCI went through, but let’s touch on why it is important you always monitor and check with how your business is doing and what your customer’s requirements are because things change. Remember what used to work may not anymore.
Once upon a time, being a long-distance telephone provider was a great gig, but times change. There were many issues that led to their demise. If consistent monitoring had been done, the first sign of trouble would have been caught early enough.
To leave this section on a good note, on February 14, 2005, Verizon Communications acquired MCI for $7.6 billion. There were other acquisitions that came along as well, but today Verizon Wireless has adopted a Six Sigma culture within the company and is currently number 2 in the list of top ten telecom companies in the United States.
Note: Verizon Wireless merged with many companies to create the existing Verizon Wireless.
Quality is important, but in the world of Six Sigma, it’s at its core. To maintain a high level of quality, VOC has to be the prime focus once you’ve obtained that customer. At the beginning, before you’ve obtained that customer, make sure the quality is there, and make your business their habit.
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Kaizen should be a way of life for all things; it is a mindset of small continuous improvements. Let’s use a simple example that many can relate to. Let’s say you own a house, and that house eventually will need to be painted, a new roof, new flooring or perhaps a new kitchen. What most people do is wait until the house is falling apart, then they refinance and fix it all at once.
With the Kaizen mindset focused on intent, you would never let the house get to the point where it desperately needs fixing, simply because you would continuously be fixing the small things as they need improvement. A Kaizen mindset is a philosophy for continuous small improvements.
Staying with the example of the house that needs fixing, a Kaizen event requires the following five lean principles:
Define Value: Figure out what is important to increase the value of the house
Value Stream: Analyze the current state, design its future state, figure what is important to you. If you subtract what is not important to you, you will reduce waste
Create Flow: Develop a continuous improvement mindset and family culture so the house can stay beautiful and you can have money in the bank.
Establish Pull: Limit your home inventory — you’d be surprised how nice a neat home looks. So if you don’t need it, toss it, give it to charity, give it away to a friend, or sell it. Just don’t keep it if you don’t need it.
Pursue Perfection: This is more on the Lean and Kaizen mindset, that means making improvements is part of your life. It is why we exercise or eat healthy; all of that falls under making small continuous improvements everyday for amazing results.
For more information on our Lean Six Sigma courses and services, please visit 6sigma.us.